DUBAI: As countries reopen their borders and economies following months of lockdown, many are contemplating their experiences during the pandemic.
A new exhibition at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, titled the “COVID-19 Exhibit,” will showcase personal objects belonging to individuals around the world that symbolize this turbulent period.
Exhibits will include new works of art, a pen, photos of loved ones and relatives, musical instruments and fitness gear.
“While this is an unprecedented time, it is also an unprecedented moment of global solidarity,” said Ithra’s Head of Museums, Laila Faddagh.
She added: “The ‘COVID-19 Exhibit’ is an opportunity for the global community to tell our stories during this complicated and difficult time. Art is about connecting people through culture – and culture is based on the exchange of ideas and identities – but we connect maybe even more easily through common objects.
“We can all understand the personal value of family photos, a special mug, a note from an important friend, a musical instrument, a favorite painting, your camera, the pen you use to write in your diary… just as we understand Charlie Browns’ friend Linus and his security blanket. The exhibition is a platform where you can express yourself and explain your pandemic experience so you can connect with people around the world – and they can connect with you,” Faddagh said.
Submissions are now open to people from around the world. Ithra hopes to obtain about 700 submissions and select up to 300 objects for display.
In 2021, objects selected by the museum’s curators from online submissions will be on display at Ithra.
The exhibition also serves to build a sense of community.
“When people see the physical exhibition, we want them to connect with the objects and remember how it was to be in lockdown,” said Farah Abushullaih, the exhibition’s curator.
“The idea is that these objects will relate not just to one person’s experience but to many — to a larger global collective,” she added.
“Each object holds meaning to its owner and their particular lockdown story. I want people to tackle the personal side of things through these objects,” Abushullaih said.
The objects that will be shown are those that are taken for granted in everyday life. Under lockdown, these everyday items have taken on a new significance and meaning.