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Saudi artist reflects on pros and cons of the pandemic

Saudi artist reflects on pros and cons of the pandemic

May 29, 2020 10:18 AM
Saudi artist reflects on pros and cons of the pandemic

Saudi artist reflects on pros and cons of the pandemic

“Art is Art,” neither a pandemic nor technology will change the way Saudi painter Hadil Moufti views the craft. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak was her pause button that she felt she needed. Art is usually a solitary practice,” the Dubai-based artist told Arab News. “I personally appreciate having the time to think and reflect. I feel I needed that mental space, a pause. I find myself enjoying the added bonus of more time with my family and our dog, at home.” But, the lockdown situation has put on hold a number of projects she has been working on.

“I was working on a new project and had almost completed it. I was excited about showing my work at the annual fair Art Dubai with Hafez Gallery. I had projects, plans and ideas in mind. When Art Dubai was postponed and my art studio was temporarily closed, I was frustrated and disappointed at first, until I realized the extent of the pandemic,” she said. Maintaining an art practice is financially challenging at the best of times and, according to Moufti, “many artists suddenly find themselves with little or no income.”

Moufti’s multicultural upbringing is reflected in her work. Because the painter’s father was a diplomat, her family traveled and lived in multiple countries, like Africa, India, France and England. “We were therefore close as a family. We had to adapt to different schools, different lifestyles, and make new friends. Home was where we were living, and it remains so for me,” she said. And like others with similar lifestyles, Moufti did not feel she belonged to one nation, but to many. “This is very much reflected in my work. I even have a few pieces that include architectural elements from different eras and geographical places,” she added.

To most artists, the moment they hold their brush and start sweeping it smoothly on their canvas, it transports them to another creative world something Moufti can relate to. “When I hold my pencil or my scissors, I feel as if I am going into an exploration of an inner phantasmagorical world,” she said. I love the endless possibilities art brings,” she added. During self-isolation, Moufti has been working with the image of a gold African pendant of a hut and palm trees. “(It) was gifted to me by my mother, having been gifted to her by my late father when I was a toddler,” she said. “I would like people to look at my work and experience their own interpretation of it, like an instrumental song, without words. There is never one message. There are always many stories,” she said.


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