The desert is where much of my practice takes place. In my work, I often investigate ‘monuments’ as manifestations of conscious thought within the barren vast landscape of the imagined realm, which I correlate to the desert. The emptiness of the desert, as well as its amplified silence, ignites rituals: rituals featuring found objects, such as satellite dishes or bathtubs, and fabricated objects, such as wooden haphazard stairs, or large metal doors adorned with designed symbols reminiscent of old Sha’abi houses. These exploratory rituals are carried out beyond the desert and within the city as well, through role-playing, miming, participatory clairvoyance sessions, and pseudo-alchemic studies. Moments of anti-climactic, reticent, and subdued epiphanies arise through filming these rituals, many of them abruptly interrupted in the same way as when we wake up from a dream. While my ceremonial experiments sometimes involve others, they are also spiritually inward looking. I often try to excavate subconsciously generated imagery birthed in early memory and turn these excavations into a wider self-awareness.
Shaikha Fahad Al Ketbi is a visual artist whose multimedia practice spans photography, drawing and installation art. Her work explores themes of self-awareness and blurs the line between fiction and reality. Much of her current practice involves instantaneous performative responses to isolated landscapes, framed through her vivid, experiential dreams.
Al Ketbi is a graduate of Zayed University and her work has been included in exhibitions including the 2018 Arab Women Artists Now exhibition ‘Perpetual Movement’ in London, 2018; Art Bahrain 2018; Armenia Art Fair 2018; UAE Unlimited’s ‘Ishara: Signs, Symbols and Shared Languages’ exhibition 2018; the Zayed University graduate exhibition in 2016; ‘Collectivity’ at Maraya Art Centre; and the 2018 Tribe Magazine’s ‘Tribe: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World’ in Washington, DC. She participated in the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nayhan Foundation Emerging Artists Fellowship from 2016-17. She is also one of the founding members of the Public Art Collective, a group dedicated to the research and advancement of public art dialogue in the UAE.