History helps us remember. To learn, to grow, to surpass those that came before us, and still be indebted to them, these are all things unique to us. And so are our dreams. We dream with eyes wide open, almost floating in a sea of inspiration and lessons from the past.

We can only think of something new, because we know what was and what could be. The greatest poets of modernity took pride in tradition and the prospect of building not from the ground up, but on the shoulders of giants. This is what sets us apart, if there was ever a purpose to our lives, it must be to dream. We evolve not just genetically, but also culturally.

Dreams are the founding stones of civilizations.

Foundational to society and civilization, and by extension, to art, culture, and science, is continuity. Without learning from the great minds that came before us, we cannot hope to reach new heights, or to dream as freely as we’d like to. It is this inherent linkage between our past and our aspirations that inspired me to create “We Dream Under the Same Sky”. The columns represent the flow of time and the brass rings our dreams. In the midst of the unpredictability of life, sometimes our dreams are not able to take off; sometimes they come to a halt midway. But where there is unpredictability, there is also grace. Our dreams are not just ours to carry, they are like torches that we pass on to posterity. 

The enigma at the core of the sculpture.

We Dream Under the Same Sky is an acknowledgement of all that we have been able to achieve as a global civilization. It is a celebration of paradigm shifts, of great revolutions in the world of arts and science, and a celebration of such visionaries that continue to lead the charge to a better future. The pillars also hold within them an enigma. My pursuit to allow my audience to explore, interact, and engage with the sculptures has led me to etch within the sculpture a puzzle.

Many visionaries have charted human history.

The visionaries being celebrated by the sculpture are represented by timepieces that point to the dates of birth of these visionaries. For example, Elon Musk was born on June 28th, so the hour hand is on 6 and the minute hand is on 28 such that the timepiece on the sculpture reads 6:28. Similarly, Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29th, and so the timepiece reads 1:29. The sculpture includes luminaries like Shakespeare, Mozart, Madame Curie, Nelson Mandela, Pablo Picasso, Arianna Huffington, Bill Gates, Mukesh Ambani and Jeff Bezos. It is up to the audience to solve the puzzle in order to identify which timepiece signifies whom. It is my hope that this sculpture instils a sort of curiosity in the minds of my audience and urges them to appreciate our history.

I want to let everyone know that dreams are the founding stones of civilizations and all that we take for granted in our immediate reality. The one defining feature of humans is that we dare to look up to the sky and dream to touch the stars.

Our dreams are not just ours to carry, they are like torches that we pass on to posterity. 

Sonal Ambani’s “We Dream Under The Same Sky” – “The Quintet” is being shown by the Leila Heller Gallery at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Sculpture Park until March 2024 and “The Triplet” at the Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai. 

Photographs by Amar Ambani