- Live Stories
- Young Minds
Emirati artist Jamal Habroush Al Suwaidi pours out his feelings
Playing with composition, the artist uses distance and positioning to accentuate the relationship each component has with the others.
An installation by Emirati artist Jamal Habroush Al Suwaidi sees him depict one of the world’s best-known symbols of hospitality and welcoming gestures of friendship — the coffee bean. Taking the form of a multi-coloured, large-scale artwork, “The Coffee Beans” features seven metal components, each varying in shape, size and shade. Devoid of decorative or dynamic flourishes, its geometric simplicity gives the overall work a distinctive appearance, while ensuring that each separate piece is immediately identifiable. The decision to create seven beans is a nod to coffee’s recognition across the globe as an essential part of social occasions and as a universal sign of friendship.
Seven is not only the number of continents in the world — Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America — but also signifies the number of Emirates that make up the UAE. Created in an array of uplifting colours and sizes, the artwork acknowledges the differences in both the coffee beans that are used to make the drink and the people that populate the world, while reaffirming that we all form part of the human race, irrespective of where we live, sharing a common ground in our fondness for coffee.
Playing with composition, the artist uses distance and positioning to accentuate the relationship each component has with the others. Building on the theme and in another important symbolic display, the split in the middle of coffee beans reminds us that each continent acts as a gateway to another part of the world. We are all connected and none of us exists alone.
Al Suwaidi said he was keen to highlight coffee’s universally recognised role as a beverage enjoyed by families, friends and their guests. He also drew on his personal memories of what the bean means to the Arab World. “Coffee has been a symbol of generosity, warmth and friendship for centuries in this part of the world, deeply embedded in our culture and heritage, and now adopted in the same manner elsewhere.
Al Suwaidi’s art arises from his relationship with the local environment of the UAE, the sea, mountains, desert and its life and the world of ships, all integrated harmoniously and endowed with abstraction. “Our culture and heritage have been a source of inspiration”, he says.