JOSEPH NAMY    work . exhibitions . radio . contact




Libretto-o-o: A Curtain Design In The Bright Sunshine Heavy With Love

2017, fabrics, stereo sound


With texts by Clare Davies, Malak Helmy, Hasan Hujairi, David Lau, Lina Mounzer.

This project was realized for Sharjah Biennial 13, it began by researching opera’s influence on music in the Arab world. Starting in Egypt with the founding of Khedivial Opera House in 1869, I found traces of the art form in Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Libretto-o-o: A Curtain Design in the Bright Sunshine Heavy with Love punctuates Sharjah Art Museum’s entrance with a vibrant patchwork of fabrics—evoking garments used for celebration, mourning and everyday wear—that have been purchased from shops around Sharjah Art Foundation and sewn together by local tailors. The dramatic play of colour and pattern sets the stage for an audio track of short stories, poems and essays on the subject that are read by five writers and poets, which can be heard in the Beit Circal gallery space across the street, from a window overlooking the curtain and the street opera unfolding below. In a departure from the spectacle-driven pageantry that is typical of operatic productions, Namy’s visual and sonic composition inspires a contemplative sense of occasion that resonates with its surroundings.

Listen below to the accompanying sound piece Big Curtains Big Drama, some stories about street operas and other concerns, 5 stories and a peom by Malak Helmy, Clare Davies, Francis McKee, David Lau, Lina Mounzer, and Hasan Hujairi: