“The brush is my scream, my silent and my peaceful battle,” Amal Al Aathem

Artistic expression often explores man’s place in the universe, but prolific Qatari artist Amal Al Aathem explores woman’s place in the universe. Her new solo exhibition Gravity, uses bold colour and cosmic motifs to capture and celebrate the developing, indispensible role of women in society.

The exhibition consists of 32 paintings and two sculptures, each expressing an interaction between the universe and social content. The artist’s new works show a marked difference from previous ones, as she experiments with a range of new techniques in mixed mediums and textures. The background of the pieces consists of serene, pastel colours, evoking the luscious tones of the natural world. There is a heady mix of energies conveyed, with strokes appearing soft in some places and defiant in others. In the foreground are the silhouettes of women, as women have always been the focus and impetus behind Al Aaathem’s work. They are depicted wearing the abaya and appear to be powerful and prominent figures on the canvas, bolder and larger than in her previous works. For the artist, the exhibition is meant to show the emerging place of women in society, particularly in the Gulf region, where she notes women can now occupy more fundamental positions within decision-making.

Gravity was chosen as the title of this exhibition, because it was the force by which she could express the story of women looking to the future whilst interacting with their current environment. In her exuberance of form and mastery of colour, the works convey how personal lives and public realities constantly metamorphose to form dramatic patterns on the universe.

But further, invoking the grandeur of the cosmos serves to empower the female subjects of her paintings. The silhouettes are transparent, allowing for her colourfully created universe to radiate through the women. The impression is given that women are not simply in, but also of, the universe. The universe here depicted thus becomes not merely the inter-galactic one, but a celebration of the one that is held within us. The exhibition is an exquisite beacon for the women Al Aathem so reverently seeks to represent.


Anima Gallery, Doha. Until June 30