Nabil Ali: The Sea People

Nabil Ali's Sea People, sculptures at Walton-on-the-Naze

In Summer 2021, Essex Cultural Diversity Project was a partner in Kinetika’s Beach of Dreams, and supported The Sea People, an art installation by visual artist Nabil Ali that evolved throughout the project.

Beach of Dreams was an epic journey to discover the hidden gems of the East Coast of England, inviting collaboration from communities and artists in Suffolk, Essex, Southend, and Thurrock. Kinetika’s Artistic Director, Ali Pretty, and Guardian journalist Kevin Rushby walked the coast throughout the summer, inviting artists, writers, scientists and local residents to join them in the 500 mile collaborative journey. Together, guided by strong environmental themes and the challenges of our current time, they considered the question “How can we creatively reimagine our future?”

As part of Beach of Dreams Nabil Ali created The Sea People, an art installation on the beach at Walton-on-the-Naze in July 2021, depicting semi-abstract figures, bringing awareness concerning rapid coastal erosion and the loss of land. The figures also signified forgotten ancestors and lost communities of the past that lay beneath the sea.

Nabil has developed a working methodology using plant matter as the primary process material, allowing him to explore the environment to produce art. He grows and collects his materials forming an intimate relationship with the creative process to understand the boundaries of the materials used.

“From the weeds of the sea that covers the eastern coast of Essex, wrapped around spiral shells, fish bones and old weathered wood which tell the hidden stories of the depths of the North Sea, natural materials are scattered across the stony beaches waiting to be found and made into abstract forms of Sea People, with their distant voices heard in the blowing tidal winds that travel along the crashing waves.”
Link to Beach of Dreams website

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