The works of Khulood Al Jabri are both universal and fiercely individual. Her aesthetic and practice are elements of a hard won artistic identity; one she describes having fought continually to forge. Her individual expression is bound by a deep respect and admiration for Emirati women and their development within the wider UAE context. Her vivid, dreamlike works are drawn from personal experience, celebrating local heritage and presenting new perspectives on social concepts.
She is an artist, arts educator and advocate and is a member of various cultural and arts organisations in the UAE. She has made significant contributions throughout her professional career including time as Deputy Head of Fine Arts at the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development (2012–2014) and as an advisor in photography and fine arts at the Ministry.
In 2010, her work was presented in two solo exhibitions in the UAE and has since been exhibited as part of numerous group exhibitions in the region and internationally. She has also spoken and presented on art from the UAE at workshops, events and forums in Belgium, China, Morocco and Egypt.
This dreamlike canvas has its origins in a persistent childhood fascination. Khulood Al Jabri recalls the impression made on her by her mother and her mother’s friends – the vibrancy of their friendship and their identities. Her imagination and intrigue saw what was behind the burqa and it is an image she has returned to continually throughout her life.
The ‘Burqa’ series were experimental and research-driven. Her attempt is not to convey who is “behind the burqa” but to tell of a more complex relationship between the woman, her traditions and her presentation to the outside world; demonstrating how each of these inform and shape identity. The face of the woman she envisions is as central to the work as the vivid colours that liberate her. Yet it is the burqa, or a sense of the burqa, that is persistently present – suggesting no inherent contradiction. Al Jabri celebrates Emirati women and their advancement but she does not do so at the expense of tradition. There is no binary set up, rather a vivid and joyful celebration of the possible.