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.
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.
"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."