Lateefa Bint Maktoum

Emirati artist Lateefa Bint Maktoum combines photography and montage to create ethereal landscapes that examine transformations in culture and the ever-changing connections between life, nature and women.

Using her personal experiences of life in Dubai as a base, Maktoum re-imagines and re-invents the landscape of her childhood. She explains the importance of nature to cultural rituals such as preparing food, saying, “I used to cut leaves off the ghaf tree with one of my mother’s friends and take them back to the Majlis to eat with rice.” The importance of women and the bonds that are built through cultural practices have influenced her artwork. She notes, “what Dubai was, the essence of it is being lost.”

In her series Observers of Change, part of the UAE’s exhibit at the 2011 Venice Biennale, Maktoum captures the Gulf nation’s transformed landscapes amid mass urbanisation, land reclamation and construction. Upturned and wilted palm trees represent an acute awareness of the conflicting environment of her homeland and the death and rebirth of cities.

Maktoum is the founder of Tashkeel, a facility dedicated to providing artists based in the UAE a place to produce and exhibit art.