Watch: Dubai-based Egyptian artist highlights women’s issues in her works

Dubai: From the use of tissue paper to nail polish and tea bags, Dubai-based artist Samar Kamel has her own unique ways of getting a message across to the wider community.

The Egyptian artist who moved to Dubai with her husband 30 years ago is an author with two published works and curator of World Art Dubai (WAD). She said she was enjoying a cup of tea in her studio when she came up with the idea of ​​using tea bags for her paintings.

“The tea bag was torn. I kept it in the sun and was fascinated by the color. After it dried I used it on my canvas and loved the effect. I discovered it by chance,” Kamel . told Gulf News in her studio. She believes that all artists like to use whatever they can on their artworks to express themselves or get a message across to the rest of the world.

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A painting by Samar Kamel.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“I like to use mixed media in my work, so I use fabric, newspaper, nail polish, tissue paper and even tea bags, which have now become my signature technique,” ​​she said.

As an author, Kamel is known for works that explore cultural attitudes toward women and seek to transform stereotypes through vivid depictions of the modern woman. She grew up painting and coloring as her late father was an artist.

“I chose to study literature and not art because I have loved writing since I was a child. I remember when I used to write stories and draw the scenes and make mini books out of them. When I remember those memories now, it seems like my childhood was an extension of my current life,” Kamel added.

She used her talent as an instrument to draw attention to social issues that need to be addressed. She was nominated for the Emirates Women for Arts and Culture Award. She believes she has been nominated for the award because she has organized charity auctions to raise money to help marginalized members of society and women jailed in Cairo for unpaid debts. “I am convinced that art itself is a message,” she said.

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Kamel sees women as layered characters and she always tries to dig into the core of their emotions and thoughts and portray them on canvas.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

World Art Dubai

World Art Dubai is the largest and most diverse international affordable art fair in the region. Kamel said the event last March was her fourth year as a curator.

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Artist Samar Kamel at work. She has particularly highlighted Arab women in her books and subtly depicted their struggles in her paintings.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“It brings many nationalities together, allowing them to communicate and learn about different types of arts and cultures. Without artistic boundaries, artists are free to introduce new perspectives,” she said. “World Art Dubai is the mirror of diversity in the region,” she said.

She added that over the past 15 years, the UAE has become the Gulf’s ‘Art Hub’, which is a great example of the country’s support for art and artists. No wonder many artists in the UAE have been recognized with the Golden Visa. “With many artists deciding to make the UAE their home, the UAE started to shine as a beacon of art. Art in the emirates has been transformed from local to global,” she added.

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According to Samar Kamel, over the past 15 years the UAE has become the ‘Art Hub’ in the Gulf.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Why are women central to Kamel’s creations?

Kamel sees women as layered characters and she always tries to dig into the core of their emotions and thoughts and portray them on canvas. “Women’s issues are just as important as economic or political issues. If as an artist I witness a problem in my society that needs to be highlighted, why not address it,” she said. “Women in my books and paintings are not second-class citizens. Even though I paint the struggles and challenges that oriental women face, they are still portrayed as a reflection of their strengths,” Kamel explained. She has highlighted Arab women in her books, subtly portraying their struggles. paintings displayed.

The rich repertoire of Samar Kamel

With more than 70 international art exhibitions and art fairs around the world, Kamel has exhibited her works in China, Oxford, Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Tokyo, Egypt, the United States, Italy, Brazil, Belgium and the entire UAE.

After earning her curatorial certification from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Kamel was assigned the role of curator of World Art Dubai in 2019.

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