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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

German artist Katharina Moeller uses art as a language to share feelings and ideas

German artist Katharina Moeller, the founder of AD Arts Collective, explains how living in the UAE has helped to shape her as an artist.
German artist Katharina Moeller. Reem Mohammed / The National
German artist Katharina Moeller. Reem Mohammed / The National

A simple quirk of fate led the 34-year-old German artist Katharina Moeller to the UAE. The founding member of AD Arts Collective says she is grateful for the ways in which the country has inspired and contributed to her work – and even helped her heal.

How did you end up in the UAE?

Due to my husband’s work, we travel a lot, and it led us to the UAE in February 2013. It was like a rebirth for me. As an artist, I was influenced by this young and quickly evolving country, as well as its cultural and international diversity – and on a personal level, the hot climate helped me to finally recover from certain health issues.

What does art mean to you?

One could say I am a born artist – I think in pictures. Creating is just another language – call it my original mother tongue – to express my thoughts and feelings, and to tell stories and express ideas with my creations.

Why did you form AD Arts Collective?

AD Arts Collective started as a rescue mission for an almost failed art-show project in November 2014. I took over the main coordination work for one event, and since then, we have hosted several art festivals combining all kinds of visual and performance arts, as well as interactive workshops. The idea is not only to create exposure opportunities for fine artists, but also to connect creative minds in Abu Dhabi, to inspire each other and to establish a grass-roots art scene.

How do you describe your artistic style?

There certainly is a surrealistic and conceptual influence, but my work does not entirely fit into the usual art-style categories. My main focus is the meaning that I want to transport through my works.

Tell us about this meaning. Take one of your works, Selfie, as an example – what is your message there?

I drew Selfie as a self-portrait with watercolour pens on paper, and then exposed it to the UAE summer humidity instead of bleeding the colours with water as I would normally do. Giving the humidity, the opportunity to moisten the pigments also added a component of chance, because the environment controlled the outcome. This is symbolic because how we appear to others is also a result of how we shape ourselves, mixed with environmental influences. My inspiration for this piece was the excessive selfie trend. It is a statement about the need to recognise and respect a person’s depth of character in a society far too focused on surface appearances.

I like your use of tree-like roots in several works, including Social Network, Same Roots and Create Your Life.

A lot of my work is about connection and growing. Connections among people, growing as a character, growing together, and characters that complement each other. The root style is just a symbolic element to underline the meaning.

Would you say, then, that drawing connections is the general source of inspiration for your work?

The source of my inspiration is mainly looking into the human psyche, group dynamics and what’s happening around the world. I want to inspire with my art and [give impulses] to think about respect, tolerance, teamwork and responsibility in creating and shaping one’s life.

You also work with sand and resin.

The sand pieces are all part of my newest work. I mixed red desert sand – sometimes added to white beach sand – with an acrylic binding agent to create the texture. Acrylic paints are then mixed into the sand or added later on the relief. It has a symbolic component to me to use sand as a medium: the sand we are walking on, the sand we will become after death, and the sand as a symbol for our planet. Also, I’m very fascinated by the UAE, so I want to include a part of it in my works.

• For more information, visit www.arsnecopinata.de or www.facebook.com/arsnecopinata.de, and to arrange a personal visit to the artist’s studio in Al Reef, Abu Dhabi, email arsnecopinata@gmx.de

aseaman@thenational.ae