x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Fanaaning the flame of local art

q&a The UK-born artist Julia Ibbini is the driving force behind Fanaan, an art collective in Abu Dhabi.

The artist Julia Ibinni poses for a portrait in front of her work at Abu Dhabi National Exhbition Center.
The artist Julia Ibinni poses for a portrait in front of her work at Abu Dhabi National Exhbition Center.

The UK-born artist Julia Ibbini is the driving force behind Fanaan, an art collective in Abu Dhabi. The name means artist in Arabic and the group was founded out of a desire to create an artistic community in the UAE's capital. Fanaan's artists will be showing their recent work at the Ghaf Gallery on Jan 11.

I'd seen some really good art in some of the few exhibitions that I'd seen around Abu Dhabi, but it can be quite lonely as an artist if you are working by yourself and it's great to get together, especially with really talented people. It can be so hard to learn new things, even the basic practical things like framing and printing. Sharing that experience with other artists really helps and I think that is what brought us together. I had been thinking about the idea of just getting people together for quite a while because Abu Dhabi isn't as developed as other places in terms of an art scene.

I am a free-form digital artist, which means I am working with mixed media to start with but it ends up as digital art at the end. I've been doing digital art for the last five years. I was always very into painting, but found I could do a lot more by layering it up on a computer so that's how I ended up doing digital art. I take photographs of a lot of things to build up my work.

I am quite inspired by the different colours and textures around me and sometimes I have a wander around the backstreets here. But most of the time I tend to go to the islands around Abu Dhabi or I go towards the mountains for my pictures and for inspirations. Whether it's in Abu Dhabi or the northern emirates, the area in general is very inspirational for me. I see a lot of vibrancy here.

Within the group there are quite a lot of mediums and approaches. I would say we are very varied. We come together out of a common need to share ideas and experiences. We are very diverse in where we sell and how we sell, but I think that's quite nice.

The Ghaf Gallery is where we've started, and it's nice to think that hopefully one day we can get a lot of hotels involved in the project. We've decided to work on a project together to develop new work around a central theme - I can't give you the theme yet .
Fanaan Artists: Emily Gordon, Elwin Buchel, Julia Ibbini, Janine Ibbini, Linda Stephanian, Judy Roberts, Chritch, Neena Rai, Tania Beaumont and Courtney Radl Perrocco will be on show at Ghaf Art Gallery, Abu Dhabi, 02 665 5332, Jan 18 - 29. @email:www.ghafgallery.com

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