Artist Reem Al Mazrouei opens up about her art form and Nabati Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi
Google celebrated Emirati poet Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi, or Ousha the Poet, and dedicated a doodle in her honor on Monday. One of the greatest Nabataean poets of the 20th century, Al Suwaidi’s doodle was aptly illustrated by another Emirati artist, Reem Al Mazrouei.
His doodle celebrates a Middle Eastern lady with her eyes closed next to a scroll creating intriguing imagery, almost a magical aurora.
Transforming Emirati poet Al Suwaidi into a quirky work of art with a specific symbolic meaning, the Dubai-based artist explains that doodles offer a unique insight into her artistic style. But creating this doodle has been a challenge.
“A member of the Google team contacted me and asked if I would be interested in creating a doodle for them. They are the ones who chose the theme and passed it on to me. Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi is an iconic figure in the Middle East who is a well-known Nabati (Nabati poetry has been a feature of life in the Arabian Peninsula since the 16th century).
Reem Al Mazrouei
“Although it took me about 15 days to create, but every time I sent them (Google) the illustration, they would give me feedback and then I would edit it again. I had the draft ready in about three concepts and it took me about ten versions.
“We wanted to make sure that the doodle and the elements represented effectively captured the essence of his poetry. Also, in terms of colors, we didn’t want it to be too sad or dark. The idea was to represent the tranquility and peace when one sees it. Representing the Emirati culture and environment was also an integral part of the project along with the Google logo,” says Mazrouei.
While Mazrouei’s art is inspired by folklore, mythology and the future of the Middle East, it explains the scribbling of the celebrated lady, who was born into a family that loved literature and recognized her contribution to field on this day.
“Al Suwaidi’s poems were inspired by nature: the Arabian Gulf and desert landscapes that touch on themes such as love, wisdom, patriotism and nostalgia. They (the Google team) found that my artistic style matches their spirit. They said your art is like poetry, and we couldn’t have found anyone more suitable to create this artwork for Ousha.”
While Ousha’s poems written in Nabati describe her personal experiences in the UAE and the country’s rich culture and past, Mazrouei explains that people travel far and wide just to see this famous personality.
“People then wanted to visit and see her. He is also a very special person to my family. My mother always wanted to visit her. Finally, he met her.”
Elucidating how the relationship between art, poetry and nature is largely shaped by the concept that man’s true self can be found in the wilderness, Mazrouei opines: “Poetry and art almost go hand in hand. I am like a child when I start drawing. . I took up art professionally after university. I have a degree in visual arts from Zayed University and have since devoted my time as a full-time artist. I never stop drawing,” says the UAE national, who has been a professional artist for a decade now.
“When you’re sad, happy or in love… you can express a myriad of emotions through both poetry and art. I think these two forms help you understand yourself better,” says the Emirati who was raised in the capital of the United Arab Emirates but now spends time living between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
As the nation prepares to celebrate the 51st National Day, Mazrouei reveals her upcoming plans for D-Day. She opines: “Little by little my work is being recognized, I have also always tried to go global. So, for National Day I’m working on something interesting. TWC: The Swiss watch brand contacted me to have them draw live.”
Talking about the new wave in different art forms and how the steady popularity of various styles has changed the face of world art that outlives its owners, he says, “even gadgets can be used to create art. People in the past believed that there was no future for people who pursue art… especially the older generation. But now is our time. The thinking has changed. There are many job opportunities both locally and global in these related fields. Express yourself and be original. If you love something… do it and believe in yourself.”