In an empty courtyard surrounded by stone walls, visitors made their way around stagnant pools of water, drawn toward brightly colored panels set into the back wall of the space. The sounds of birds and bubbling water surrounded them. Suddenly, a dead palm tree at the center of the courtyard spoke with a woman’s voice, telling the visitor about her slow death from loss of nutrients; the voice mourned not only life, but love, explaining that her lover drained her of existence. This mixed-media work, Aging Ruins Dreaming Only to Recall the Hard Chisel from the Past (2019), was a collaboration between the Nigerian artists Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh and won the 2019 Sharjah Biennial Prize. Haunting and evocative in its own right, the work also reflects many of the themes addressed by artists throughout this biennial: the passage of time, loss, displacement, memory. According to Hoor Al Qasimi,...

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