Shamsa translates to ‘sunburst’ or ‘single ray of sun’. In the UAE, the star is often vilified, its scorching heat thought to be hostile and unpleasant. The pages in this book are interventions, that act as sundials, as time tellers, measuring the passage of time through the sun. The book features recipes and colour swatches derived from ingredients dried on top of silks on the roof, and colour studies that capture the fleeting sunset of the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai from July -December (2021).

Shamsa was created as commission for Art Jameel’s Park Projects programme: an initiative which invited artists to create works to inhabit Jameel Arts Centre’s waterfront sculpture park in unexpected ways, questioning notions of nature and community.

The book was designed in collaboration with graphic designer and artist Layan Attari. The text from this deck is taken from Lucas Morrin’s essay titled A Single Ray of Sun.

Nahla Tabbaa is an artist whose practice explores tensions between the urban and the organic, the beautiful and the grotesque. Sensitive to the self-organising agency of materials, she adventures into the world of immateriality and the intangible through experiments in alchemy and combining

elements from the organic and inorganic. Her methods are intentionally slow-paced, meditative and labour intensive and permeate strands of her everyday life to heal and harmonise her otherwise fast-paced life.

Nahla works with different mediums such as urban research, the culinary arts, ceramics and drawing.


Photos by Kristina Sergeeva and Kathleen Hoare

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