Afra Bin Dhaher sets herself as a series of veiled women, in unusual scenes of everyday pictoral and romantic fancy, possibly their own, possibly hers. A kind of Muslim Cindy Sherman in profile, with a register that flies somewhat higher than Sherman’s, who often looks at the gritty reality of self, image and perception and whose self portraits are framed in an aura of disappointment, incongruity and alienation from the self.
Bin Dhaher, who only graduated in 2012, touches so far instead on the richness of fable, the possibility of imagination and dreams. In any case, through her exploration of the theme of identity, depicting female Muslim characters
in traditional Emirati outfits that are mostly worn at home, with bodily positions that smack mostly of a domestic environment, we are reminded that feminism is not a western concept after all. Women under the veil are both as feminist, conservative and dreamy as we are. Afra Bin Dhaher was born in Dubai, UAE where she lives and creates works notable for their dream-like, fanciful yet slightly tense suggestion of self, a frame Muslim women are not often seen in. It will be interesting to see how she develops.