Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art has commissioned Cai Guo-Qiang to create a series of drawings entirely rendered with gunpowder. And he’s using local volunteers to help him. The process is open to the public from October 22-26 at Al Riwaq (the white exhibitions hall next to the Museum of Islamic Art). Go and take a peek!
Yesterday, Marhaba volunteered, along with a melting pot of young people in school or university, or just creative types interested in art, and spent a happy morning covered in masking tape, pen and charcoal, sticking paper together, measuring, using box-cutters to cut out stencils, observing an artist at work and seeing an explosion (albeit a very small one) and making art. What makes Cai Guo-Qiang stand out from other artists is his use of volunteers and his engagement in local communities.

Here is Cai Guo-Giang painting. As inspiration for his designs, he used imagery from Islamic miniature paintings and decorative art.

And here are some volunteers making his painting into a stencil.

And here is all the  varieties of gunpowder, all mixed with other things, or different consistency for effect. One is even mixed with rice crispies! As one volunteer remarked, “Snap, crackle, pop, BOOM!”

305399_288658794487032_156182527734660_1143077_225306136_nEveryone watched, entranced, as the gunpowder ignited.

Lots of smoke! Which, unfortunately, had a rather obnoxious odour.

And here are some volunteers removing the excess burnt scraps from the stencils.

The man himself, admiring his work.

The art pieces will be on display at the Mathaf in their exhibition Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab on December 5th.

For more information, visit Mathaf website.