Juxtaposed against the glittering backdrop of Abu Dhabi, near the bustling industrial area of Mussafah, lies Shabiya 12, where wealth and poverty touch but don’t overlap. Shabiya cannot survive the vision of a modern Abu Dhabi. The ground is destined for better things; the people may not be so lucky.
Uncertainty. Eviction. Demolition.
Working on the margins of Abu Dhabi, the people of Shabiya must be moved aside to make way for the future. But they did not decide their fate. The old, decaying buildings are one thing. The people are another.
Uncertainty. Rumors. Fear.
Where will I go? Who, if anyone, will help? Where will my family live? I have an infant daughter.
Uncertainty. Movement. Money.
My doors both represent and hide the reality of Shabiya. The people behind them are a faceless community. Too quiet to be heard. The figures are Shabiya’s emotions, dreams, situations. Such situations are not specific to any region or class. They are all around us, in every corner of the world. Some people have more opportunity than others. But all can have hope. Hope lifts people up, gives wing to spirits. Will the tenuous connections of hope be enough to keep them aloft? Or will they fall back to Earth under the weight of their reality?
Uncertainty. Hope. Shabiya.
JEANNE WHATLEY is an artist and founder of caravangalleries.com. She holds a BFA in studio art/painting with minors in art history and weaving & textiles from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Jeanne has lived and worked in the U.S., Germany, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi. In 2014, her family settled in Athens, GA, where she continues to explore the subject of hope through her paintings.