Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 March 2018

Create & Inspire: Nasser Al Zayani

Nasser Al Zayani during the Create & Inspire trip to Brazil, September 2014. (Photo by Sharon Eve Smith @sharoneve)
Nasser Al Zayani during the Create & Inspire trip to Brazil, September 2014. (Photo by Sharon Eve Smith @sharoneve)

Today we continue our series following the winners of the annual Create & Inspire competition, organised by The Crossway Foundation, in partnership with Art Jameel and Qatar Museums. The 12 winners of the contest, from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom were selected for their original and imaginative responses to this year’s competition theme: “The World is not Black & White”.

They travelled to Brazil last week for a creative adventure and The Art Blog is featuring interviews with them whilst they are away.

Here, Nasser Mohamed Alzayani, 23, a Bahraini/American who is studying architecture at the American University of Sharjah, shares his beautiful drawings and his thoughts.

Q: How would you describe your style as an artist?

A: I think the best word to describe my artistic style is observational; the way I work has a lot to do with seeing. Inspiration comes from my surroundings, and I am directly affected by my immediate environment. This happens through exploration of new places, people, art, architecture and even food. Most of the time I do not go looking for a particular subject. When I am in a specific place, or when I find something or someone interesting, I just know that it is worth recording – something I want to remember.

Q: What is your main source of inspiration?

A: Traveling is, by far, the most beneficial factor in my work. Not only does it offer me new places and subjects to draw and include in my sketchbooks, but it also allows me a platform to evolve. I have traveled to Italy over the past three summers, and each time, my drawings have changed. My drawing style has changed and so has the way I compose the pages of my sketchbook. The things I choose to draw have also changed, and this depends greatly on the places I visit. It is not so much about the specific things I see that inspire me, but the collection of things offered by new places that guide me to draw, and to change.

Q: What do you hope to gain from the Create & Inspire programme?

A: The most beneficial opportunity I see in the Create & Inspire programme is the chance to interact with a group of individuals who are at a similar part of their career as artists. Of course, going to a wonderful country like Brazil and witnessing such a variety if cultures, art, and architecture is an unforgettable experience; however, sharing this experience with young artists fosters a different kind of conversation, and one that I would not be exposed to were I traveling on my own like I usually do.

Q: How is the trip to Brazil?

A: So far the trip has exceeded all my expectations: the art has been inspirational, the food has been delicious, and the people have been extremely gracious. I have been very productive, and I can only see that as a result of the good vibes within the group. I started with two sketchbooks, and I am already halfway through both of them!

* Follow Nasser on Twitter and Instagram on @nmzayani