JOURNEY TO THE MIDDLE EAST

A light in the Dark. Mixed media on canvas. 90 x 120 cms $ 6,000

These artworks are the result of my residence period in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE. I have been particularly inspired by the relationship the Emirati people have with their past and future. Even as they look to the future with hope, aspiration, and ambition, they preserve their traditions with respect and reverence. I believe the most significant asset a country has its people, I have had the opportunity to meet so many unforgettable characters, such as Inocenta “The Milk Mother.” I have come to admire their journeys and, in turn, have been inspired to share their story through my artworks. Most importantly, I have come to call these people friends.

I visited the Khawatir desert tribe and was generously trained in the art of falconry with ambassadors from Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Panama. I took long walks along the Cornish, visiting the local cafes and restaurants, immersing myself in the day-to-day life of Ras Al Khaimah. I enjoyed the beautiful beaches of Al Marjan Island and had the chance to meet Kamel-Ushi, a German lady that lives in the middle of the desert with her camels. My most daring adventure was riding the longest zip line in the world on Jebel Jais mountains, a significant victory for me considering my fear of heights. I had numerous new experiences that made me question my worldview, but each one encouraged me to grow in my art and as a person, and I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life.

Art plays an essential role in societal development because it helps shape its identity and vision. As artists, we reflect on the brief moment in which we live, looking for ways to encapsulate the emotions and feelings of what it was like to live in this time. We are storytellers with unique, authentic voices, each with a critical role in providing the whole story. Artists need to ask themselves questions about why we do what we do, what makes our work valuable, why it matters, what message we want to tell with our work, and what makes us different from other artists doing the same subject or technique.

Inocenta Sanchez Ewart moved to Dubai in 1984. For her PhD in anthropology, Ino lived with the Khawatir desert tribe upon the invitation of Sheikh Sultan Bin Ali Khatri. When it came time to leave, the Sheikh’s wife, Umm Ahmad, suggested the families bond with mother’s milk, a substance as strong as blood. Ino breastfed the sheikha’s daughter Shamma, and the sheikha breastfeed Ino’s son Edward for one month. The children were then considered blood siblings, a kinship extending to other siblings. The relationship between families as only become stronger with time.

Burqa. Mixed media on canvas. 90 x 120 cms $ 5,800
Photo ref. courtesy of @Donell Gumiran

A burqa is a traditional garment worn by women in the Middle East. There are different kinds: hijab, niqab, burqa, and chador. Veiled clothing it’s a pre-Islamic tradition; even do it’s controversial and ban in some countries, it’s a symbol of a well-preserved Middle Eastern culture.

Hope has feathers. Oil on canvas 60 x 91 cms N/S

Inspired by Emily Dickinson poem and the love of falcons by the Emirati culture. A symbol of force and courage.

Present Moment. Mixed media on canvas. 90 x 120 cms. $ 7,000
Photo ref. courtesy of @ Donell Gumiran

” Let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing” Kahlil Gibran.

One of the things I admired the most about the Emirati culture is their vision for the future and their love for traditions.

My philosophy of life is to be present, looking at the past with gratitude for its lessons and to the future with Hope for what its’ yet to come.

Girl from Bahrain. Mixed media on canvas. 80 x100 cms. $ 4,800

Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a country in the Persian Gulf. The island nation comprises a small archipelago made up of 50 natural islands and an additional 33 artificial islands. It’s the site of the ancient Dilmun civilization. It has been famed since antiquity for its pearl fisheries.

Father and son. Mixed media on canvas. 70 x 100 cms. $ 4,000

Window to the Soul. Mixed media on canvas. 80 x 120 cms $ 6,500
Photo ref. courtesy of @Donell Gumiran

It’s no secret the Middle East has long been regarded as the birthplace for some of the world’s most beautiful women.
People often call eyes the windows to the soul. But what exactly do we see when we gaze into the eyes of another person? In fact, the eyes do provide lots of information about another person’s emotional state.

Salem. Mixed media on canvas. 80 x 120 cms. $ 5,500

Salem is a member of the Khawatir tribe. There are 44 different tribes in the UAE, they were mostly settled in towns or in pastoral communities, although the Khawatir were Bedouins; I felt very honor to have the opportunity to meet them, the numbers of Emirati population have diminish and the large population of expats can be a treat to the traditions and national identity loss.

Holi. Mixed media on canvas. 70 x 100 cms. $ 4,500

Holi, the Indian festival of love and colors. This is a very special piece because I wanted to highlight the diversity of the people of the UAE. There are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the UAE. The expatriate community outnumbers the population of UAE nationals. Indians form the largest foreign community, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Filipinos and Egyptians.

Wadi. Mixed media on canvas. 70 x 100 cms. N/S

A Wadi is a valley located on gently sloping, nearly flat parts of desert. Wadis tend to be associated with centers of human population because subsurface water is sometimes available in them.