Emirati artists discuss inspirational role of ‘What’s your muse?’ at FUNN’s virtual panel session

Emirati artists discuss inspirational role of ‘What’s your muse?’
at FUNN’s virtual panel session

The debut panel discussion of Let’s have FUNN, a five-day virtual media arts event,
 brought together Emirati artists practicing diverse art forms

Sharjah, October 14, 2020

FUNN, the Sharjah-based organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting media arts learning among children and youth, introduced young participants to the inspiring creative journeys of four Emirati artists at the opening virtual panel discussion held yesterday (October 13), the second day of the entity’s five-day virtual media arts event, ‘Let’s have FUNN’, that concludes on October 16.

Under the theme, ‘What’s your muse?’, Emirati artists Ali Kashwani, Saeed Al Emadi, Aysha Saif Al Hamrani, and fashion designer Maitha Hamdan, revealed their sources of inspiration, shared lessons learnt over the years, and discussed the personalities who had influenced their careers. At the session moderated by Hind Al Gergawi, the panelists also spoke of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on their works.

Ali Kashwani pointed out that art motivates people to always seek something new, adding that he enjoys buying books on various art forms to update himself on the emerging trends in the field.

He said: “Although we work in different fields, I have been inspired by the works of Mohammed Saeed Hareb, the Emirati creator of Freej, Middle East’s first 3D animated series. I have also been influenced by self-taught Emirati artist, Abdul Qader Al Rais, a prominent contemporary artist in the pan-Arab world, whose works have inspired me to discover my hidden potential.”

Ali Kashwani added: “A letter I received from His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in response to a picture I drew for His Highness, has had a great impact on my life. I treasure this letter, and I hope to one day become a household name in the UAE’s art world and contribute to its development.”

Maitha Hamdan, who developed a penchant for art from early childhood, said: “I started by drawing on the school walls when I was seven years old. This task, assigned by my teacher, made me believe that the sky is the limit, and opened my mind to a world of creative opportunities.”

She said: “I am inspired by many things and art forms, especially the vision of movie directors whose unusual perspectives frame the setting of every scene. I am also inspired by Moroccan photographer Ismail Zaidy, whose work reveals his dedication and love for his craft. I am also fascinated by Cubism, pioneered by Picasso.”

Her dream, she added, is to see the emergence of art incubators in every neighbourhood to create a nurturing environment for children to unleash their creativity. 

Panelist Aysha Al Hamrani said that arts and literature, and the myriad experiences of her life inspires her to create more artwork.

“Since childhood, the white walls and blank papers in notebooks became the canvas on which I narrated my story, beginning with impressions of my favourite cartoon characters. Today, art is my passion, ambition, and career, and has opened a window to a vast universe of knowledge,” she said.

Saeed Al Emadi, who commenced his digital art journey by illustrating characters for Majid magazine, said he was influenced by many Emirati artists including Mohamed Saeed Hareb, Abdul Qader Al Rais, and Abdullah Al Sharhan.

“Drawing and illustration continues to be a hobby but working in creative production and design allows me to explore many forms of art,” he said. “It is my dream to educate and teach art to younger generations to channel their creativity.”  

Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 on their work, the panelists said that they utilised the lockdown period to complete their unfinished projects.


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