Last week, Funoon, the art & culture division of Dubai Ladies Club, which is a member of Dubai Women Establishment, hosted its sixth ‘Art Conversation’ session, which featured Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, the first female Digital Artist from the UAE. Al Suwaidi talked about the ideas and motivations behind her individual studio practice as well as shed light on the rise of a new art medium - digital media. The open discussion was well attended by distinguished members of the local and international art community including Khalil Abdulwahid, Visual Arts Manager at Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and Jalal Luqman, an acclaimed Emirati Digital Artist as well as key members from the local and international art community which included artists, art collectors, art critiques and students. Admission to the event was free for men and women.
On the occasion, Sarah Ayoub Agha, Funoon Supervisor at Dubai Ladies Club commented, "With each monthly event, Art Conversations has consistently shown growth with new guests joining in the discussions and effectively using these events as informal forums for dialogue on topics of art and culture."
She added, “This was It was especially true during October’s talk featuring Sumayyah Al Suwaidi. Digital Art can still be considered a relatively new art form, not only in our region but in the whole world. Therefore our intention in hosting this event with Sumayyah Al Suwaidi was to educate the audiences about what digital art is as well as present, in detail, the processes and fine art techniques applied in the creation of a digital artwork.”
The discussion began with an overview of Al Suwaidi’s recent pieces detailing her artistic process and the techniques she applies in creating the piece. Each image was followed by several questions from the audience who wanted to understand the resources available to digital artists, from art software to printing mediums. It was interesting to see audiences grasping concepts such as vectors, pixel resolutions, virtual art brushes, and the application of a tablet and stylus pen in reference to creating art.
Hailed as the first female Emirati digital artist, Sumayyah Al Suwaidi started her artistic journey back in 2001 with a series of digital paintings inspired by the late sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Her first exhibition was in 2003 and she never looked back. Since then she has been part of numerous exhibitions around the UAE and abroad, she was also commissioned by many entities such as Burj Khalifa and UAE’s Embassy in Washington DC. In 2007 Sumayyah established a career for herself as a curator and went on to curate many shows such as the annual “Ramadan Art Bazaar” which many people eagerly await for every year. As a curator Sumayyah believes in sustaining the art scene in the UAE and nourishing it by supporting other artists, emerging and professionals and by bringing art closer to the community. She also was a judge and a panelist in various art competitions and exhibitions such as Watani’s art competition for UAE’s national day 2009 and Tashkeel’s Emirati exhibition part of Shanghai Expo’s UAE pavilion 2010.
Sumayyah Al Suwaidi is also a successful business woman, as she owns one of the most famous multi brand stores in Abu Dhabi “Grafika”. She uses her boutique to support established and emerging fashion designers by providing space for them to showcase and sell their creations to the UAE market and the world through Grafika’s online page. She was invited to judge the Emirati designer of the year competition by Fashion Expo Arabia in 2009 and Preston University’s fashion designer of the year 2009. Sumayyah’s fashion sense made her want to be involved in the fashion industry but not only as a boutique owner but also as a fashion designer. Sumayyah launched her fashion label in Feb 2010, “س” is the title of her band which is pronounced SEEN in English and is the letter S in Arabic. Limited edition abayas and one of a kind dresses, no dress is made twice because she believes every woman deserves to be unique.
Sumayyah Al Suwaidi is a multi talented soul with passion for creativity and life. Her dedication and motivation are contagious as she seamlessly combines her multifaceted personality with drive and a magical smile, and for that she was chosen as one of the HOT 100 people in the UAE for the year 2011 by Ahlan! ITP, one of the 6 brand ambassadors for Olay Arabia and finally nominated for the Emirates Woman Achiever’s Award 2011 by Emirates Woman Magazine.
‘Art Conversations’ is a monthly series of open discussions on art facilitated by leading luminary art experts from the local and international art scene. The series are being organised by Funoon, the art & culture division of Dubai Ladies Club, to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and expertise related to the art, culture and education. The topics will focus on assisting emerging artists to further develop and improve their creative and conceptual thinking, art critique, art appreciation and Aesthetics.
Tuesday, 1 November, 2011
Ramin Salsali – Art Collector
Iranian Art Collector, Ramin Salsali’s private collection consists of over 400 pieces in a variety of mediums with a focus on Iranian, Emirati & Arab artists. He was recognized at Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts award in 2010 and 2011. In November 2011, Salsali will open the first private museum in Dubai to display his private collection as well as host other collectors from the region. Salsali will speak about his new initiative which is set to become the first non-profit support and advisory centre for all collectors in the region.
Tuesday, 6 December, 2011
Khalil Abdulwahid – Video & Acrylic Artist; Visual Arts Manager at Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Emirati Artist, Khalil Abdulwahid began his foray into the art world in 1990 at Al Marsam Al Hur when he studied under Hassan Sharif, quickly evolving into one of the most promising and respected young Emirati artists from that decade. His artistic talents have been widely acclaimed both on the local front and internationally with his works exhibited in across the UAE, GCC & Arab world and internationally in Holland, France Germany and Korea. He is currently part of a “Roaming Images” exhibition in Greece. He is also the Visual Arts Manager at Dubai Culture & Arts Authority as well as a member of the Emirate Fine Art Society.
‘Conversations’ is one of several new art initiatives launched by Funoon – the art division of Dubai Ladies Club in 2011. The newly reinvented art division was established to guide and solidify the role that arts and other cultural resources play in defining and enhancing the social fabric and quality of life of people living in the UAE. Funoon with work local, regional and international foundations to enhance the UAE’s reputation as a cultural destination through programs that educate and expose the public to a rich and diverse range of cultural expressions through a variety of initiatives.