WEHE Collective Design Exhibition Launches At Jeddah-based Athr Gallery Until July
June 19, 2019 - Ayesha Sohail Shehmir Shaikh
Curated by Montreal-born architect Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte in collaboration with Fonderia Artistica Battaglia and Carwan Gallery, the WEHE Collective Design exhibition launched in Athr Gallery, Jeddah on 18 May 2019, has brought together various renowned architects, designers and artists specialising in Middle Eastern design, including Omar Chakil, Karen Chekerdijian, Ghaith&Jad, Rasha Nawam, Mary-Lynn Massoud, Carlo Massoud and Anastasia Nysten. Aptly named, the word Wehe stems from the ancient Egyptian word meaning ‘dwelling place’.
Inspired by sociological and anthropological observations of the urban oasis of Siwa in Egypt, the exhibition explores the relationship between primordiality and the geographical context of the Middle Eastern desert. “I am always fascinated by how local Berber populations managed to adapt tradition with modern lifestyle,” says curator Bellavance-Lecompte. The inspiration behind the exhibition was, as Bellavance-Lecompte says, “to redefine an identity in relation with the region and somehow with materials and techniques that are indigenous. At the same time, I wanted to push the boundaries of their use so we’re able to revisit our perception of these objects.”