“ The Caress of 1,250 hands at Bait Al Zubair
Oman has the honour of being the first country in the region to host Caress the World. A few days ago, the Oman installation was unveiled in the courtyard at Bait Al Zubair.
There, on an enchanted evening with an opalescent moon glowing in the black sky, a gentle breeze drifted past Bait Al Zubair's herd of painted oryx and through a giant, open cube structure adorned with a lacework of 1,250 hands. We watched the graceful hands flutter like a flock of birds landing on branches – and there was magic in the air.
People were chatting more thoughtfully and softly than they usually do at art openings, as the focus was on the artwork and its message - not so much on socialising. The idea of caring for our world with our own hands is one with universal appeal, as we know that the health and biodiversity of our planet is under pressure from a host of threats under the umbrella of what is termed 'climate change'. ”
"In the Eyes of beauty - Caress the World
Imagine a web of caresses from the North Pole to the South Pole, encompassing all the world's latitudes and longitudes, engulfing everyone in loving hands, reminding us of what the human condition should be and of what happiness really is.
It's an impossible dream, one that spurred the global strategy of Ray Monde, an artist-philosopher who has launched a magnificent art installation project titled, Caress the World, which will reach 194 countries in time for the 2023 Venice Biennale. Like all brilliant ideas, hers is a simple one, but with boundless potential.
I think of Ray Monde (World) as a ray of light in the world, just as her name implies, and because of her spiritual nature and overriding goals in life as a highly educated artist-philosopher and a human being acutely aware of the importance of darma.
Then came The World as an intuitive inspiration. The symbol with which Ray Monde would implement the world concept appeared as a hand, a hand that would represent beauty and bring a healing touch. Caress the World is a team project carried forward with Ray's impressive Co-Director, Dr Jan Adamec, Cardiologist Consultant at Geneva University Hospital, who is passionate about the ideals involved.
Dr Adamec lives close to nature in Montreux, Switzerland, in a centuries-old house that he opened up with glass to encompass the view below of a shimmering slate blue lake set like a jewel in green forests. As a physician, Jan can claim from experience that"touch can cure, as it produces energy and boosts the immune system".
The emblematic hand that Ray Monde created is white in colour and rendered with slender curving fingers, an artistic image that is meant to evoke the wings of a dove, the dove of peace and emblem of purity. This iconic representation of the human hand is cut from a sheet of vinyl, so that it can withstand wind and rain and be used in outdoor installations. The hand is produced in great multitudes like flocks of doves that will metaphorically fly into artistic geometric arrangements and form mobile sculptures – or simply be strung like hands on a clothesline.
Last week, I met Ray and Jan in the Audi showroom in Azaiba where Ray was transforming the place with her hand installations. Ray, who split her given first name, 'Raymonde', in two in order to create a nom de plume that resonates with her artistic character and inner spirit, said simply, "Our aim is to unite the planet". She and Jan explained that they want to help make our commercially-oriented, self-centred and conflict-ridden world a better place, one in which the true human spirit can flourish."
“ In keeping with Oman’s recent National Day festivities, the Audi Oman showroom at Azaiba hosted a unique art project named – ‘Caress the World’. (...) “Given that the project’s scope spans the world, and that the exhibition project was launched in Oman for the Middle East region, it was only natural for us to support this great opportunity to promote the spirit of unification in this beautiful art form. We are proud to have been associated with a project of this magnitude. ”
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