Petra Kaltenbach is a fine artist, video artist, graphic designer and curator. Born in Duisburg, Germany in 1962, Petra be-gan her career as a graphic designer and held the position as managing director and partner of an advertising agency in Germany from 1991 – 2002.

Petra moved to Dubai in 2004, where she witnessed rapid and unprecedented growth in the urban environment around her. Later, in 2015, she dedicated herself full time to her art. With her background in graphic design, she transitioned into paint-ing and video art often intertwining her paintings with embedded technology such as QR codes. More recently, Petra has be-gun to make NFTs (non-fungible tokens) of her art.

In 2016, Petra was shortlisted by the International Emerging Artist Award – IEAA in 2016 and in 2018, her video art was accepted to be shown on the façade of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. That same year, she was awarded the title of best UAE-resident artist at World Art Dubai. She was also sponsored by Canon, who gave her a year-long sponsorship due to her work with their printing technology. The art-ist continues to collaborate with Canon on special projects by incorporating their UV-printing technology into her paintings. Since 2019, Petra has been part of the curatorial team at World Art Dubai, one of the biggest art fairs in the Middle East.

Petra Kaltenbach is a deep thinker and, as an artist, she paints from a place of consciousness. She is very perceptive and relies on her intuition to communicate via her artwork. Her influences marry a connection with nature and landscape with an interest in the unseen; ultimately, she aims to convey the human condition in her art.

Perhaps inspired by her move to Dubai in 2004, where she witnessed rapid and continuous change in the city around her, Petra became fascinated by the theme of transformation. More specifically, she is interested in the innate powers of transformation that allow humans to step out of restricted psychological conditioning and mental structures into freedom, expansiveness and peace. She is also captivated by how we exist in today’s hyper-connected world.
“In our over-digitalised world, in which there no longer appears to be any certainties, we humans are increasingly developing the need for the real, for structures and also for limits. We seek security, contact, and predictability. We seek roots and that’s why I use so many structures and patterns in my art,” she says.

Petra uses the pomegranate as a symbol of transformation. This divine fruit, for her, is a symbol that unites the East and the West, and it represents transformative properties such as love, beauty, health, and wealth. Petra depicts the pomegranate as a token of hope and promise, full of life as well as myths and legends. It captures her spirit, her love of nature and conveys a message of optimism with positive energy to her viewers.

Crucially, transformation in many aspects appears throughout her work. She is intrigued by new media and has integrated technology into her work such as QR codes linked to corresponding video art thus transforming a two-dimensional work into a 3D piece. She has also expanded from the canvas to working upon mirrored stainless-steel sheets that offer an extra layer of reflection as well as working to transforming the place of perspective for her viewers. More recently she started to use Augmented Reality to combine her physical art-works with her videos. Petra will launch them as a NFT-series called NFT_LOVE LETTERS – these are visual love poems.

The idea of transformation also led her to explore UV printing technology combined with painting. She began experimenting with the Canon UV printer, named Arizona in 2015. It is a large, three x two metre flatbed printer which uses ink that is then hardened with UV-light. Petra creates digital files and prints them on acrylic paintings, thus merging old with new. She enjoys working with bright col-ours, to convey positivity and also to bring dimensionality into her work with thickly applied paint or printing technology. Most of Petra’s works are now a mixture of acrylic painting and digital creations.
She has also expanded from the simple canvas to working upon mirrored stainless-steel sheets that offer an extra layer of reflection for her audiences. Some of her paintings are digital and printed onto the metal and other parts are painted with acrylics – mixing new and old media. She has also worked with the fashion label ‘ROXX-Fashion’ to create wearable art in a fusion project titled ‘The Couture of Art’.

  • 2015
    • development of her QR-Art
    • Full-time artist
  • 2016
    • Shortlisted for the IEAA Award
    • Shortlisted video for Burj Khalifa facade
    • Shortlisted for the World Art Dubai Award
    • Canon Sponsorship for 1 year
  • 2018
    • Finalist for Burj Khalifa facade
    • Finalist of the World Art Dubai Award: Best UAE-Resident Artist
    • Sponsored by the German Embassy
  • 2019
    • Curator of World Art Dubai – till present
    • Co-Creating a fashion line with the label ROXX Fashion
    • Sponsored by the German Consulate General
  • 2021
    • Awarded with the 10y Cultural / Golden Visa by Dubai Arts and Culture Authority
    • First NFT launched with MORROW Collective
  • 2022
    • Art Dubai Digital
    • Winner Web3 Decode Award from Gulf News for the ‘Best Emerging NFT Artist’
    • German Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned a big project to Petra: WE_50 years diplomatic relationship between Germany and the UAE honoured through art
  • 2023
    • Biggest digital art festival: BoulevART, Art in Space Gallery
    • Exhibition of the German/UAE WE-project on the VIP event of Art Dubai
    • World Art Dubai_curation, solo exhibition and curation of ROVE Emerging Artist Prize