Saeed Al-Madani: Mixed Media Artist with a Focus on Culture and Identity
Born and raised in Dubai, Saeed Al-Madani recently gained the ultimate opportunity; becoming one of the recipients of the 2016/17 Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship that offers five outstanding RCA applicants across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Turkey, a two-year Master of Arts program. As a self-taught artist, Saeed’s passion for experimenting with art forms is proof of his dedication towards becoming an artist with a purposeful message.
Why have you chosen the cultural aspect as one of the main elements in your artwork?
I grew up in a society that is culturally rich and prides itself on diversity. The space I inhabit and its influences inspire my perception and feed into my artistic curiosity. Culture has therefore always been central to my work.
How much of a challenge was it to go from being a self-taught artist to receiving a scholarship to study art?
A great challenge, but surely a greater honor to have been awarded the scholarship. Passion, ambition, and hard work drove me to persevere when doing the legwork independently.
What is the most memorable piece/collection you’ve done?
The ‘Muthanna’ series, which is founded on my love for graphic, contemporary, symmetry, and technology. Muthanna refers to the mirroring technique used in Islamic calligraphy art where the work is symmetrical. Through the use of this technique and cultural references, I’ve been able to explore my practice and emphasize identity in a manner that fits my concept and aesthetic taste.
When did your passion for printmaking begin?
I started experimenting with printmaking 13 years ago, composing abstract shapes through the use of computer software. I explored the transformative qualities that technology brings, and later combined the mechanical with the handmade as the interchangeability of the old and the new intrigued me.
Why did you decide to contribute your love for culture and identity with graphics and technology?
I follow an approach where different types of media and tools direct how the work is shaped and influence the art-making process. My knowledge of technology and how I use this tool allows the emergence of vast, innovative forms of expression.
– The four artworks pictured in the banner are:
Hatta, 2015 – Digital Mixed Media (top left)
Amidst the Agony of Flowers, 2016 – Digital Mixed Media (top right)
Bridges of Budapest I (Arabesque Pattern,) 2016 – Digital Mixed Media (bottom left)
Tashkeel, 2016 – Digital Composition using typographical references (bottom right)