Maitha Abdalla is an interdisciplinary artist who utilises cultural narratives rooted in notions of nostalgia, memory and folklore to question the dynamics of power often represented in parables. Taking inspiration from traditional storytelling across varied cultures, Abdalla approaches themes of social and political identity through the theatrical narratives constructed within her work. Conflating metaphors sourced from European and Emirati mythology, the artist intentionally blurs the distinctions between eastern and western perspectives, producing surreal tableaus that obscure the supposedly well-defined bounds of creative disciplines.
Her work has been shown at solo exhibitions, including Scars by Daylight, Tabari Artspace, Dubai (2021) and Hollowed, Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi (2019).
Abdalla has also participated in several group exhibitions, such as Beyond Emerging Artists, Palazzo Franchetti, Venice (2022); Beyond Emerging Artists, Abu Dhabi Art (2021); Boudoir, video performance, Abu Dhabi Art (2020); Dynasty, F6 Gallery, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai (2019); The alumni show, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi (2018); In Her Dreams, Emirates Fine Arts Society, Sharjah (2016); and We Can’t See, Abu Dhabi Art (2016), among others.
She co-curated Noah’s Ark, the 34th annual exhibition at Fine Arts Society, Sharjah (2016) and Bait Juma Group Exhibition, Bait 15 Abu Dhabi (2019).
A current resident at Cité Internationale des Arts residency in Paris, her residencies and fellowships include In Conversation, Art Dubai (2020); In the Round, Abu Dhabi Art (2020); In the Studio, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2020); ADMAF Visual Arts Residency Programme, Vaduz, Liechtenstein and Vienna (2019); and Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation + Rhode Island School of Design Abu Dhabi, Providence & New York (2016–2017).
She received the Sheikha Manal Arts Awards, Dubai (2015).
Abdalla holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Zayed University, Abu Dhabi (2015). Born in 1989 in Khorfakkan, Sharjah, she currently lives and works in Abu Dhabi.
Sharjah Biennial 15 (2023)
Sharjah Biennial 15
Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present