Shaikha Al Mazrou's artwork can best be described as minimalistic experimentation with the physical space of objects. After graduating with a Masters from the Chelsea College of Fine Art in 2014, Al Mazrou has actively pursued her artistic ambitions in the UAE. Her art is an intricate combination of geometry and colour theory wonderfully intertwined to explore the fundamental aspects of space.
Al Mazrou currently works as a Sculpture Lecturer at the University of Sharjah and her first solo exhibition titled Expansion opened at Dubai's Lawrie Shabibi gallery in Alserkal Avenue last month. Her work will also be part of the highly anticipated 'Artists Garden Series' at Art Jameel in November. We spoke to the artist to learn more about her inspiration and views on the UAE art scene.
When were you first introduced to art?
As Picasso said “Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
What is your earliest memory of wanting to become an artist?
I have always created artworks as a child, but that can be considered - a form of discovering the world. The preparation for my career as a practising artist and the possibilities of efficiently expressing myself as an artist started around my undergraduate years.
Who are your favourite artists?
There are so many artists that fall under my favourite list yet they are very different in practice, to name few: László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee, John Baldasseri, Mona hatoum, Abbas Akhavan
Your artwork is rooted in minimalism. What inspires you when choosing a subject?
I am genuinely interested in art history, so I look at past art movements and how this can be reinterpreted today. My work borrows formally from minimalism and intellectually from conceptual art, arising from the ongoing discourse around materiality. Based on simple gesture, my works calls attention to the physical representation of tension, weight and physical space. There is a strong desire to get the viewer actively engaged and participate in “completing” the art piece. By its nature, my work encourages a dialogue between objects, content and the viewer, and so raises issues for which minimalist artist were criticized, including a tendency towards theatricality and literalism.
What does the UAE need to do to further develop its art market?
Art in the region is fertile ground. Today, we are witnessing more demand and increase participation from government institutions, authorities and private sectors, all supporting the art scene; let it be museums, galleries and art institutions. Not to mention, non-profit organization such as Sharjah Art Foundation led by HH. Sheikha Hoor has played a central role in establishing the regional art scene.
As an Emirati artist, what do you think is the future for creatives in the region?
The opening of national and international museums, the growth of art education in universities and international fairs will have a huge impact on the region’s art scene and inspire future generations of artists, art enthusiasts and collectors.
Any advice to young artists out there?
Stay curious and hungry to learn