Exploring Colored Shadows: Farah Behbehani’s ‘Hiya’ | Savoir Flair


Exploring Colored Shadows: Farah Behbehani’s ‘Hiya’
by Assele Kahwaji 3-minute read February 27, 2024

Discover Hiya, a tribute to ancient astronomy by Farah Behbehani.


Among the remnants of history on the walls of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, lies Hiya — a 48-paneled glass structure, infused with hues derived from the visible light spectrum designed by Farah Behbehani. The Kuwaiti artist and designer is one of eight finalists in the Richard Mille Art Prize 2023.

In response to this year’s theme of ‘Transparencies,’ Hiya undergoes a mesmerizing metamorphosis throughout the day. As sunlight filters through, the glass transforms, painting the surroundings with a kaleidoscope of colors — a visual symphony that unfolds with each passing moment.

Hiya stands as a testament to Behbehani’s interdisciplinary approach to art and design. The artist, whose work explores the intersections of art, design, and cultural heritage, brings her unique vision to life through this installation. With a background in communication design and a deep appreciation for the intricacies of Arabic script, Behbehani's artistic practice is deeply informed by her scholarly pursuits.



Hiya, meaning “she” in English, is a tribute to the 10th-century Syrian astronomer Mariam Al Astrulabi. Al Astrulabi, reshaped the cosmos with her celestial instruments that revolutionized astronomy, navigation, and timekeeping within Islamic civilization. The installation's form is a poetic homage to the Tughrul tower, a 12th-century brick tomb tower built for the Seljuk ruler Tughrul in Rey, Iran. 

Its 24-sided polygon not only echoes the shape of the astrolabe but also functions as a time indicator, casting shifting shadows that dance with the sun's passage. 

Visit the captivating 'Transparencies' Art Prize exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8:30pm until March 31st, 2024.

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