Nature Meets Architecture: A Visual Journey in Terra Ephemera

Nature Meets Architecture: A Visual Journey in Terra Ephemera

Dive into the enchanting world of “Terra Ephemera: A Visual Cartography of Resilience,” an art exhibition by Emirati artist Mariam Abbas that explores the impermanent yet enduring aspects of the UAE’s environment.

The UAE, with its iconic skyline and rapid urbanization, often captivates our gaze. Yet, there is an equally mesmerizing world beneath our feet – the local flora that thrives amidst the arid desert and towering skyscrapers. Emirati artist Mariam Abbas invites us to embark on a unique journey through her art, titled “Terra Ephemera: A Visual Cartography of Resilience.” In this article, we will delve into the heart of this artistic exploration, unveiling the hidden beauty and resilience of the Emirates’ environment.

Terra Ephemera: Decoding the Title

Before we venture into the mesmerizing world of Abbas’s art, let’s decipher the title itself. “Terra” is derived from Latin, signifying “earth” or “land.” It represents the very foundation upon which nature and architecture coexist harmoniously in the Emirates. On the other hand, “Ephemera” refers to things that are temporary, fleeting, or transitory. In the context of the exhibition, it encapsulates both the ever-evolving urban landscapes and the transient nature of the desert’s flora. Together, “Terra Ephemera” captures the paradoxical essence of the Emirati land – a realm that is both fleeting and enduring.

Exhibition Details

Terra Ephemera by Mariam Abbas
Dates: Thursday 28th September to 19th October 2023
Location: Mestaria Gallery Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (Map)
Timings: open daily from 10am-7pm

The Artistic Dialogue: Flora and Architecture

Abbas’s artistic vision in “Terra Ephemera” hinges on a captivating dialogue between the vibrant local flora and the imposing urban architecture. Each exhibit in the collection presents a pair: a delicately crafted pencil sketch of a plant, complete with its botanical name, juxtaposed with a vivid acrylic painting of the same plant amidst the backdrop of the UAE’s towering skyscrapers, identified by its common name.

In a world where our gaze is often directed upwards towards the skyline, Abbas encourages us to shift our perspective downwards, towards the intricate tapestry of nature thriving beneath our feet. “Architecture and flora co-exist, but we tend to look up, not down here. The UAE’s flora exists in the city, in the desert, and in the mountains. Colors are often muted, flowers are often small, so many go unnoticed, but I want to draw attention to them,” Abbas passionately affirms.

Nature Meets Architecture: A Visual Journey in Terra Ephemera

Navigating the Narrative: A Visual Cartography

The title, “Terra Ephemera: A Visual Cartography of Resilience,” is not just a mere label; it serves as an inviting prologue to a profound narrative woven through Abbas’s art. Her work functions as a map, guiding us through the intricate emotional, ecological, and cultural terrains that she explores. “Resilience” is a central theme that echoes throughout her creations. It pays homage to the unwavering spirit of the Emirati flora and the ever-changing urban landscapes.

This visual cartography unravels the multifaceted layers of change, endurance, and interconnectivity. Each stroke of Abbas’s brush traces the delicate dance between nature and architecture, portraying their symbiotic relationship. The resilience showcased in her art mirrors the resilience of the UAE itself – a country that continually adapts and evolves.


“Terra Ephemera: A Visual Cartography of Resilience” is not just an art exhibition; it’s an invitation to explore the soul of the UAE. Mariam Abbas’s remarkable creations peel back the layers of impermanence, revealing the enduring spirit of the Emirates. As you immerse yourself in this visual journey, remember to look down, for beneath the skyscrapers lies a world of hidden beauty and resilience – a testament to the magic of the Emirati land.

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