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The Art of Letters, Zahra Gulraiz

Bahrain Confidential shares a conversation with Dubai-based artist, Zahra Gulraiz.

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What motivates you to get up in the morning?

Motivation is key. The feeling of staring at a fresh canvas in the morning motivates me. There is so much in the world we cannot control, the feeling of having something you can create and call your own is amazing. I think motivation and inspiration go hand in hand in my case. For example, I could go outside and get inspired by an outfit I see; the colour combination, the flow, the whole look. Ideas motivate me. My surroundings motivate me. Inspiration motivates me.

Which artwork do you most identify yourself with?

Oh, all my paintings are my babies! I relate to all of them, but more so with the colourful ones as it shows a sense of fun and a bit of quirk. If I had to choose one that shows my character the most it would probably be the one that says “you make me go wow”. That piece was super fun to create! I love being able to create pieces that could generate smiles. 

“For me art is a release. I love being surrounded by paint and colours. It’s a time where I can concentrate on myself internally as well as externally through my artwork.”

What does art mean to you?

For me art is a release. I love being surrounded by paint and colours. It’s a time where I can concentrate on myself internally as well as externally through my artwork.

Some of your artworks were seen as thought-provoking, what do you aim to communicate through your art?

I usually have a meaningful verse or a quote which I like to portray in my artwork. For example, one of my artworks features the verse from the Quran: “Verily after every hardship comes relief”. I made the canvas with bright and bold colours which lifts the viewers’ spirits even before deciphering the translation of the words. I love when people try to find the meaning behind my paintings, even if they can’t read or understand the Arabic language. I want people to try to pick up the vibes of the artwork through the colours and shapes and see what they interpret from it.

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How do you know when an artwork is finished?

Since I specialize in Arabic Typography, I have a good sense of when my paintings are coming to an end. My work consists of bold lines and shapes, so near the finish line, it’s a matter of perfecting the angles of each line using a thick black outline.

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