Emirati sisters Afra and Sheikha Bin Dhaher designed an exclusive collection for Iwan Maktabi: “Taghrouda”

Made up of one wall hanging and two floor carpets

Focusing on the common histories, landscapes and cultural elements of the Gulf region, the Taghrouda collection is inspired by the chanted Bedouin poetry that is traditionally composed and recited while traveling through the deserts. The captivating chant not only entertains the riders but also, encourages their animals to travel in synchronicity.

The designs were created in an antiphonal and improvisational manner, the way poetry is constructed; where one starts with a poetry "line", prompting the other to respond with a "line". Likewise, the process of the collection was developed with one designer responding to the other designer’s strokes, composing a new visual melody.

The Bin Dhaher’s pieces are Titled: Verse 1, Verse 2 and Verse 3.

The abstract compositions symbolize the natural landscapes, movements, and migratory paths of the people within it, a borderless Gulf, all chanting a unique song that shares at its core, an intertwined past and cultural heritage. The motifs and lines are reminiscent of abstract petroglyphs; yet they are not meant to be deciphered but are rather left open to interpretation. The thick bold lines represent the traveling sound waves and voices of the taghrouda singers as they move across the lands.

“We moved where the wind blew us, where we found sources of life, where opportunity called, and like the sands, we spread, became integrated within our societies and flourished.” Goes one taghrouda.



Emirati designers Sheikha & Afra Bin Dhaher both hold a BSc degree in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah. After graduation, Sheikha pursued her MA degree in Communication Design from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London and founded, Abjad Design, an interdisciplinary studio based in Dubai. Afra went on to continue her diverse art and design practice and had her first solo show, Hymns to a Sleeper in 2016.


The Bin Dhaher sisters have exhibited locally and internationally and continue to engage in the art and design scene. Their most recent collaboration was on the Safari-Barari collection for MENASA: Emirati Design Platform at Expo 2020 Dubai. Their varied practice blurs the boundaries between art and design. The spirit of the artists’ work is rooted in creating narratives taking audiences through meaningful realms of the human psyche and imagination. Subtle elements of play and visual poetry characterize their work.