Look: 6 UAE artists imagine 2022 as the year 'hope' resurfaced in our lives

After two years of the pandemic, this year saw a return to normalcy. Local artists interpreted the year that was in their own unique styles

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Plastic Veil by Chie Nakano
Plastic Veil by Chie Nakano

Published: Thu 29 Dec 2022, 11:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 12:07 AM

Plastic Veil embodies the irreparable damage this pandemic has had on our lives. Tangled with infinite layers of uncertainty, Mother Earth is suffocating. However, despite her expression of sadness, she holds a subtle smile knowing that we won’t give up: we can rebuild the world with so much grace.

Hope of Travel by Gigi Gorlova
Hope of Travel by Gigi Gorlova

As artist Gigi Gorlova waited to travel around freely, she decided to learn how to use 3D software during lockdown. Two-and-a-half years later, she is now a fulltime 3D artist, able to travel back to see her family in England and participate in international art shows. “The future is looking bright for all of us to embrace the freedom of travel and visiting places we used to dream about,” says Gorlova.


Spring Soul by Maria Pavel
Spring Soul by Maria Pavel

This painting was made at a very important period in Maria’s career as an artist — towards the end of the pandemic when everything returned to normal. This was her first abstract painting. “I chose to use green tones because green is the colour of hope and represents new beginning. The round shapes, contouring, shading give the work a dynamic structure, full of life and resemble nature that brings in the spring.”

The Famous Handshake by Mej Valencia
The Famous Handshake by Mej Valencia

A handshake is a common gesture of greeting. Handshakes are often seen as a symbol of trust, cooperation and mutual understanding. In some cultures, a handshake is also seen as a way of expressing hope or good wishes. For example, a firm handshake is often seen as a sign of confidence and determination, and can be used to convey a message of hope or encouragement. Similarly, a warm and friendly handshake can be used to show support or offer words of encouragement. In this way, a handshake can be a powerful and meaningful gesture that conveys hope. While fistbumps replaced handshakes during the pandemic, this was the year when we finally returned to the good, old form of greeting.


Energy by Nupur Jha
Energy by Nupur Jha

"The pandemic was a time when life was constrained by the shadow of death and disease, and our stifled lifestyles bred nothing but pessimism. Yet the Art was around, blue-skying that silver lining somewhere in the clouds, the goodness of green, the lively energy. It has all come back to us," said Jha.

Don't Worry Be Happy by Rami Afifi
Don't Worry Be Happy by Rami Afifi

“It’s a reaction to the pessimistic narrative that had taken over our lives during the pandemic,” says Afifi. “Attempting to be happy is facing the future, instead of fearing it.”

Eleanor by Yohan Wadia
Eleanor by Yohan Wadia

The year 2022 has proven to be strikingly similar to the birth of a newborn. “A newborn emerges out of the mother’s womb gasping for fresh air, acclimatising itself to the world around it, bringing joy and happiness to those around it. To breathe normally now rightfully seems like a gift to us, that we took for granted earlier,” says artist Yohan Wadia.


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