x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

The gift of giving

A profile of Hyam Al Meraikhi, an Emirati graphic designer and artist from Abu Dhabi.

Hyam Al Meraikhi, who is a graphic designer and artist, uses her work to spread positivity. Lee Hoagland / The National
Hyam Al Meraikhi, who is a graphic designer and artist, uses her work to spread positivity. Lee Hoagland / The National

On special occasions, expect a special gift from Hyam Al Meraikhi.

The 27-year-old graphic designer and artist spends a few weeks before official holidays creating and designing greeting cards that leave an impression on whoever receives them.

“I love to leave a positive feeling in people, so that later on, they pass on their positiveness to others,” says Al Meraikhi.

A touch of Arabic calligraphy, some Islamic geometric designs and an Emirati heritage-related icon or phrase are among the designs that the artist likes to add to her cards.

She works as a creative artist at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (Adnec), and founded an art group, Mizmah, composed of five Emirati artists who collaborate on art pieces and exhibitions.

“Mizmah is an old Emirati name that refers to a box or chest that holds and keeps precious and important objects,” says Al Meraikhi. “In our case, it is a chest of talents and creativity.”

In her family, the girls – three sisters – are the “creative” artsy ones, and her three brothers are the more “practical business” types.

“My family is a good mixture of talents,” she says.

The young artist is “in love” with type faces and likes to experiment with the different Arabic fonts.

“I am not a conventional person. I like change, and I like creativity. Whenever I need inspiration, I just open the Quran,” she says. “Besides the feeling of peace and inner happiness from reading the Quran, I love its fonts and script. I am in love with the Arabic calligraphy.”

When she is not creating artist work, Al Meraikhi is doing yoga, pilates, reiki and “all kinds of energy”-related therapies. She also believes in the power of colours.

“I like to coordinate my nail polish to my mood,” she smiles.

Favourite Arab singers?

Fairouz [pictured]. Mohammed Abdu. Abu Baker Salim. Fadel Shaker.

Favourite film?

I liked Sleeping with the Enemy. It is dramatic and the kind of characters I doubt I would meet in real life. I also liked Titanic. It is sentimental and beautifully shot.

Favourite past time?

I love to swim in the sea. I love its colour; it changes my mood. I recommend everyone just swim in the sea from time to time. It really helps with everything.

Favourite cartoon?

Tom and Jerry [pictured]. I still find it hilarious to watch, and poor Tom, he is the victim, I feel sorry for him. I also like Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Favourite perfume?

Narciso Rodriguez.

Favourite western singers?

Whitney Houston, I love her voice. And, of course, Michael Jackson. We all grew up on Michael.

Favourite designer?

I like all designers. I like to wear something from everyone, like the saying that goes: I take from every garden a flower.

Favourite dish?

Penne arrabiata. It is tasty. And I like Emirati cuisine, all its dishes.

Favourite shoes?

Adidas. They are comfortable and have a particular style.

Favourite motto?

Smile: my signature. To always smile.

Favourite books?

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny, written by Robin Sharma. I always recommend this book. It changed my life. It helped me understand how to control my emotions and organise my thoughts better and be an overall more positive person. It taught me techniques to better my life.

Favourite car?

Any four-wheel drive, like the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG.

Favourite actor?

Sylvester Stallone. I really liked him in Rambo. He was very manly, with sharp eyes. The second actor I like is George Clooney. Cute and classy-looking.

Favourite drink?

Lavender tea. It has amazing calming effects. I also enjoy drinking lemongrass tea.

Favourite hobbies?

Reading poems and books. I also like to visit different countries, like Japan. I want to visit Los Angeles. It is next on my list. I like to explore and discover new places all the time.


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