An exhibition devoted to one of the most important social and historical icons of the UAE – the Emirati Burqa - opened last week at Sharjah Heritage Museum.
The show titled ‘The Emirati Burqa: An Intimate Object’, features photographs, films, paintings and installations by Sharjah-born Karima Alshomely.
Alshomely adopts a contemporary perspective towards an item that has been part of Emirati cultural identity for hundreds of years.
Running until June 2018, the exhibition of photographs, films, paintings and installations presents the artist’s personal memories and relationship with the burqa, as well as her interpretation of its history and concept.
The collection is seen as vital in preserving Emirati heritage, while encouraging visitors to take an alternative viewpoint to an item that was once part of traditional everyday dress.
Karima Alshomely with Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, during the inauguration of the exhibition. (Supplied)
Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, said: “As an object that is deeply personal to each individual wearer, it is appropriate that the collection is characterized by Karima’s own relationship and viewpoint towards the burqa.
“We are confident that visitors will not regard the burqa in the same way again, whether they develop a better understanding of its history and the materials used in its design or in the reaffirmation of its important place in Emirati society.”
Alshomely uses multiple forms of artistic and visual media to present themes including burqa materials and construction, and various burqa wearing practices. (Supplied)
The highly diverse collections use multiple forms of artistic and visual media to present themes including burqa materials and construction, various burqa wearing practices, the loss and recovery of the burqa, and even the typical smells associated with the burqa.
Karima Alshomely earned a BFA at the University of Sharjah and a MFA at University of the Arts London, Chelsea College of Arts and Design. She has completed a PhD in Fine Arts at Kingston University, London.