Hanager Gallery: Nihal Wahby Exhibition
Opera House Grounds
The last set of hanging paintings is a series of oil paintings of birds. The majority of pictures use subtle grey and blue tones, capturing the beauty of birds and creating a feeling of calm. Using these portraits, the artist set out to examine “isolation and stillness” contrasted with “engagement and movement” when painting a group of birds struggling to learn how to fly.
Next, there is a series of dark feathers collected from all over the world: ‘The Trace’, placed on white, organic paper backgrounds. Wahby has done this deliberately in order to portray a way of “flying with no boundaries…soaring to the limitless potential”, suggesting the feathers leave a trace of freedom.
The piece we found most intriguing, however, was the light-house shaped bird house at the back end of the room; ‘The Tower’. Because birds were traditionally viewed as a messenger of sorts, the idea is to write or draw your dreams and post them through one of the holes in the side, to be carried away and unleashed by the birds. Through the action of posting, symbolically, we engage with the artistic message and become aware of our hopes and visions. A video of constellations, created by every-day, physical objects is projected onto the side of the aviary, suggesting that we make our own dreams and constellations are all around us.