Saudi artist, Ghada Al Muhammedi tells her version of the history of Arabic culture and architecture by expressing its rich symbolism through her art. Inspired by old Masters such as Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne, her paintings exude an essence of romance and poetry relating to the unique journeys of the modern Arabian woman. Ghada has exhibited across Saudi Arabia and participated in many collective exhibitions across the Middle East and Europe.
We talk to Ghada about oil painting as a technique, how her faith influences her practice and how her work connects to mythology.
Your work is inspired by the pioneers of impressionism such as Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, what drew you to these styles?
Since childhood, I have been drawn to the strong brush strokes and mesmerizing, joyful bright colours of these wonderful artists.
Your oil paintings tell your vision of the history of Arab culture and architecture through rich symbolism. Can you tell us more about the concepts behind your work?
I love architecture and adore the stories of Sinbad and the palaces of the sultans in his stories, which I would hear so often as a child. Architecture is the other side of man and home means a lot to me. The idea of home tells so many stories and is filled with so many feelings and memories.
How has your identity and faith influenced your work?
My connection with God and my upbringing in a school for memorizing the Quran influenced my work so that it became spiritual. I focus on the color palate blue, white and black in addition to painting mosques.
Can you tell us about the connection between humans, history and mythology?
In mythical stories the hero is always the hero. Myths document customs or traditions and explain natural phenomena, so myth and humans reflect time and place.
The image of a woman and femininity are key themes in your work, can you tell us more?
The women in my work are imagined and inspired b my Arab heritage and identity, and paint women from Arab and Islamic history. In addition to the Wonderland series, I imagine myself and the Lady of Hearts and other women in Wonderland.
How do you let loose on the canvas? Where do you find inspiration for your colours?
The canvas is my empire and my imagination has no limits. My colours are inspired by my visual memory. From the night sky, sea shells, clothes, fabrics, embroidery and the sea.
What is the impression you want to leave with your audience through your art?
I aspire to leave a cheerful, bright and charming impression. I want the receiver to feel they are immersed and live in the fairytale and wonderland of my work.
Tell us about your future hopes and aspirations as an artist?
I have worked as an artist for the last 12 years, and I still have another 12 years to explore my creativity. I hope to write my autobiography in the form of an art book that contains paintings and wonderland stories.
What does the future of Islamic art look like to you?
I believe Islamic art is growing with a strong contemporary style. My art is a style that sits within the miniature tradition and is contributing to our future perceptions of Islamic art. I believe Islamic art will receive more attention in the coming years.
For more information check out https://www.instagram.com/ghadahalmuhammedi/?hl=en
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