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Afra Al Dhaheri

Afra Al Dhaheri

Afra Al Dhaheri

Born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; lives there.

Pillow Fort Playground

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

© Afra Al Dhaheri 2021
Commissioned by and Collection of Expo 2020 Dubai
Cover photo: Thorsten Arendt in cooperation with Roman Mensing (detail)


Afra Al Dhaheri's practice explores cultural reconfigurations in contemporary experience. In particular, her work is marked by a conscious enactment of loss as she captures a state of ephemeral memory.

Through this marble sculpture of tikkay, traditional Emirati floor pillows, Al Dhaheri revisits moments of impromptu play. The massive scale materialises the comparison in size felt by a child when building a pillow tower or fort. These childhood forts existed within our homes, within our rooms, as a space within a space within a space. The material weight of the marble monumentalises the experience of this recent history, allowing the delicate architecture of the tikkay to prompt questions of reinvention, play and creativity. The viewer's presence and interaction are essential in activating this work, which becomes a tool that connects society in a mass recollection of memory.

Afra Al Dhaheri: Pillow Fort Playground. 2021
Marble. 289 x 357 x 160 cm, 52 x 143 x 120 cm
Commissioned by and Collection of Expo 2020 Dubai.
Photos: Thorsten Arendt and Roman Mensing (some are details)

Text and information: Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme.

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