Creating dream worlds with the light
Shadha Khalifeh is 25 years old and studied civil engineering. For a long time, artistic work was a hobby for her, which is why she refers to herself as an “artist in the making”. However, she has always had an interest in art and design. Since her youth, Shadha has been drawing with ink. In her surreal-looking drawings, she captures visions, dreams and feelings. In these drawings she works with organic forms, human heads and faceless creatures that blend into various backgrounds.
While working as a civil engineer, she felt she could not give space to her creative side. She then decided, with the encouragement of her friends, to focus on working as an artist. However, she does not see her work as a civil engineer as wasted; on the contrary. During the Corona Pandemic, working as an artist helped her through more than just the tough times of the lockdowns. Since that time, Shadha has been experimenting with light and other materials to discover the spectacular effects of light’s physical properties. Shadha is trying things out, is inquisitive, and inspired by dreamy moments she notices in her surroundings. In addition to drawings, photographs, and video works, she also works spatially, as in her first exhibition in March 2022 at a Light Art Residency workshop in Amman. Light cast through acetate paper created a spectacle of colors and shapes, patterns and intersections in the otherwise dark room. As in her drawings, Shadha also reproduces dream worlds here. While the ink drawings appear rather gloomy, the light installations invite us to marvel. Light is – literally – brought into the dark. Visitors could intervene in this spectacle themselves by shining flashlights through the acetate paper. Shadha wants to engage her audience and “awaken the child in them”, as they explore her work and thus become part of it. This is why she plans to continue incorporating exploratory and participatory elements into her work in the future. Currently, Shadha is part of the Goethe-Institut’s Takween Fellowship for digital product design in Jordan. She is a very passionate explorer and manages to inspire recipients with her work. Shadha is well on her way to becoming more than an “artist in the making”, even though she doesn’t have to, since being an artist for her means going through a process.