Caravan: A Grain of Sand

Together with Absolut, Caravan, a United Arab Emirate based artist collective, presented an Absolut Art Bar Installation at the 2014 Art Dubai. Absolut, an official supporter of the fair, has developed the Art Bar Installation concept over the past three years. Being the presenting partner of the Art Basel art fair, where the initiative has taken its shape; the previous art bar installations have included collaborations with Cuban artist duo Los Capinteros, Hong Kong- based artist Adrian Wong, American artists Mickalene Thomas and Ry Rocklen, and will feature another Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas, in the upcoming Art Basel in Hong Kong, in May 2014.

The site-specific, large-scale art installation created by Caravan, named A Grain of Sand, was a unique bar and lounge on the Fort Island in the heart of the art fair. A Grain Sand swept visitors away into an enchanting desert landscape built from recycled corrugated cardboard and other paper materials, which flowed into one another, making organic, nature inspired shapes.

The collective, Caravan, includes artists: Ivan Parati, Mohammad Shameel and Emanuela Corti – who together seized the sense of fun and lightness that art and creativity are able to evoke in their beautiful, seamless installation. Artist Ivan Parati commented on working with Absolut,

“Absolut offered us the incredible opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the project and develop a complete concept from the furniture to the menu. As designers, we have enjoyed the unique experience of being part of a vibrant team and atmosphere!”

- Ivan Parati, artist, member of the artist collective Caravan

Imitating sand dunes and waves, the cardboard structures were a clear play on the environment they found themselves in. Perhaps, visualising the dichotomy of the desert being infiltrated by ‘the sea’ of billowing cardboard structures. The artists also used the opportunity to employ recycled materials into their practise. Combining musical performances with visual arts the artist collective fuelled the installation with artist cocktails, a unique attribute of working with Absolut. The artists met with a mixologist to conjure up their very own signature cocktails to be served in the art bar. Their drinks; Oasis Zephyr and Chai Beach Party were an extension of the installation and were also intended to reflect the artists’ own tastes and flavour interests. The cocktails, teamed with flowing music from Dj’s selected by the artist collective, such as: DJ Solo aka Wriggly Scott, DJ Casual Lee and DJ Sweet Baby, leant to the eloquent play on the mystical Arabian Night theme that the installation gently suggested.