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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

My UAE: Drawing inspiration from Anood Al Obaidly

The 25-year-old has her own art studio at home, and since graduating from the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, where she earned a degree in visual arts, has had her work exhibited at the Tashkeel gallery in Dubai.
Anood Al Obaidly’s art takes influence from various areas of Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National
Anood Al Obaidly’s art takes influence from various areas of Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National

Anood Al Obaidly has ­always been interested in art and viewing it, but it was only three years ago that she started dabbling herself.

“I think creativity is not only based on making art or being an artist, but also on observing the arts around us and noticing it,” the 25-year-old says.

Al Obaidly has her own art studio at home, and since graduating from the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, where she earned a degree in visual arts, has had her work exhibited at the Tashkeel gallery in Dubai.

Last year she was awarded the Shaikha Salama Artist in Residence Award, which gave her the opportunity to work for a year as an artist in residence with a visiting faculty from Rhode Island School of Design.

“To me, making art is an ­experimental process. Each piece of work is a result of a process that we should be proud of,” Al Obaidly says. “It’s a journey that keeps moving forward.”

For the Abu Dhabi-based ­artist, inspiration for her works – which are generally achieved using mixed-media collage, paint, installation, “found” materials, and photography – is found ­anywhere and everywhere.

“I explore surrounding indoor and outdoor spaces. Photography is my research study tool. I use photographs to study colour and space. Recently I’ve photographed spaces at Al Falah, Saadiyat and Al Bahia,” she says, adding that these areas are ideal because they are open with farms, villages, buildings and sea views.

Al Obaidly also tries to visit as many local events as she can and says she finds a lot of support here. “The Emirati community is supportive of the arts, and art education is developing here.” she says. “This has helped the art scene to be unique and to lead worldwide exhibitions.”

While enjoying her art as a form of expression, Al Obaidly aspires to develop her skills and become involved in art education, especially, she says, in art research.

What’s your favourite book and why?

I read a lot from classical writers such as Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway. Books to me are either classical or educational references.

What words best describe you?

Art, sketch book, journal, paper, pencil.

What music are you currently listening to?

I only own a radio to listen to opera classics – I like the music of Pavarotti.

Where do you enjoy going in Abu Dhabi?

I like to go to areas that include nature, such as Saadiyat and Al Bahia.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Any destination that includes nature and wide spaces. Even my own garden is enough of a holiday destination for me. We do not need to travel so far away to look for a moment of peace.

Who inspires you the most?

My mother, Layla. I see her as an art supporter and artistic soul. She lives and shares my art journey and challenges with me.

What’s your favourite film?

I rarely watch general movies. I am more into biography and documentary films that discuss certain subjects, such as the movies of Joseph Beuys.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I do not wish for any superpowers. Making art is a power to be thankful for.

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

Everything I experience is an achievement. I do not think about how it’s big or small, I just live it.

mhealy@thenational.ae