Art FocusUK Artist Unveils ‘Equinox’ at Sustainability Pavilion in Dubai

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Equinox, an animated sculpture by famed British artist Mat Collishaw, and commissioned by Expo 2020 Dubai, is unveiled at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, which provides a remarkable showcase for the 3D artwork that utilizes zoetrope technology, an early form of animation, to create an enthralling optical illusion.

The centrepiece is a huge lotus flower, featuring a circle of insects, spinning on its vertical axis. Its petals act as ‘shutters’ – animating the insects within as they appear to fly, eat and pollinate in perfect harmony. The petals of the flower act as a sacred chalice preserving insect ecology, with their enhanced scale underscoring the cataclysm that would follow their decline.

Accompanying the work, which stands more than five metres high and three metres wide, is a selection of poems that praise the sanctity of nature, including those by renowned English poet and painter William Blake, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The complete installation and setting is a poetic commentary on the exquisite calibration of the Earth’s natural ecosystems and will inspire millions of visitors to re-examine their relationship with the natural world.

Art Installation “Lotus Flower” by artist Matt Collishaw at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020 Dubai)

Speaking about the whole project, Matt Collishaw said: “My work engages with subject matter that involves an engagement with how we as humans navigate the world and the choices we make. The sustainability theme of Terra provided a context, literally and metaphorically, for an experience that invites contemplation and reflection on the precarious nature of the earth’s ecosystem. 

“Grimshaw’s architecture in the Inner Core, with its circular geometry, water reservoir and skylight, frame the artwork in an exhilarating way, and I hope it inspires people to want to protect their environment. I am honoured to be invited to be part of Expo 2020 Dubai, which is also obviously a monumental platform for significant public engagement.” 

Senior manager at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, Mona Al Ali, said: “Standing at the very heart of Terra, Equinox honours the core purpose of The Sustainability Pavilion – to showcase the wondrous delicacy of our natural world and our shared duty to protect it for the betterment of both people and planet. I have no doubt that this beautiful installation, born from a fruitful collaboration between Matt, Futurecity and the Terra team, will capture the imagination of each and all who encounter it – inspiring them to become the change makers of tomorrow.”

Mark Davy, founder & CEO of cultural agency Futurecity, stated: “Futurecity is honoured to be the curators for such a high-profile arts commission bringing arts, science and technology together on a global stage at the inner core of the Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020.

“Matt Collishaw’s Equinox has the power to make complex ideas accessible to everyone, acting as a lens and catalyst for visitors to contemplate their relationship with nature in the context of living sustainably. Equinox creates the ultimate and intoxicating moment in the Sustainability Pavilion that responds to the content of the exhibition and the architecture of the central core, transporting the audience to a place of wonder and appreciation for their natural environment.”

Expo 2020 Dubai

From 1st October 2021 until 31st March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will welcome visitors from around the world to join the making of a new world, as it brings together the planet in one place to reimagine tomorrow. Expo 2020 will be the world’s most impactful; global incubator for brand new ideas, catalysing an exchange of new perspectives and inspiring action to deliver real-life solutions to real-world challenges that face us today. It will be the largest cultural gathering in the world, presenting a visually striking and emotionally inspiring 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses and eductional institutions come together to create the most diverse World Expo.  

Aerial general view of the Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 site (Photo by Dany Eid/Expo 2020)

The World Expo’s subthemes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability will motivate visitors to conserve and protect our planet, explore new frontiers and build a better future for everyone.

Tickets to Expo 2020 Dubai are available online and through more than 2,500 Authorised Ticket Resellers, including online travel agents, tour operators, hotel groups and airlines from 100-plus market across the globe.

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