Shahad Nazer’s work is the kind that makes you stop, take notice and reflect. Her digital collage artworks contemplate social messages, highlight feminist issues, and raise ideas that concern the youth, particularly young women.
Deal With it, Shahad Nazr
The Saudi/Egyptian collage artist has been exhibited in Pop Arte in Belgium, Art Dubai with Daftar Asfar, and Abu Dhabi’s Festember. She has also donated some of her artworks to the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Forced, Shahad Nazr
We talk to Shahad about her journey as an artist, how storytelling is integral to her work and using her art for social good.
When did you first start practicing as an artist?
I started drawing ever since I was 10 years old, I started with pencil sketching for a really long time, then moved to digital art when I got into college.
Socks, Shahad Nazr
You grew up in Jeddah with parents who are also fellow artists, how did your background nurture your passion for art, and what was it like growing up in a creative household?
Growing up in a creative household was super inspiring and motivating. My Dad was a pencil sketcher and mum was a pencil sketcher and oil painter. So, that drove me to want to try different types of art. I tried watercolouring, oil painting, charcoal drawing, and eventually experimented with digital art because it's the future after all.
Halal, Shahad Nazr
Your work reflects your identity, heritage and culture, why is this important to you?
I think it's important to include bits and pieces of your identity and background into the art you do. This way people will get a glimpse of who you are as an artist and what you stand for.
Don't need you, Shahad Nazr
You are known for creating digital pieces that bring together stunning visual universes, can you tell us more about your creative process?
I think my creative process starts with an idea; a concept that I have in my head that I want to translate into an artwork. Being a collage artist, I have to find different elements and pieces that I can piece together that can create that idea I had in mind. Exactly like a puzzle, but a puzzle comes with instructions, collage art has no instructions and no limits to creativity.
Dreams, Shahad Nazr
How do you find inspiration to create your collages?
I find inspiration from my dreams sometimes, or from my everyday life, the society we live in, or societal issues that we face in the Arab world/or in the world in general. I like to tackle sensitive issues that would create an impact because I feel like someone with a public platform, that's the least I can do to try and make a change.
Women are from Venus, Shahad Nazr
Storytelling is an integral part of your practice and each of your artworks has different elements that come together to deliver a compelling final visual story. What do you hope to convey to your audiences through storytelling, and what stories do you share through your works?
If my message isn't clear, I sometimes like to allow the audience to create their own story with the visual I posted. And sometimes I think it's necessary to add an explanation to the art I came up with, especially if it has an important message.
Men Don't Cry, Shahad Nazr
Your artworks have been featured in spaces around the world, including galleries in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Turkey, Belgium, and London. What has been the most memorable moment of your career to date?
I think my most memorable moment would be working with big brands/magazines like Vogue Arabia, Nike and Adidas. Never would I have thought I'd collaborate with such brands, it was a dream come true.
Adidas, Shahad Nazr
You have also participated at a charity auction in the United States, where the funds that were raised were put towards helping refugees. What was this experience like and why was it important for you to be a part of this?
Who wouldn't want to be part of such humane and heartfelt event? I'm so glad they approached me for this, I think the idea behind it was beautiful, we need more events like this around the world. It made me feel like I did something great towards these refugees, and I couldn't be happier.
Humanity, Shahad Nazr
When you aren’t exhibiting your unique artworks, you work as a freelance commercial artist for a number of clients. You have collaborated with companies such as Adidas to mark Women's Day, and Dropkick x Nike for Airmax Day. Which collaboration are you most proud of and why?
I think the collaboration I'm most proud of was Adidas. Because it was about Women's day and most of my artworks are about empowering and supporting women, so this project has a special place in my heart.
What are you currently working on and what is your dream project?
Since I'm a full time employee at the moment, I haven't been taking a lot of freelance projects. I think it's important to take a break from work for my mental health and wellbeing. But there is a little project going on that I still can't say much about but I can't wait to announce it once it's done. It's also based in Dubai, that's all I can mention for now. My dream collaboration would be to work with big fashion brands like Gucci, because I've seen them work with artists before and that would be a huge deal for me.
Astro World, Shahad Nazr
What do you think the future of Islamic art looks like and how do you think we can we progress collectively?
I'm not sure specifically what Islamic art would look like in the future, but I think art in general is limitless, and can come in many different forms, shapes, and sizes.
For more information, follow Shahad Nazer on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/shahad.nazer/?hl=en
The views of the artists, authors and writers who contribute to Bayt Al Fann do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bayt Al Fann, its owners, employees and affiliates.