For June Art Fair, we present a two-person booth showing new work from Afra Al Dhaheri (b. 1988, lives and works in Abu Dhabi) and Nazgol Ansarinia (b. 1979, lives and work in Tehran). Living in Abu Dhabi and Tehran respectively, both artists reflect upon the changes and experiences of their daily environments.
Coming out of a generation of young female artists from the UAE, Afra Al Dhaheri works across various mediums including mixed media, sculpture, drawing, painting, installation, photography, and printmaking, drawing out notions of time and adaptation, rigor and fragility. She begins with embodied recollections, unreeling ideas of identity from the physical, as caught in the tresses of hair – her own, as well as the archetypal and socially conditioned. She pursues these recollections to make formal investigations into processes of casting and the structure of the spiral. In these architectures of void and presence, she discovers poetic renditions of memory and time.
Nazgol Ansarinia navigates through the pulse and flux of Tehran’s urban life, learning to recognize patterns within the chaos, and developing the ability to continuously deconstruct and reconstruct the unending semiotic rush into structures of order and meaning. Over the past decade, as the city’s urban fabric has undergone unrelenting cycles of premature demolition and ill-conceived construction, its built environment, both public and private, has been a central preoccupation for the artist.
Her most recent series, entitled Connected Pools (2020), is an exploration of the presence of empty swimming pools located in Tehran’s middle class neighbourhoods, and their relationship to the individual and collective desire. The sunken spaces of the pools became an extension of the domestic space as a peculiar detached room with blue walls, steel ladder, sloped floor, built-in lights, and open ceiling. The experience of inhabiting the empty pool is akin to being at home and elsewhere at the same time; it is an “other place,” a heterotopia. Ansarinia’s new project is a direct response to such psycho-spatial experiences and her continued investigation of private and public lives in modern Iranian society and their relationship to the socio-economic situation of the country.