The Soothing Anxiety of Blue
The exhibition of works by Samah Ahmed, all titled "Blue" with varying numbers – hence the title of the exhibition ‘ Blue’ – evokes deep responses. It takes on further undertones when you know that they are all direct references to the azure blue surrounding the islands that make up the Maldivian archipelago. It is something all Maldivians experience as they grow up. The color has fond memories attached to it. Picnics with friends and family perhaps. Or a more serious setting, maybe from when you were already an adult.
Whatever the context, we all value such memories of an innocent perception and experience of nature.The fluid line running through the experience of these Blue canvases is reflected in the contemplation of such things as the notion of childhood innocence against the mysterious realities of nature – symbolized by the blue of the ocean as a force. The natural beauty of the Maldives and the fragile eco-system on which it is inhabited rest on the delicate balance between a world whose fast deterioration is only offset by the many environmental consequences of global warming and the numerous human interventions sustained.
The turquoise blue of the lagoons surrounding the Maldivian atolls have brought calm and tranquility to many. Perhaps the most reliable testimony to this are the thousands of tourists who visit the country every year in order to experience these wondrous lagoons. Hence, the primary impression we are left with is an innocent and pleasurable time spent with nature. However, the color blue also reminds us of the ocean and by way of association, global warming and sea level rise. Along with other low-lying island nations, Maldives is expected to suffer the worst consequences of climate change. And according to some environmentalists, the country might not even be there in 80 years. But this remains an unanswered question and a persistent cause for anxiety among Maldivians.
National Art Gallery, March 2009
From: 12 March 2009 To: 1 April 2009
At: National Art Gallery
Catalogue: 2009 - Blue