An artist's tribute to the lives of Emirati women
Al Mabrouka, a virtual exhibition, showcases ten paintings by Emirati artist Ashwaq Abdulla, highlighting the role and impact of Emirati Women across the years
Emirati artist and designer Ashwaq Abdulla wants young girls around the world to virtually walk around the exhibition space and take home the message to be innovative. "Follow your passion and you will succeed. Do not settle for normal," says Ashwaq, based out of Abu Dhabi. Her digital exhibition titled, Al Mabrouka, opened this week, and the ten paintings, a fusion of watercolour pastels, highlight the role of Emirati women in the past and in current times. The exhibition sheds light on the history of Emirati women, especially the lives of resilient mothers and hard workers across fields including education, agriculture, textiles among others. Al Mabrouka is a name given to the elderly women in society due to their wisdom, and generosity. In a conversation, Ashwaq shares, "Attending Al Mabrouka will give young girls and others a unique experience, distinct from the traditional exhibitions, to live the colours and shapes in the paintings." We take a virtual tour and learn more about the exhibition from her.
How did you come up with the theme for the exhibition?
I always wanted to demonstrate my genuine respect to Emirati women and the great work they've accomplished in the past years, which is what led to the theme. The fact that I am very close to my mother, especially that she had a major influence on me, was a major factor to lay emphasis on Emirati women in the past, through my art. The animation in the exhibition will allow the audience to discover in depth the Emirati women history and lifestyle, displaying their traditional clothes, adornments, and jewellery.
Art + Music + Tech, how did you decide upon bringing together these elements for the project?
The technology factor came from the fact that I wanted to give the painting movements by using animation. Personally, I love music and I feel it gives the flavour needed for a digital exhibition to reach the hearts and minds of audiences. The exhibiton is backdropped with the music tunes of renowned Emarati composer Muhammad Al Ahmad, which perfectly suit the painting and the theme.
What prompted you to add a painting of late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in your exhibiton?
The UAE has always set an example for women empowerment and gender equality. Emirati women have received strong support by our leaders, which contributed to their success. Our founding father, the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said: "The woman is half of the society; any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy. I am on the woman's side." This belief has resonated across the years in the UAE to build a society of an equal gender equality.
As a country, we celebrate Emirati Women's Day, which takes place on August 28 each year, that was launched by Sheikha Fatima in 2015. The Zayed painting honours his great influence on recognising the value of educated women and including mothers in the work force, who could then support their families.
Attend the virtual exhibition on her YouTube channel, Ashwaq Abdulla