The earth pulls us down to ground us.
Grounding: slowing down and observing; becoming conscious of our surroundings; and absorbing and processing. A yearning that lingers in the shadows of scattered minds.
The metamorphosis of hair has been a ritual within my practice. My mother once told me, ‘Take your fallen hair and bury it in the soil of your house plant. They will nourish it.’ The poetry of the gesture stayed with me and made me think of the ways in which our bodies return to the earth to nurture it. Could grounding ourselves be another manifestation of that return, a way to access nurturing?
I ground myself in the process of making work, constantly deconstructing and reconstructing elements of the material and concept. I often develop a visual vocabulary to engage the audience only to unlearn it to find a new language. I seek meaning within the medium. I ground myself, here, in the process.
Give Your Weight to the Ground is the accumulation of material language developed over time through practice and inquiry. It is layered with my research into the relation between materiality and the body (a tangible construct), as well as with labour, time, inherited ideologies, and the study of inhabited spaces (intangible constructs). The scale of each sculpture varies in relationship to human proportion; some meet a viewer’s gaze, others tower over them. The alternating scales are employed here to invoke the spaces and objects of a habitat.
I think about time as a concept, movement, and sound. When time is a restless insomniac, how do you rock it gently to sleep? Upon entering this gallery space, a sound piece encompasses the viewer. It folds around the works, binding them to the empty space, and anchors the viewer to the present environment, prompting them to reflect upon the constructed environment and lend consciousness to tonal resonance, rhythm, noise, and the silences in between.
The composition of works – paintings, sculptures, and sound – invites the viewer to slow down, observe, interpret, and immerse themselves in a new mindscape. It offers the passer-by a place for grounding amidst the overstimulation of the everyday. Are you present?
– Afra Al Dhaheri
Artist statement from Green Art Gallery