Resurgence – Taqwa Alnaqbi


Taqwa Al Naqbi, Resurgence (detail), 2017. One of two handmade paper, cloth, approx. 55 x 45 cm each. Commissioned by DUCTAC.

Making papers from elements of Emirati culture is an attempt to retain and reconstitute my heritage and my familial relationships. This dialogue of handmade materials reverently preserves my emotions and thoughts about where I am from. The exercise is infused with great pride and appreciation, and the laborious handmade process is an integral expression of this, giving the artwork value and importance. Looking at the work of Hassan Sharif, I was drawn to the repetitive and meditative acts he often engaged with and enacted. I see many of his sculptural works to be a kind of gradual amassing of thoughts, the final objects ultimately prompting a consideration and reconsideration of the often unnoticed ephemera of our environment

Each piece of paper, 45cm x 60cm, is made from my parents’ traditional clothes, one from my mother and one from my father. The use of these personal artefacts is a call and response with my parents – using objects that are so personal to them, and which are also bound up in tradition, was an attempt to engage with them closely. The transformation of these objects is my attempt to actively seize, absorb and understand my own culture, while the creation of paper denotes communication. 

The paper that I have constructed is layered with the personal and is an act of reconstitution. As other objects are synthesised and remade through the process, they all come to take on paper’s more ‘conventional’ documentation role. As the paper records the details of my journey, it is translated from culture to a pure medium.

The stimulating process of making handmade paper started with these personal objects, which were then mulched into to a fibre. The fibre was turned into a pulp and thus is transformed into another object. Since my work is inspired by my family’s culture (represented through my parents’ garments), the work encapsulates the personal experience of making. The fragility of its execution is deeply personal and hints at churning, constant cultural transformations as they are amassed, changed and evolved throughout my life.