Universes in Universe

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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 Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo 2020 Dubai Collection


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.

From information by Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme.

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