By Sahrish Ali
We speak about the monsters and oddball creatures that Sara Abdu creates.
Adventures in Art Exploration
Growing up watching Tim Burton’s works and such had a pivotal effect on how Abdu creates art now. As with the beginning of all things, there are a lot of trials. After experimenting different styles, she eventually started shaping her identity as an artist at the age of 16.
“That’s when I came up with these creatures. Most of my artwork includes writing as well. I have always wanted to find a balance between words and illustration, and my work focuses on their cohesive existence.”
On Creativity and Art
Her creativity originates from personal experiences, a memory or ideas that illustrate certain situations. Abdu begins her creative process by organizing her thoughts, refining the idea then putting it in the form of a quote. Then she spends some time with that and sketches out the idea until she manifests it on canvas.
Turning words into visuals and emotions into shapes is a complicated process. “On paper I use a bic pen to draw with, on canvas I use mixed media.”
It’s important to create something honest with which people can relate. It shows the many languages an artwork can speak. Departure, solitude, love, fear, the meaning of existence, God’s creation and music are all sources of my inspiration. “There is a concept I have been trying to identify in my work for years and it’s ‘beauty of ugliness.’ The word ‘ugly’ has always bothered me, where things are labeled and classified according to their appearance.”
How would you define your art?
What I do can be classified as pop surrealism art. It has a dark childish sense I am kind of stuck in between. Most if not all of my artworks have white backgrounds so my main focus is intensified on my characters and what I want to deliver through them.
When did you start exhibiting your work?
I first exhibited my work at the Saudi Art Center at the age of 14. That was a time when I was still learning new techniques and developing my identity.
After Athr Gallery approached me, I exhibited at many other places including Dubai Art Fair, Abu Dhabi Art Fair and START Art Fair in London. My very first solo show, “The Intangible Bonds In Our Existence,” was held at Athr last year.
Art in Pieces
While speaking about her art pieces, Abdu elaborates how every piece was a different experience. That is the most enjoyable part: creating something that sets you in a unique state of mind.
“When it comes to executing, I am very critical about my work and I think the rest of my life will be an attempt to create the best I can. If my work can inspire others, if it can really touch them and open a true conversation with their soul, then there’s nothing else I need.”