This exhibition takes Saadiyat Island as its starting point, to consider how we know, or interpret, where we are, physically and culturally. What suggests a “desert island” or a “lush garden”? How do we understand a place as part of a cultural past or future? The work on view invite us to contemplate the essence and appearance of a location, whether natural or artificial, real or illusory. How do the cues that create a site tell its story?

Viewing the work conjures the experience of walking through NYUAD’s new Saadiyat campus, a multifaceted site that is itself a garden in a desert, a cultural center among new developments, on an island that is both a repository of significant local memories and a key player in a vision of the city’s future.