This weekend I went up to Shatana, a village in Irbid. This is my second time up there and both times have been to see the results of the Triangle Workshop taking place there. These workshops bring artists together for two weeks and they culminate in an open day which showcases some of the results of the workshop.
This year’s event was spread out all over the village and we basically walked through the village for three hours with a map trying to find the locations of the art work. It was a fun experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I loved the fact that we got to explore all parts of the village. Seeing the old and the new, walking on paved roads and clambering over rocks, walking into abandoned old homes all added such flavor to the art treasure hunt we were on. I especially liked interacting with the local villagers who were so welcoming and friendly. We engaged a few in conversation and others we waved at and got invited into their homes in return. I loved it.
But thinking back at the art work that we saw there were only a few pieces that really caught my eye. I loved the work of a Moroccan artist who used 1 piaster coins to make a map of Jordan and then asked people to take a piece of Jordan home, and if you are from Jordan to take a piece of where you are from. I loved the concept so much. It was simple, inclusive and eloquent. Another piece I liked was an installation that used old doorways from the village that had not been used and then lined up for people to walk through them. I loved it. There was another installation that had sting crossing a room from place to place with little messages at the end. This one was about our life paths and how it is like a river, you had to walk through and jump over, bend down to get through the strings; it was fun, deep and spiritual at the same time. I also liked the little cats painted all over the village as talisman warding off evil. They were fun and cute, as a cat lover it get a two thumbs up from me. There were other projects spread all over the village that were interesting and thought provoking, on the other hand some were disappointing and to me were not strong participations and I could not relate to them or understand the concept behind them, or how they come to be called art. They may be fun ideas and interesting implementations of ideas, but to me were not art. But who am I to say what is and what is not art? Each of us has an experience with each piece and an interpretation that is different. That is the splendor of diversity and exposure to different cultures and worlds, we may not understand but we learn to appreciate the differences.
Shatana may not have been up to artistic expectations but it was definitely worth the drive. Seeing the openness of the village of Shatana with its peoples, its houses, its lands was beautiful. Even if the art work wasn’t as provoking it was still good to go out there and see it. And what better way to end the day then with a full moon rising and accompanying us back home.