Empathy Through Art

Abeer Al-Tamimi: Beyond the Rules is a solo exhibition showing at the Fire Station Museum that dives into the artist’s interest in human interaction and behaviour.

Multi-disciplinary, experimental artist Abeer Al Tamimi is quite shy, she doesn’t want her images in the media but feels that her work should represent her at this moment. Her solo exhibition, Beyond the Rules is now showing at Gallery 4 at Fire Station Museum and it is the result of her investigation into the human nature and behaviour. From stark, evocative water colours to experimental films that explores materials and techniques, touching on topics of state of awareness, deeper exploration on the process of repetition, her work is detailed and intense. Her multi-media presentations reflect her training in film making and she has used a Japanese performer, Ikumi Togawa and a light specialist to portray and focus on the multitude of emotions that seem to be pouring out of the works.

Explaining her works she says, “It is the conscious and subconscious state of mind of interviewed individuals in a form of video art collage and moving images. It delves into the freedom of awareness and movement by combining unconventional elements from ones surrounding, seeking a form of expression.”

Al Tamimi struggled with mental health issues but with the support of her family and friends she emerged from this dark period but she feels that there are many others who have suffered much more due to lack of understanding from close ones. It is to educate people about the importance of standing together to help each other during tumultuous times even in the face of cultural differences that she set out with her art initiatives, giving wings to her feelings.

“We need to co-exist with each other and respect others differences, and with that we can have a positive impact rather than a negative one,” she says.

During her residency at Cité internationale des Arts in Paris in 2021, this is what she practiced every day, to talk, to understand as many other cultures and traditions, all the while making others have a glimpse into her life with all its traditions.

According to the survey which Al-Tamimi conducted during her residency, people are entitled and live in a bubble that invokes a negative behaviour. Starting from that moment this theme became important to the artist and she has been exploring it till the present time. This interest reflects on all her creative development.

For Al-Tamimi, it is fascinating to explore how diverse cultures have different ways of interpreting behaviours and emotions—and that we can all agree to one basic ideology of coexistence. Her projects explore the negative effects of self-righteous beliefs and factors that shape the subconscious and conscious mind that can navigate a person to undesirable consequences. This entails understanding and respecting one another rather than forcing one’s opinion or belief on the other.

One such work by Al Tamimi is a dance performance by a Japanese performer Ikumi Togawa, an acquaintance at the residency programme, who pours black ink, representative of all the negative forces.

“Prominently using a black ink as representation of the struggles while blending with the background creating an abstract and nonconventional form of expression, Onyx came into a fortuitous short experimental film. Onyx explores the state of depression and anxiety in an emotional and poignant form,”she says.

“Our strength lies in our differences, there is strength in this diversity that breaks the boundaries within us.”— the artist stated.

“I would like to travel the world, network with people around the world, and create more art in this process of understanding different cultures,” she says.

Images Courtesy the artist and Qatar Museums