Rawdha Khalifa Al Ketbi

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Artwork Concept: 

Rawdha Al Ketbi’s work draws on the idea of “Tarboosha” which are tassels of carpets, curtains or clothing. These forms are then exaggerated and re-formed within her installation of carpets. She also explores, with a specific aging technique of rusting copper,  the idea of ‘the imprint’. Her work is driven by trying to capture traces of presence (or absence), drawing on both fictive and real possibilities to reimagine the lives of others.

A platform of imagination travels between the floating islands of myth and reality found in my daily life. My work brings together fragments of lives, the imprint left by the abduction of souls in what are now empty homes in the city, spaces haunted by long beautiful stories that are lost and untold. Memories are left; now re-imagined and woven onto carpets covered by concrete, to conceal yet partially reveal the codes that are still being traced and found. Like waves against a shore, continually creating then erasing moments in time, these codes are elusive. And yet - a presence that has flown away, still leaves an imprint. A positive moment in my life inspired me to reveal this spiritual absence. I am drawn to the moments when power meets mystery, from which an extraordinary spirit emerges, that is distant but also a close friend.


Rawdha Khalifa Al Ketbi is an Emirati visual artist who works with found materials and memories from abandoned places. Her main practice involves photography, mixed media and installation art. She spends most of her time outdoors, exploring her surroundings and specifically abandoned places, collecting objects that hold memories in order to preserve the history of ‘place’. This interest has led her to explore different mediums and to experiment with techniques to ‘age’ the materials she finds. She recently travelled to Italy where she took classes as part of a University Intercultural Project; she has also worked with Anna Higgs for an exhibition in Germany, and worked on an opera design project in Warsaw, Poland. Her recent exhibitions include ‘Stranded’ and ‘Welcoming’, held in Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, and also ‘Transitional’ held at Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2018. She continues to seek the thrill of abandoned places in her practice today, a source of inspiration for her works. Al Ketbi is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi.