This spring, anyone driving past the busy landmark roundabout bearing the message “Smile, you are in Sharjah”, written in flowers, might notice the suddenly increased presence of bees. This would be thanks to the introduction of melliferous (honey-producing) plants by artist Moza Almatrooshi for this year’s Sharjah Biennial 15. The installation, organised in collaboration with the local Sharjah municipality, is part of a wider site-specific intervention at the Old Al Jubail market, where visitors can see two active hives from the Beekeeper’s Association and attend a public educational workshop.
After graduating in 2013, Almatrooshi was nominated for the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Emerging Artist Fellowship in partnership with Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the successful completion of which gave her access to a scholarship. She applied to do an MFA at the Slade in London, which she chose for its fine art media programme and because “it wasn’t uber-traditional or formal. I felt it opened up, for me, new ways of exploring things.” It was in this environment that she felt free to start working with food. “It became a major element of my work, whether as the medium, the tool, the metaphor or the container,” she says.
As Almatrooshi’s food-centred works have brought her attention to urgent ecological issues, her practice has naturally returned to the landscape that first inspired it. “You cannot get away from these themes,” she explains. “At some point they collide, and that is really where my practice lives at the moment.”
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