BEYOND: EMERGING ARTISTS


Curated by Maya El-Khalil


Artists: Hind Mezaina, Afra Al Dhaheri and Afra Al Suwaidi



Dates: 19 November - 31 December 2020
Times: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Location: Gallery S, Manarat Al Saadiyat


In a year of forced hiatus, experiences of time have become distorted. Aborted plans have altered our sense of the future; drawn-out periods of isolation have prompted reassessments of the past. These conditions have provided productive new spaces to consider the qualities and possibilities of memory, from the collective and cultural to the personal and traumatic. Through their distinctive practices, each artist investigates how experiences of remembrance are constituted.

Hind Mezaina takes the UAE’s participation in the 1980s world disco championships as her starting point. This unexpected and relatively undocumented moment in pop-culture lore opens into spaces of multimedia archives, internet encounters and anecdote.

Afra Al Dhaheri begins with embodied recollections, unreeling ideas of identity from the physical, as caught in the tresses of hair – her own, as well as the archetypal and socially conditioned. She pursues these recollections to make formal investigations into processes of casting and the structure of the spiral. In these architectures of void and presence, she discovers poetic renditions of memory and time.

To contend with the past is also to process. For Afra Al Suwaidi, conflicted childhood experiences become composed into artefacts. The juxtapositions of collage perform tense complexities. An act that enables detachment, this mode of objectification renders trauma as a thing to be inspected and assimilated.

Beyond: Emerging Artists is an annual initiative that aims to provide three emerging artists in the UAE with a platform from which to develop their practice and realise ambitious art projects. The selected artists will be chosen by a curator and they will undertake a year-long programme of workshops and studio visits under the mentoring and the supervision of the curator in the lead up to the realisation of a project for Abu Dhabi Art in November.
The works created by the commissioned Emerging Artists are revealed during Abu Dhabi Art and remain on exhibition to the public afterwards beyond the fair dates.

Hind Mezaina


A Performance in Valour is a study and a work in progress consisting of found footage, stock imagery, memes, news reports, movie clips and search results. An observation on masculinity, class, national identity and representation, specific to the UAE.
Its starting point is the 1980 World Disco Dancing Championship which included a participant from the United Arab Emirates.
The video will evolve and change throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Afra Al Dhaheri


Examining hair as a container of time and memory. Hair holds a nuance of similarities and differences in distinct cultures and stands to represent diverse connotations. Hair, like plants when nurtured and nourished, grows long and flourishes. Thinking of this organic form, an extension of the body as a container of time, I view the hair strand as a measuring tapelength as a representation of time and duration as a representation of the accumulation process.
Experimenting with alternative materials as hair allows me to explore the interventive gesture caused by hair holding forms of memory and breaking away from the presentable notions of hair.
This commission presents a rooted tangent from my explored narrative and research. Furthering my examination of hair as a container of time and memory thus allowing hair to be an expressive language through its form and state. Arriving at a moment where both time and space are contained, time was suddenly granted back to me at a pace much slower than that experienced before - a pace that made me nostalgic and reminiscent of the 90’s. A pace that challenged myself further to investigate time consuming processes, allowing me to dive into the narrative of hair, exploring hair as a medium and meaning within the medium.

Afra Al Suwaidi


“You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow.”
Excerpt from On Children, Gibran Khalil Gibran, The Prophet.
When the past holds hidden stories, how can a cohesive sense of self be constituted in the present?
Un-/Sheltered, Afra Al Suwaidi’s presentation, is one of withholding and glimpsing. The structure that frames and holds her works is layered to obscure and emphasise different elements, which can be viewed as a whole, from different perspectives, or by squeezing into the claustrophobic spaces between the struts and panels. In this navigation, different views will reveal themselves.
The process will also take place temporally, with pieces added throughout the exhibition. Each individual ‘scene’ uses collage techniques to compose what appear as architectural details, their openings exposing strange scenes that suggest unspoken violations. Dichotomies of inside/outside, hidden/ revealed come into play as the juxtaposition of materials perform and order tense complexities of withholding and confronting.

Curator and Artists

Maya El-Khalil

Maya El-Khalil

“Beyond: Emerging Artists” Curator

Maya El-Khalil

“Beyond: Emerging Artists” Curator

Hind Mezaina

Hind Mezaina

Artist

Hind Mezaina

Artist

Afra Al Dhaheri

Afra Al Dhaheri

Artist

Afra Al Dhaheri

Artist

Afra Al Suwaidi

Afra Al Suwaidi

Artist

Afra Al Suwaidi

Artist