Wahat Al Karama (Oasis of Dignity)

Submitted by UAP

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Client: MIRAL / CPC

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Completion date: 2016

Project Team

Artist

Idris Khan

Architects

bureau proberts

Art Strategy, Design Assist, Fabrication and Installation

UAP

Overview

Renowned British artist, Idris Khan OBE collaborated with UAP to realise a monument as the centrepiece of the new United Arab Emirates (UAE) Memorial Park, ‘Wahat Al Karama’, in Abu Dhabi. Commissioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the memorial honours the members of the UAE Armed Forces and the sacrifices made in support of their country’s sovereignty, dignity and freedom.

Goals

This work exemplifies the power of fusion between art and architecture in a project that conveys purpose and emotion and creates a place of reflection, serenity and significance for its nation.

The conceptual direction of the project was conceived by a world-renowned interdisciplinary artist Idris Khan to “create a park for reflection on both loss and remembrance, a spiritual place that conveyed unity and support - a monument that has positive and hopeful resonance while inspiring curiosity in sculpture and how contemporary art can influence emotions”.

Process

The centrepiece of ‘Wahat Al Karama’, meaning “the oasis of dignity”, is a 90-metre long monument comprised of 31 leaning tablets which symbolise the support between soldiers, families and citizens in the face of adversity. Clad with over 850 cast aluminium panels, sections of the tablets are sandblasted and stamped with poems by emirs of the UAE. The ‘Pavilion of Honour’ positioned at the end of the memorial journey was designed by Khan in collaboration with bureau^proberts. The internal walls of the pavilion are clad with over 2,700 plates cast from 11 tons of recycled aluminium sourced from decommissioned armoured vehicles. The plates are embedded with names of UAE heroes whose lives have been lost in service.
Idris Khan was selected for the project from a curation of international artists, where a strong cultural connection and understanding made his memorial the winning concept. UAP worked closely with Khan, from concept design to fabrication and installation, to translate his vision into this monumental work.

Additional Information

ArtistIdris Khan ProjectWahat Al Karama Memorial Park Lead Consultant: AECOM Monument Lead Consultant: UAP Client: Miral Consultant Architect: bureau^proberts Consultant Engineers: Robert Bird Group Design / Build: UAP