Seham Almaha Jaralla
Seham by Almaha Jaralla
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Tabari Art Space in Dubai is holding Seham, the solo show of Emirati artist Almaha Jaralla. It will be open to the public until the 1st of September, 2023.

The exhibition showcases Jaralla’s series of works on canvas based on the archive of the photos taken in the 1980s by her father’s aunt Seham (“arrows” in Arabic) who has greatly influenced Jaralla’s work. With her Fuji camera, Seham documented family gatherings and moments from life in Abu Dhabi. The photographs inspired Jaralla to explore her father’s generation from the women’s point of view. 

Almaha Jaralla, PORTRAITS OF AL FALAH, 2023. Oil on Canvas. 80 x 80 cm, 31 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. 80 x 80 cm X 2. 31 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. Diptych. Courtesy of the artist.

In the exhibited artworks, Jaralla studies family relationships in the 80s, when face-to-face interaction was prevalent. Before the dawn of the digital world, parks and beaches were crucial spaces for people to spend their time together, and large family trips were a common thing. Evoking a sense of connection to the past, Jaralla’s oil paintings also illustrate how Abu Dhabi’s surroundings and landscape have changed over time.

The palette the artist used in her works includes the light colours of the desert landscape, regional fashions, and the Emirati architecture in the 80s. One can also see the hues which resemble the red filter revealed by Seham’s Fuji camera. Maawaz, a traditional men’s attire, serves as canvases the artist utilised for painting. This way, she highlights cultural and historical value of Yemeni heritage and draws together tradition and modernity.

Almaha Jaralla, Seham (installation view). Tabari Art Space, Dubai, 2023.

As Jaralla’s aim is to make her show visitors feel more comfortable and relaxed at the gallery, the exhibition space has been transformed into an immersive setting. There is an old-fashioned majlis for guests to sit and think about significant changes which have impacted the region over the decades. 

About the artist

Almaha Jaralla (b. 1996, Abu Dhabi, UAE) is a contemporary visual artist whose art practice involves painting and photography. She received her BFA in Visual Arts from the Zayed University, UAE.‎ She currently works as an artist’s apprentice and painting assistant for Hashel Al Lamki at Bait 15 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Almaha Jaralla, Al Maqta’a المقطع, 2023. Oil on textile. 78 7/10 × 43 3/10 in | 200 × 110 cm.

Jaralla creates personal portraits of living environments. She focuses on the modern history of her local surroundings, particularly the architectural style and how it has evolved over time. The artist draws inspiration from her own documentary photography and archives to explore the sociocultural dynamics and ancestral histories. Other key themes she explores in her art are identity, societal norms, and the role of women in the Emirati society. 

In 2022, Jaralla displayed her artworks in two solo exhibitions in UAE: Shadia at Abu Dhabi Art and at NYUAD Project Space, Abu Dhabi. She has participated in such group shows as Connected, Collected by Engage 101, Sotheby’s (Dubai, 2021); East-East Vol.4: The Curio Shop, HB.Nezu (Tokyo, 2021); Almost Home, Warehouse 421 (Abu Dhabi, 2020); and EMERGE III; Converging Lines, DD47 (Venice, 2019).

To get more information about the Seham exhibition, please visit its official web page.

You might also be interested in visiting I Am The Traveler And Also The Road.