Rand Abdul Jabbar at Desert X AlUla 2024

9 February – 23 March 2024

Rand Abdul Jabbar participates at the third edition of Desert X AlUla, presenting an installation titled 'where myths are born of mud and desire'.


Under the theme of 'In the Presence of Absence', Desert X AlUla  asks "what cannot be seen?". Often dismissed as spaces of emptiness, deserts are rendered mute, static, but there is much more than meets the eye. Artists taking part in Desert X AlUla 2024 are invited to explore ideas of the unseen and the inexpressible.


where myths are born of mud and desire


Since the beginning of time, we’ve gazed upon the sky

in search of our origins


reasons for being


a star rising from the east

signals a new dawn


and as it inches closer towards the sun

we see in it a reflection of ourselves


encountering the warm embrace

of illumination


wisdom, which we fashion into crowns


blessings, upon all that gives life

where myths are born of mud and desire


while our star fades behind the blazing light

the moon shepherds us through the dark

as raging tides descend upon the shore


for the battle cry

we launch in stride


marching fearless into the storm’s eye


where victory and loss are intertwined


but hope,

on the horizon lies


for the everlasting union

of day

and night


For Abdul Jabbar, history and its records attest to humanity’s shared fascination for the celestial realm. The mysterious phenomenon of a star rising in the morning sky until it disappears behind the sun, only to appear again as an evening star, has been observed by civilizations for millennia. Over time, we recognized this motion as the solar orbit of a single planetary body, Venus. This eternal cycle, witnessed over thousands of years, embodies many of humanity’s elemental beliefs about the duality of life and death, love and war. These beliefs have been crafted into myths and legends that crossed land and sea to be transformed and resurrected under new names.


where myths are born of mud and desire weaves and recounts an allegory of cosmic events and ancestral beliefs, contemplating our enduring quest for meaning and purpose. The rising star serves as a potent symbol, signifying new journeys towards self-discovery and enlightenment. The work describes the intertwined nature of life and loss, emphasizing resilience and gesturing at renewal.


Open to all, Desert X AlUla is a recurring and temporary, site-responsive, international open-air art exhibition taking place in AlUla, a globally significant ancient desert region in the Arabian Peninsula.



February 7, 2024