Achieving any semblance of an understanding of oneself and one’s identity has always played an outsized role in society and rightly so. In its best form it is an ode to self-love; acceptance of circumstance; making peace with our pasts. In its worst state it is internal bankruptcy: sprawling thoughts; rambling confusion; short-sighted projection.
Juxtaposing and tying together the contradictory counterparts of identity in utter symbiotic harmony is Emirati artist Sarah Al Mehairi. Identities, systems, and stories are the gravity pulling together her debut solo exhibition, ‘Between’ at Carbon.12. The ostensible division between the Abu Dhabi-born artist’s works are not just about what it means to be fleshing out an identity- they serve as her identity, readable along the walls like the lines of a poem.
For Al Mehairi, no chasm or barrier exists between her varying expressions of identity, “It is interesting to have multiple subjects and modes at play with each other,” she says. “It’s a balancing act, like identity. It is when narrative and abstract are intertwined that playfulness, attentiveness and exploration rise.”
Reminders of Cubism; Mondrian’s work, and De Stijl architecture flow through the space with poetry, a tangled line of storytelling, infiltrating the sequence of her work. “X marks the spot to a / home I’ve never known” Al Mehairi writes.
In today’s rapidly globalising world, Al Mehairi’s work is a refreshing reminder that an understanding of self and lack thereof can coexist in chaotic harmony. Find her first solo exhibition at Carbon.12.
- On now until Thursday 3 Novemer 2019. Carbon.12 Gallery, Dubai. For more info, visit carbon12.art
Photos: Instagram and Supplied