Artists featured in Between the Sky and the Earth
b. 1975, Sharjah; lives between Abu Dhabi and Washington, D.C.
Ebtisam Abdulaziz is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. With a BA in Math and Science, Abdulaziz incorporates her unique perspective on mathematics and the structures of systems to explore issues of identity and culture through installations, performance pieces, video, paintings, and works on paper. Focal Illusion employs themes of Islamic geometry in its use of multiple layers and mathematical structures, and calls to mind muqarnas, the honeycomb-like structures found in mosques. Abdulaziz has been widely exhibited in the UAE and internationally. She was among the featured artists in the inaugural UAE and ADACH Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale, as well as at the 7th and 10th Sharjah Biennials. She has shown at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; the Kunst Museum, Bonn, Germany; FotoFest Biennial, Art in Houston, Texas; and The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa, Florida, among other museums.
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim
b. 1962, Khorfakkan; lives in Sharjah
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim’s work has been inspired by a lifelong relationship with the environment of Khorfakkan, the city on the Gulf of Oman where he was born and continues to work. His deep connection to his local environment is reflected in his practice, whether through his installations, drawings or objects. His sculptures, made of natural paper pigments in shapes reflecting the natural formations of his domestic landscape, often resemble pylons, toys, animals, trees, or fruit. Part of the UAE's first generation of contemporary artists from the late 1980s, Ibrahim was a founding member of the Emirates Fine Art Society (1980), and the Art Atelier in the Khorfakkan Art Center (1997). He has exhibited widely in the UAE and internationally and will represent the UAE at the 59th Venice Biennale. His work is in the collections of the British Museum, The Centre George Pompidou, and the Sharjah Art Foundation, among others.
Afra Al Dhaheri
b. 1988, Abu Dhabi; lives in Abu Dhabi
Afra Al Dhaheri’s work is rooted in her experiences growing up in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE – a place of recent and rapid change. Working across various mediums including mixed media, sculpture, drawing, painting, installation, photography, and printmaking, she explores notions of time and adaptation, rigor and fragility. She is especially fascinated by the tensions imbued in hair, often using rope as a stand-in for the raw, organic material, as seen in School Braid No. 2. In To Tame and Contain, the rigidity of concrete balances the delicate intricacies of rope, juxtaposing strength and vulnerability. Al Dhaheri has participated in numerous group and solo shows in the UAE, including Split Ends, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2021) and Inevitable Ephemera, T + H Gallery, Boston, USA (2016). Al Dhaheri earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017.
b. 1962, Kuwait; lives in Abu Dhabi
Photographer Tarek Al-Ghoussein explores through his practice how identity is shaped within a context of inaccessibility and loss. His evocative photographs depict abandoned spaces and objects, and examine both personal and general associations with the Middle East. In his ongoing Odysseus series, which documents Abu Dhabi’s islands, Al-Ghoussein lingers on the traces of human presence, capturing images of places and objects that will soon cease to exist. Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents in exile, Al-Ghoussein has exhibited widely in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. His works are collected by museums worldwide including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Freer I Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the British Museum, London. He is currently program director of the MFA in Art and Media degree program at NYU Abu Dhabi.
Hashel Al Lamki
b. 1986, Al Ain; lives in Abu Dhabi
Hashel Al Lamki’s works reflect his perspective as a witness to the rapid industrial and architectural developments in the UAE. He infuses his experience into work that focuses on social innovation, sustainability, and philanthropic practices. The diptych titled The Day We Met Thomas is part of a body of work Al Lamki painted after the passing of his father in 2021. He has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the UAE, including at Abu Dhabi’s Warehouse 421 which featured his solo show The Cup and The Saucer. He received a BFA from the Parsons School of Design (2007), and has been awarded several international fellowships, including from the the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design (2016).
Shaikha Al Mazrou
b. 1988, Dubai; lives in Dubai
Shaikha Al Mazrou’s sculptural experimentations and investigations are expressions of materiality—articulations of tension and the interplay between form and content as well as an intuitive keenly felt understanding of materials and their physical properties. She combines and evolves ideas from contemporary artistic movements similarly preoccupied with formal and material elements - from color theory to geometric abstraction. Structural Affinity is an example of her irreverent use of material and its apparent contradictions. Her work has been widely exhibited in the UAE and internationally and is collected by, among other institutions, the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; and the Jameel Art Collection, Dubai. Al Mazrou attended the Chelsea College of Fine Art, London, where she was awarded the MFA Student Prize (2014). She is a visiting professor of Visual Arts at NYU Abu Dhabi.
b. 1988, Dubai; lives in Dubai
Asma Belhamar’s work explores the phenomenon of the 'megastructure' in the UAE and confronts the visual memory of local landscapes. Her design-based practice reflects her interest in surface and pattern design. She makes fabric and paper wall installations, experimenting with printing and projection techniques in her construction of three-dimensional structures. Informed by her interdisciplinary background in art and design, her wide range of approaches and materials offer a theoretical perspective on the architectural languages and aesthetic practices within the built environment. Belhamar has exhibited in several UAE shows. In 2017, she received an MFA in Textile Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Today, she is assistant professor at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University in Dubai.
b. 1986, Dubai; lives between Sharjah and Abu Dhabi
Alaa Edris uses photography, film and performance to enact experimental mappings and manipulations of her social and urban environment. In her States and Reem Dream X photographic series, she abstracts architecture to recreate sci-fi inspired sets. The works address the tension between progress and tradition, articulation and erasure, drawing on ideas of uncertainty and the fragile boundaries between beauty and fear. Edris’ work has been presented in exhibitions across the region and internationally, including This is not a show [io non sono qui], No Title Gallery, Venice Art Projects, Venice (2021); the 14th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah (2019); and From Barcelona to Abu Dhabi: Works from the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art Collection (MACBA) in Dialogue with the Emirates, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi (2018). In 2015, she completed a year-long Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship program, organized in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design. She received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Electronic Media from the University of Sharjah in 2009.
b. 1982, Dubai; lives in Dubai
Lamya Gargash documents the forgotten spaces in public and private realms in Emirati society, capturing the relics of an ever self-renewing architecture. She is heavily inspired by inhabited and abandoned spaces as well as cultural heritage in a context of rapid change. As seen in these photographs from her Traces (2014) and Clubs (2015) series, Gargash captures the beauty of human traces and the values of the mundane, exploring modernity, mortality, identity, and the banal along the way. In 2009, she was selected to represent the UAE in their first pavilion at the Venice Biennale with her series Familial. Gargash’s work has been included in several group exhibitions and film festivals, in the UAE and internationally. She graduated with an M.A. in Communication Design from the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design at the University of Arts London in 2007.
b. 1969, Dubai; lives in Dubai
A leading figure in the UAE’s ‘Second Generation’ of contemporary artists, Mohammed Kazem has developed an artistic practice that encompasess video, photography, and performance to find new ways of understanding his environment and experience. Portraying the fleeting quotidian, Windows (2019-2020) and Neighbours (2018) are series of works that weave a short-story-like narrative through successions of everyday scenes across the UAE. Invisible and intimate events in the landscape—laundry day at a labour compound, workers resting, clothes billowing—are witnessed by shadowy, retreating figures, reduced to mere traces. He has exhibited widely in the UAE and internationally, and in 2013, represented the UAE’s National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. His works are collected by museums worldwide, including the British Museum, London; and the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi and New York. Kazem completed his Master’s degree in Fine Art at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2012.
b. 1969, Puerto Rico; lives in Dubai
Solimar Miller is a textile designer and printmaker whose work explores the natural world and climate change. Having lived in Dubai for over 20 years, her focus has been on documenting the infinite beauty of the region’s indigenous trees. In 2018, Solimar started work on a series of drawings and hand silk-screening prints of the majestic tree species present in the UAE. Experimenting with different mediums and printing techniques to illuminate the vulnerability posed by global warming, Miller captures as much detail as possible in her works. Miller received a BFA in Textile and Surface Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She is widely known for her textile and surface design for luxury hotels and brands, and is a member of Tashkeel Studios in Dubai.
b. 1994, Philippines; lives in Dubai
Augustine Paredes is a Dubai-based artist and photographer whose lyrical and contemporary narratives are derived from his travels, South East Asian consciousness and queer gaze. His series, including Am I Driving Safely, If Not Please Call, examines Abu Dhabi’s Mina Zayed port, capturing the transient lives of the truckers who transport goods to and from the port to destinations across the Arab world, providing a snapshot of the human face of globalization. He has exhibited in the Philippines, Malaysia, Latvia, Australia, and is an alumnus of the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship, Campus Art Dubai, and International Summer School of Photography. He is the author of two self-published books and co-founder of Sa Tahanan Co., a Dubai-based collective for the global Filipino diaspora.