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Afra Al Dhaheri, Pillow Fort Playground

Marble, 357 x 160 x 289 cm, 143 x 120 x 52 cm

Public Art Programme, Expo 2020 Dubai

Image courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai


Marble was introduced to our culture as an object associated with luxury. When I look back at growing up in the 1990s, my family constantly told us that those were the good days, when everyone could afford almost anything, because there were just a few people here and a lot of oil. I used to go to my grandparents’ old house in Al Ain, where there was marble everywhere. Even the staircase was marble! That was their idea of luxury and that was how it was introduced to them. It was a Western idea. When I was first approached about Expo, I was asked to think about what I would like to monumentalise from our contemporary age. Marble ties into this idea of monumentality. In Western history, when figures were monumentalised they would always be carved in stone or marble, but we don’t have anything like that because our faith does not believe in idols. So, I thought, what if you idolise or create monuments for objects instead, does that make it different?

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