Titled “Mother & Daughter” by Shaikha Hala Al Khalifa. This photographic artwork cap-tures how the white fabric binds Shaikha Ha-la’s hands with the people she loves. The pho-tos capture how the bond gets stronger, hands get closer, until the grip of love and joy is real-ized. Photo Credits: Zain Al Shaker.

My project featured here started with a humble piece of white fabric.

There is an unspoken connection between myself and any white surface. The first stroke of any step is always the hardest, it’s that first stroke that defines the start of something true and meaningful to me. Whether it’s a white smooth canvas, or a paper, or a piece of cloth: the whiteness always has a great deal of presence and grandness.

And with that first stroke, the story begins.

This project started with words, celebrating the beauty and depth of our Arabic vocabulary, random words on connection, feelings, and troubles started shaping.

Words that have an echo within my soul, random yet raw.

With every word written there was a silent exhale, with an immediate power to heal.

This is a series of photographs that were made during the COVID-19 crisis.

Humanity had to adapt, heal, and work together to find balance and strength.

During an online debate organized by UNESCO and the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), in Saudi Arabia on June 18, as part of the ResiliArt movement of which I was a part of, I mentioned that this crisis has allowed many, like myself, to think, to reflect on our work, and to develop new messages. Culture and art give us hope and joy in times of crisis.

As a mother, an artist, and a person with a professional career in the field of art and culture, this pandemic has changed and reshaped my daily routine into a new norm.

At the essence of my role in all these areas, is the importance of holding on to joy and hope.

The joy of counting blessings especially in hard times is a vital key to survival. Allowing appreciation to be the real savior. We all can make a difference, if we focus on our sources of joy, and with joy comes strength.

This is an ongoing series, where this white fabric binds my hands with the people I love and care about. Here, I am sharing with you “Mother & Daughter,” to showcase the lifetime bond that we have with our loved ones. In honor of your magazine’s theme of joy, and its positive effect on people, especially in our current interrupted world, it’s a time to gain strength from the most meaningful experiences that come from our relationships with others. As a mother, these images reflect on my personal sources of joy and power.

I leave you with question to ponder: What are your sources of joy?

By the simple act of just remembering what gives you joy, leaves you happy and joyful.

Written by Special Guest Contributor:

Shaikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Director General, Culture and Arts at Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.

To discover more of Her Highness’ art, please click here.