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Drawn to the Light (نور)

Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings MBE

Sat 16 September 2023 @ 10:30 am - Sun 14 April 2024 @ 5:00 pm

Drawn to the Light (نور) is a new textile-based commission by Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings MBE. The installation accompanies the exhibition Double Weave: Bourne and Allen’s Modernist Textiles.

Lanterns and pathways of personal symbols will lead visitors into Mudawi-Rowling’s installation, which explores the artist’s intersectional experience as a deaf African-Arab with Sudanese heritage. The installation will feature textiles coloured with natural dyes using techniques pioneered by Bourne and Allen.

In Drawn to the Light (نور), Mudawi-Rowlings asks the viewer to consider the bias entangled in art histories, reflecting on how we tell the stories of ‘othered’ people and considering how this has tainted the archives. The piece embraces the disregarded and acknowledges the absent.

Through her work, Mudawi-Rowlings traces back our interconnectedness to each other, our intertwined histories and environments. This personal investigation is made all the more essential for Mudawi-Rowlings with current events in Sudan, devastating a homeland and disrupting a diaspora to which she belongs.

Drawn to the Light (نور) takes up a moment when my homeland of Sudan is collapsing into warfare, obliterating not just the livelihoods of its people, including my family, but our place in its past and future, everything familiar disappearing all at once. I feel this links to all moments of crisis in our lives, when all we can do is take ourselves from where we stand and leave without thinking, not even knowing where the way before is leading, as long as we sense light ahead, some rays of hope.

Within this innate searching for light and warmth, Mudawi-Rowlings offers a space where personal histories can come into the shared light.

I imagine seeing the glow of tents in the nighttime desert, in any century. Or the glimmer of a town beyond the dark woods. My mother’s name, Nur (نور), means light, and I think of her with me even though she has passed away, and remains in a country I am now cut off from. We don’t know what the future holds but we know our way towards it by old instinct. I hope it welcomes us like the opening of a tent, a place to call home.

Drawn to the Light (نور) accompanies Double Weave: Bourne and Allen’s Modernist Textiles. Entry to the installation is included in your museum ticket.

Supported by Art Fund.

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