Kholkhal Aliaa, 2020. 18ft diameter. Powder coated Aluminum, 24K Gold leaf.
Kholkhal Aliaa,2019is inspired by a Bedouin anklet given to me by my mother. Its specific history is unknown to me, however the fiction around its journey from mother to daughter over generations intrigues me. The striking form of the kholkhal, ornamented with enormous spikes and delicate detailing, conveys power, elegance and female agency. As a piece of jewelry, it is something intimately related to the body but meant as a public symbol of union and promise. It is a tracker of footsteps in the desert, of bodies moving in the sand, in public space. A sign of union and connection, the depth of meaning that lies in its ornamentation and what is often dismissed as merelydecorativeis undeniable. Abstracting and concentrating the form of this powerful object, and scaling it in relation to a vast landscape, something like a collective body rather than an individual body, Kholkhal Aliaasets this circular form levitating between the two walls of an enclosed gorge, acting as a shelter and a bridge, a culmination of the journey to the site. The site -- an extraordinary embodiment of contrasts -- a sheltering space made of hard rock, where the earth becomes the body adorned. The piece was produced for Desert X AlUla, 2020.