In an ambitious new commission for FRONT 2022, New York-based artist Diana Al-Hadid, who wasborn in Syria and raised in Ohio, has converted the fountain in the Syrian Cultural Garden into asymbolic water-clock, an ancient time-measuring instrument that was invented by twelfth-centuryIslamic polymath Ismail Al-Jazari. Expanding on Al-Jazari’s concept of a scribe clock, Al-Hadid’scontemporary sculpture features eight floating hands that catch and manipulate the scribe’s ink as it spirals around the water-clock’s body. It also incorporates an intricate trellis of vining jasmine, which isthe national flower of Syria, gesturing to the nearby bronze bust of famed Syrian poet Nizar Qabbanicreated by multidisciplinary artist Leila Khoury. Just as Qabbani wove jasmine imagery throughout hispoetry, Al-Hadid weaves jasmine throughout her installation, intertwining past and present in a delicateconstruction that points to new growth amidst the broken clock. Poetically entitled The Time Being(2022), Al-Hadid invites us to reimagine a new kind of time-keeping in the tranquility of a community garden.
Known for her sprawling practice rich with architectural, environmental and historical reference points and manifested across several media, Al-Hadidis one of the most unique voices in contemporary art. Her work has beenexhibited in countless major museums throughout the world and is in thepermanent collections of prominent institutions including the ToledoMuseum of Art, OH; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the VirginiaMuseum of Fine Arts, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.