• Ezal

Renaissance of visual artistry with Arwa Shamsi

Since, my childhood, I can safely say that I have always been an artistically inclined child. Now, at age 20, this inclination only grew to become somewhat an affinity of mine. Majoring in International Relations at Zayed University in Dubai, my interest in political studies is at its peak as I am now setting foot into my third year of university. Till this very day, I haven’t ever taken any art courses or workshops. I do agree that guidance and tips can surely be given to you, however, I strongly believe that being artistically inclined is a given, and when you have the passion, you have it all!

Born and raised in the gorgeous city of Sharjah, I find inspiration in every little corner. The historic structures, the mind-blowing architecture and the alluring museums. There literally is nowhere else I would rather live! I like to think of this city as a starting line to my art journey, the finishing line to be, indefinitely unidentified. So, I started off this journey by delving into the ravishing world of acrylic painting. The 17th year of my life marks the obsession I had (still have) for acrylics! Turning blank white canvases into a mirror of my mind made me develop a bond that I definitely needed at that point in life. Call it spiritual or chemical, acrylics were understanding, they were forgiving and they always gave me a chance to start over, always.

Sticking to one form of art was definitely not what I wanted for myself. One has to explore amidst their journey and instinctively, that was exactly what I did. From oil paints to watercolours and back to acrylics, I went back and forth. I definitely needed to be more centred so I could channel my ideas. University work took its toll and I found myself drowning mid-semester with assignments and presentations. There was no way I could put less than 100% into my work, call it a perfectionists nature.

After the quarantine life shook the normality of things, it did so to my routine as well. I had long hours at home with nothing, yet simultaneously a million things to do. My attention was all over the place and somehow I didn’t feel like a canvas was enough for me to spill my ideas. This is where my art journey took me into an unanticipated turn and threw me into the world of Collage Art. I have never felt more at home! I started venturing and learning about everything I needed to know in light of this new interest of mine.

I mean, what is normal about an elevator in space or giraffes in Alaska? Nothing! And that’s the precise reason why I love making collages. The idea of making the perfect, yet not so perfect image out of the most unrelated segments, is what sparked my interest. It got my brain going, as it did with the people around me. The start of May 2020, is when I started @arwas.space on Instagram, and the support and feedback I received was beyond my wildest dreams. This platform enabled me to express in the most fluid and flexible way possible. It was comfortable, it was home.

I enjoy mixing up retro and vintage because it creates an image that is out of this world, literally! Putting together different time periods, from the classical world to the renaissance up to modern times, illustrated the strangest looking collages, but the good kind of strange,

I would say! Meshing different cultures and incorporating portraits from 18th-century western art, into the modern streets of Dubai makes so much more sense than how it sounds like. I like to continuously remind myself that I am still nowhere near the end of my art journey and that as long as I have the passion, I have it all!

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