In her first solo exhibition named ‘New Chapter,’ Lateefa Bint Maktoum, Founder and Director of Tashkeel, tells us of her journey of motherhood in its varying stages from the conception to birth, including all the emotions she felt and all that she learnt on the way.
Marking one of the biggest physical, psychological and emotional transitions in a woman’s life, Lateefa Bint Maktoum attempts to bring such a personal journey to public view.
“I have been thinking about this show since I first became pregnant over two years ago and then whilst watching my son Maktoum grow. I have thought about it so much that to realize it almost felt like giving birth to a new baby again. Thinking of the exhibition paralyzed me to the point that I could not make the pieces but could only conceptualize them, so I began with the process that came naturally to me – sketching out the subject matter and compositions of what I wanted to photograph before I even held the camera,” she says in her Artist Statement.
This is what is absolutely breathtaking about this body of work. How a painting is realized and brought to life with photography in almost a fluid harmony. It is so simple and yet so fantastic.
Established in 2008 by Lateefa Bint Maktoum, Tashkeel is a contemporary art organisation based in Nad el Sheba. If you haven’t been here, it is a quiet, green neighborhood away from the glitz and glamour and sand of Dubai. This was my first time, and when we were driving through the greenery, I was thinking how isolated and serene the surroundings were, and when I reached the studio, it was as if the serenity had entered with me inside the exhibition. Even though there were a lot of people and a lot of talking, chatting, hugging and clicking of photographs it blended in harmoniously. It felt like the serenity of the outdoors seamlessly flowed through the gallery, into the art itself. The chatting of minds hung like a distant hum. I came looking for art, but I also found a lot of peace along with it. I am not a mother, neither am I married, but as I watched Lateefa’s work, I found myself in it. Because she rightly said, “Life is a series of transitions.”
“As a result of this transition it felt right to step in front of the camera myself because I am describing something personal; I could not use anyone else as a stand-in but it felt appropriate to use my new family and myself. By not showing their faces, the identity of the subjects were kept hidden, giving the chance to perhaps relate to their own ‘new chapter’ and personal life transitions.”Artist Statement, New Chapter