Artist in UAE paints 100 Zayed portraits in 100 days
Dubai - She dedicated 3-6 hours a day exploring techniques to portray Sheikh Zayed in different styles.
Celebrating the country's 47th National Day, a Polish artist is painting 100 portraits of the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 100 consecutive days.
Abu Dhabi-based artist and educator Kasia Dzikowska uses different techniques to portray the various aspects of Sheikh Zayed's personality, to finish the last painting on December 2.
She said her initiative celebrates the Year of Zayed, which marks 100 years since the birth of Sheikh Zayed. Starting her move in August, Dzikowska said painting for 100 days gave her a new perspective on Sheikh Zayed's commitment to his nation.
"It was a really different process than any art project I have ever done because I had to commit myself to it everyday. It didn't matter how I felt or what was going on. I just had to commit myself to it completely," said Dzikowska, who's been based in the UAE for the past five years.
"This process represents Sheikh Zayed's tireless commitment and sacrifice to improve his nation. As a leader, you cannot have a bad day; you have to work consistently for your country, push your own comfort aside."
Dzikowska dedicated 3-6 hours a day exploring techniques and mediums to portray Sheikh Zayed in different styles, using mixed media, acrylic paint, digital portraits, pencil drawing, collages and even coffee painting.
She said the different media reflect his multi-faceted personality that focused on different areas to develop his nation, including tolerance, education and culture.
"To reflect education, I incorporated some texts on his portraits. For tolerance, I used warm colors and patterns to reflect equality and progress," noted Dzikowska.
Finding iconic images
Dzikowska said finding good quality photos of Sheikh Zayed to draw from was a big challenge. To expose herself to his different gestures and poses, Dzikowska had to refer to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's library. "I collected as many images of him as I can from the library. I also took to social media and asked people to send me their favourite pictures of him, which also helped."
Although she has been in the UAE for only five years, Dzikowska said the local community's admiration and respect for Sheikh Zayed made him an inspirational figure to her.
"When I arrive to any country, I normally interact with its local culture and communities. The way people had massive appreciation to him as a leader intrigued me to read more about him and the era he lived in."
She added: "Sheikh Zayed had a future outlook. He saw and understood the things which people back then did not see."
Chosen portraits from '100 Zayeds 100 Days' were displayed at Synyar Gallery, Dubai and Art Hub Dubai Gallery. They will be displayed at Westin Abu Dhabi for National Day celebrations.
She said the project aimed to create a connection to Sheikh Zayed's legacy through interacting with his image on a daily basis. An important lesson she walked away with is being adventurous and setting a clear purpose before watching things fall into place.
Her portraits can be viewed at through her Instagram account @kasia_dzikowska.