//Words: José Berrocoso//
“Having almost 100 shows and 4 solo exhibitions, and already had my works auctioned in international auction houses, achiving all that at the age of 32 is a blessing”
Born in 1988, Emirati artist and entrepreneur Maisoon Al Saleh is active in her practice both in Dubai and internationally. She graduated from Zayed University in 2010, with a degree in Interior Design. Al Saleh’s first solo show was at the Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, in Autumn 2010.
Al Saleh’s work has been exhibited in UAE at various exhibitions, including Art Dubai; Emirati Expression at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi; Macedonian Museum, Greece; Palazzo TE Museum, Italy; Centro Cultural CajaGRANADA Memoria de, Spain; and her work has also been included in many shows in the United States.
CP Magazine (CPM): For those who aren’t familiar with you, tell us a little about your artistic journey.
Maisoon Al Saleh: I come from an artistic family, my aunt is a fine artist, my dad is into photography and my mom into fashion. I’ve always been caring my crayons and coloring book with me anywhere I go even travels when I was a kid. After graduating from high school I did a general medical checkup as it was part of the requirements before joining university and one of It was my x-ray. As the doctor placed it on the light box I got inspired, it was my own skeleton exposing the inner beauty rather than the outer surface and took off with the first series called The Bright Side of the Bones
Highlighting on how we are all the same regardless of our gender, nationality or age we all are the same, skeletons in the end.
The second series was titled The Dara Chronicles based on a Dara boat got sunk and my grandfather was one of the survivors, as I heard is story while sitting beside him in the living room I’ve decided to get my scuba diving license and create some artworks underwater inspired by his story. I started by experimenting with the materials to make sure I can use it underwater, I began in a tub filled with water in my bathroom and kept trying various mixtures of mediums until I got it right. Then I took it underwater to create part of the works. The materials are waterproof, heat proof and against UV light.
Third series was based on my travel in China titled DXB to PEK as I’ve been traveling from one place to another during 30 days and each day was a faceless portrait of my in one of the day’s of my journey there.
Fourth series was called The 3 Phase signal tells a story of tolerance and human connection through the symbolic use of sine waves. The artist disrupts the classical portrait composition by leaving her subjects’ faces blank, or replacing them with colorful visual effects. In some pieces, the background of the image, along with any further indication of location or cultural attributes is erased by the so-called monoscope, or television test pattern. This ubiquitous motif is not only a quasi visual representation of the sine wave, but also an universal and internationally recognizable point of reference, known to all of us around the world. The people portrayed here are only characterized by their traditional or religious attire, while their human features are transformed into blank color fields, essentially derived from the monoscope itself. As the combination of the various sine waves creates a harmonic bond, the artists seeks to emphasize the importance of deepening the connection between different nationalities and religions. Just like the colorful, ever changing, yet always familiar visual representation of the sine waves, our humanity behind all our cultural differences will always connect us.
This series is currently exhibited in Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi as my 4th solo exhibition.
CP: Your practice ranges from paintings to prints, to sculptures. What medium do you find yourself most comfortable with and why?
M: I’m able to use any medium due to my engineering background.
CP: As a multidisciplinary artist, do you find it difficult to streamline your artistic process? Or have you found a routine that makes it easier?
M: I just express how I feel in a point of time, it became so natural to me that I’m never out of ideas to create just limited with time by having so much things I’d want to do and so little time!
CP: Do you have any rituals that spark your creativity?
CP: Share some of the challenges you face as an artist?
M: I can’t recall something as the government in UAE had been very supportive as well as the private sector to keep growing further in my artistic career.
CP: Is there a particular artist who inspires you, or whose work you’re excited about?
M: Each artist is unique in its own way, I liked the work of Cai Guo-Qiang using gun powder to create his artwork and one of my favorite works titled Sky Ladder.
CP: What would you say was your proudest achievement to date?
M: Having almost 100 shows and 4 solo exhibitions, and already had my works auctioned in international auction houses, archiving all that at the age of 32 is a blessing as well as I was able to establish my own company focused in supporting young talented artists called The Paintly Store ( www.thepaintlystore.com ) that I’ve established in year 2018.
CP: Have you got any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
M: Yes, I’m currently preparing for my next exhibitions located in New York and Basel.