This 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.
” 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 the loved for their 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.