'Gardens of the Orient' an exhibition at The Arab World Institute, Paris Featured

This summer, Paris plays host to a beautiful reinterpretation of the Oriental gardens that fostered human growth

by 21 April 2016

Gardening is mankind’s closest connection to the earth. As we stray further from our roots to the environment, we lose touch with reality. Although it is impossible to go back to the time of the inhabitation the Fertile Crescent, Gardens of the Orient in Paris takes us back to coexist with the beauty of gardening and nature.

In between the Tigres and Euphrates lay the Orient, where civilisations created the first cities, giving rise to gardens. The Arabs used the aridity of their environment to their advantage and grew different plants, flowers and food, nurturing the lives of everyone who inhabited the area. Water was a key element in the development of their oases and serves as a central theme in the exhibition. Until 25 September, the Arab World Institute in Paris will host a spectacular exhibition dedicated to the Gardens of the Orient.

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LUXOS Vue du jardin © IMA / Jean-Pierre DelagardeVue du jardin © IMA / Jean-Pierre Delagarde

Emphasising gardening and all of the components that go with it, including cultural, graphic, social, aesthetic, environmental aspects and more, Gardens of the Orient allows you to go back through time to discover the Arab-Islamic gardens. In the oases, you are invited to appreciate the fragrances, colours and harmonies formed by different elements of nature including water, earth, plants and minerals.

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LUXOS Gabriel Veyre, vers 1935, autochrome, Fondation Gabriel Veyre © Fondation Gabriel VeyreGabriel Veyre, vers 1935, autochrome, Fondation Gabriel Veyre © Fondation Gabriel Veyre 

The garden incorporates the forgotten perspectives of the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Rue Jussieu, and the Grand Mosque, as an extension of the Seine and the plane trees in the Boulevard Saint Germain, and creates an oasis of freshness in Paris; it is a small corner of paradise, a place that provides visitors with an experience, discovery, and freedom, where they can discover themselves and meet others.

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The exhibition links discoveries from thousands of years ago to contemporary works so as to compare and contrast the time periods. India and Indian approaches to gardening have been given a big platform at the exhibition, with art works, reproductions and galleries devoted to various eras of the country's history. Scenographer Jean-Julien Simonot and her his team created a cohesive itinerary that helps visitors along on this journey throughout time and space.

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LUXOS Vue du jardin © IMA / Jean-Pierre DelagardeVue du jardin © IMA / Jean-Pierre Delagarde 

The interior contemporary works are not directly rooted into the earth, but instead are used to explain the fascination of Oriental gardens. At the end of the journey, visitors are led outside to a real Parisian garden, following the tradition Oriental idea of ‘exterior/interior’.

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LUXOS Gabriel Veyre, Autochrome, Fondation Gabriel Veyre © Fondation Gabriel VeyreGabriel Veyre, Autochrome, Fondation Gabriel Veyre © Fondation Gabriel Veyre 

The exhibition covers the entirety of the Arab World Institute forecourt, including a specially designed ephemeral garden by landscape architect Michel Péna. The exhibition ends with the contemporary garden which imitates the key characteristics of the Arab-Muslim garden. www.imarabe.org

Institut du Monde Arabe

1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard Place Mohammed-V 75005 Paris