A series of art exhibitions taking place in Abu Dhabi has already got art enthusiasts buzzing, even before its opening. Entitled "Crossroads", this row of exhibitions - initiated and organised by Swiss Art Gate UAE in collaboration with Yas Viceroy - will showcase the work of local, expat and international artists, including Palestinian artist Dena Matar. Her solo exhibition, "Crossroads #8 - Tomorrow will love life" will be taking place on September 17 at the Light Box, Marina Wing Lobby of Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi.
The 28 year old, who lived in the profound challenges of Gaza, has the creativity to see beyond the walls and paint with such vibrant colours. Her wild imagination is one that is reminiscent of Joan Miró's work and she is strongly influenced by Pablo Picasso's Cubist style. However she still manages to assert her originality by using extremely bright colours and her characteristic simple approach.
Despite her young age, she has developed her own unique childlike style which she considers to be a way to manipulate the sad surrounding reality. She aims to represent it from a different perspective that is full of hope and optimism rather than encumbered by dark and lifeless colours. Dina explains that through her art she tries to rekindle positive feelings - her own as well as those of the people around her and those who view her art.
Dena's work can be deceiving, as the first childlike and innocent impressions can quickly turn into harsh images. As one delves deeper into the details, the paintings start to reveal stories and presentations of the reality in Gaza and Palestine. She believes that despite those who criticise her style, she will continue to provoke the viewer to probe the meaning of her work, to ponder the closed circles and the overloaded houses, and at the same time to search for freedom in the colourful spaces and long lines. Talking about her collection she says: “My art is inspired by nature and my daily life that surrounds me. Elements of nature are an important part in my decorative design. Flowers, plants in general, trees, birds and other components of nature, which are also part of the Islamic art, appear as abstract objects in my paintings. These elements are extracts of the embroidery threads of silk on pieces of dark clothes as decoration of the Palestinian dress. These colourful decorations help to highlight the beauty and contrast of colours on my paintings.”
Dena has also participated in a large number of exhibitions and acted as mentor to the youth. She has collaborated on several projects with European artists and participated in several local exhibitions and workshops in Gaza in cooperation with AM Qattan Foundation, the French Cultural Centre and other institutions. Her work was also displayed at the international exhibition "Ghaza seasons" in Geneva. Dena Matar is now resident in Paris and practises her art abroad.