Approaching specific concepts or themes with the aim of producing artistic works necessarily entails evoking perceptual and sensory experiences. Artistic creativity is dependent on unleashing the imagination that would add rich dimensions to the primary concepts through the gradual unfolding of the creative process. In its current session, the Islamic Arts Festival adopts the theme of “Gradations” as a reference concept and a guide to formulating creative works. This key word is almost indispensable to everything that occurs in our external and internal worlds alike. Nothing is completed without a gradual process of creation, nor is there a complete state without the complementarity and interweaving of the many elements that form its basic structure; the complete is gradually achieved through the growth of its various components.
Hence, we hope that artists, regardless of their tools, methods, and expressive styles, will approach this concept from their own perceptions. Our aim is for this theme to serve as a sign indicative of the path of creativity that the artists will follow on their quest to formulate a visual creation characterized by structural and artistic eloquence that simulates this theme. The concept we propose can be approached in the context of the growing aesthetic and objective knowledge and experiences as well as the varied ways of establishing and expressing them authentically. We are ultimately led to explore this concept and its uses in Islamic arts that inherently simulate the concept of the absolute and the infinite. There is no doubt that Islamic arts have always embodied unity in diversity, harmony in rhythm, and congruence in innumerable gradations. Islamic arts are the true manifestation of an everlasting art that addresses the essence of existence in its entirety and discloses the eternal truth of the arts – not as a mere transient adornment, but as being present at the core of the meaning that defines the very basis of our life.
Afra Al Dhaheri's latest installation work Ebb and Flow, is based on the artist's constant understanding of form, material, and process. Persistently seeking meaning within medium and process; sometimes the process leads to a meaning and other times the meaning in the medium leads to a process.
The artwork utilizes the negative and positive spaces occuring from tightening and loosening ropes from their hanging points in the ceiling. It is a movement that is very performative and Al Dhaheri- as a maker- has become the orchestrator of this movement; a play, a pull and push, a negotiation with the material and its weight.