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A new exhibition exploring the concepts of separation, unity and individualism

The Cup and The Saucer now on view at Warehouse421 is exploring the concepts of unity, separation and individualism. Curated by Munira Al Sayegh, the commissioned exhibition is the first solo show of Hashel Al Lakmi, the largest exhibition for both artist and curator, and the culmination of a two-year collaboration between the Emirati pair.

Hashel Al Lamki (left) and Munira Al Sayegh (right)

This new exhibition tackles questions that underpin the notion of the individual separating from its unit.

As its inspiration, it seeks to discuss the metaphoric and momentary divorce that takes place when a cup parts from its saucer, and how within that moment, and within that movement of distancing, a single item, breaks into two.

The separation allows for the once whole object to become two separate individuals. Within that spectrum of separation and unity, a compass of opposite extremes is set. There is a clear left and a clear right, a beginning, and an end.

The exhibition is anchored around transformation, which cannot exist within the paradigms of something that is immovable. It is within these ideals and principals of a wider unit that collective identity is established. A transformation process cannot occur until individual separation is made.

How did The Cup and the Saucer exhibition idea was born?

It came about from conversations that revolved around investigating the meaning of the self. The core question is one that asks how we understand ourselves in the context of the past, present, and the future in the notion of thoughts and ideas. And what controls our experience? After two years in a making, this exhibition constitutes an exercise in challenging and undersetting of meanings, which are subjective.

Curator Munira Al Sayegh said: “The title of the exhibition, The Cup and The Saucer, borrows the metaphorical stance of two objects created for one another, which only exist as separates when they are pulled away from one another by another factor. This creation of two into one is very symbolic to Hashel Al Lamki and I. Through our collaboration we explored this sense of two separates coming together to form a unit. The exhibition is a culmination of open ended questions that surfaced during our ritualistic Monday meetings that we had. The framework of this exhibition is the direct translation of the chaotic order of the meeting of two minds into a single space.”

The exhibition draws together nine sub-themes, nine representing the final of all cardinal numbers

Each of the nine subthemes is simultaneously dependent on and independent of the others, reflecting the complexities of individualism within a community.

Birth and Earth defines the notion of beginnings. It frames the start of time through the act of birth, whilst Versailles mitigates the study of the self through showcasing the presentation of the self’s highest achievements.

Versailles Theme

Linger and Departure, evaluates the fluctuations inflicted by the pull of desire;


First Glance invites a study of intimacy through the safety of privacy; Control and Guilt is the emotional equivalence of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”; and Screen Savers is the analysis of an alternative reality which is claimed fully until a disruption takes place.

Sprinkles is the invisible bind that ties chaos to the order and is the framing of the wild as the tamed;

Rejection and reflection, are both moments of internal turmoil that lead to the creation of reconstruction and redefinition and finally, The Curated Room, is a palate cleanser. It is the change of scenery required in instances of mass density. It is the full embodiment of a single subject only understood after the act of distancing from it in order to comprehend its scale in full view.

The contemporary pieces work with a wide range of mediums, from a striking variety of paintings including one that measures 10 meters by 2.75 meters in size, and an installation made-up of 52 paintings as one body of work; to sculptures, video works, and a sound piece.  Each colorful and vibrant work complements its neighbor to form a playful compendium, inviting the viewer to explore the collective vs. the individual.

The exhibition space has been bespokely designed to complement the concept by Lebanese design studio, Gaith & Jad.

Faisal Al Hassan, Manager of Warehouse421, commented: “The Cup and The Saucer speaks to the core of the Warehouse421 mission, which is to represent the voices of the UAE and explore themes pertinent to our time and region. This exhibition is a manifestation of a personal journey of the artist and curator, who draw on their experiences and ask complex questions of the nature of individual and collective identity that are encountered daily.

“Additionally, the work is experimental and characterizes the ambitious talent we have in our midst. Providing space for artists to experiment is crucial to creating a vibrant and diverse arts ecosystem, as well as encouraging the development of local artists. Warehouse421 will continue to foster a studio culture in the UAE and support both conceptual and formal experimentation”, Al Hassan concluded.

The Cup and The Saucer opened at Warehouse421 on 7 March and will run through 17 May 2020. For more information, please visit

Opening Times
Tuesday to Sunday | 10am – 8pm
Monday | Closed

Parking | Visitors can park their cars in the available parking spaces next to Warehouse421

WAREHOUSE421 | Location Map

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