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Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2021

Press Release

Split Ends showcases a body of conceptual works by Afra Al Dhaheri that frame a liminal state of unlearning and readdressing. The cultural dichotomies of hair are framed throughout the exhibition simultaneously in both the understandings of hair through the domains of the public and private. The figure of the split end—that brittle fraying of a hair when it becomes too dry—encapsulates the time and space between the start and finish of a transformation, or between an ending and its separation into a new beginning.

The juxtaposition of the organic and inorganic, embody both strength and vulnerability. Rope mimics the delicate language of hair but also evokes processes of tying down, taming, and tidying. Concrete summons images of rigid architecture and cityscapes but here develops a softness, as well, adapting to the delicate intricacies of the human body. The Arabic title of the installation Fil Al Shaar, a cornerstone work in the exhibition, insinuates a playful liberation of hair. The architectural space delineated by its ropes that hang heavily from the ceiling is meant to be experienced in the body’s movement through it, felt in the paradoxically light intimacy of touch. In contrast, One at a Time showcases the delicacy, intricacy, and force found in the organic state of human hair. The act of taping down the collected hairs and straightening them insinuates the force of external factors, and the reality of its natural state. The work explores hair’s malleability as a cultural, public signifier of what is “presentable” but also its own inherent, material force of rebellion in its persistent return to a private, “natural” state. 

Throughout the works presented, Al Dhaheri draws the viewer into the intimacy of binary oppositions to propose a third possibility introduced in her works. She reinterprets hardness as a delicate trait thereby negotiating the rigidity of architecture and the fluidity of its definitions. The artist’s manipulation of interior/exterior and public/private in her materials shows how social and cultural obligation can transform into new forms. In the liminal spaces found in the moments of separation that inaugurate metamorphoses, Al Dhaheri proposes new realities that allow time to seem both expansive and limited, making space for destruction and construction to coexist. In the time of these material processes, the arrival at one ending opens onto the chaos of a new beginning. Where there is absence and finality there lies, too, the opportunity for presence and transformation. 

- Text by Munira Al Sayegh

Afra Al Dhaheri, Fil Al Shaar, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Fil Al Shaar, 2020
Cotton rope, Dimensions variable

Afra Al Dhaheri, Fil Al Shaar (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Fil Al Shaar (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, One at a Time (To Detangle Series), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, One at a Time (To Detangle Series), 2020
Hair on cotton fabric, 200 x 35 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, One at a Time (To Detangle Series) (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, One at a Time (To Detangle Series) (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Absent Yet Present, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Absent Yet Present, 2020
Wood and metal door handle with key
277 x 106 x 22 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, Absent Yet Present (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Absent Yet Present (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Too Pretty To Let Go, Too Heavy To Carry On, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Too Pretty To Let Go, Too Heavy To Carry On, 2020
Cement, hair and pvc tube, Composed of 3 pcs
35 x 9 x 9 cm each
 

Afra Al Dhaheri, Too Pretty To Let Go, Too Heavy To Carry On (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Too Pretty To Let Go, Too Heavy To Carry On (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Thread as Hair Drawing No. 1 & 2, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Thread as Hair Drawing No. 1 & 2, 2020
Cotton thread embroidery on cotton mesh fabric

Diptych: 28 x 26 cm; 20 x 18.5 cm
 

Afra Al Dhaheri, Clay as braid, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Clay as braid, 2020
Stoneware ceramic, Composed of 4 pcs
Dimensions variable
 

Afra Al Dhaheri, Line Hair Drawing No. 1, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Line Hair Drawing No. 1, 2020
Hair on paper, 30 x 40 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, Line Hair Drawing No. 2, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Line Hair Drawing No. 2, 2020
Hair on paper, 30 x 40 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends, 2020
Cement, resin and foam, Composed of 13 pcs
40 (diameter) x 20 (thickness) cm each

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Split Ends (detail), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri

Afra Al Dhaheri
Left: No. 1 (Spaces of improvisation) series, 2020
Cotton mesh on wood
210 x 118 x 4 cm

Right: No. 2 (Spaces of improvisation) series, 2020
Cotton mesh on wood
210 x 118 x 4 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, School braid (To Detangle Series), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, School braid (To Detangle Series), 2020
Cotton rope, 14 x 51 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, Spiral staircase No. 1, 2 & 3, 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, Spiral staircase No. 1, 2 & 3, 2020
Acrylic and carbon graphite on paper
Triptych, 25 x 18 cm each
 

Afra Al Dhaheri, No. 5 (To Detangle Series), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, No. 5 (To Detangle Series), 2020
Cotton rope and natural cork, 30 x 120 cm

Afra Al Dhaheri, No. 2 (Split Ends Series), 2020

Afra Al Dhaheri, No. 2 (Split Ends Series), 2020
Cement, resin and foam, 84 (diameter) x 40 (thickness) cm
 

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