Ghada Al Suwaidi is a versatile illustrator and graduate of VCUarts Qatar, who has developed an artistic approach where the world becomes her canvas. With a focus on children's watercolor books for her undergraduate thesis, Ghada's journey has since led her to continuously expand her skillset and embrace diverse opportunities. She has become a live wedding illustrator, capturing the essence of joyous celebrations through her live sketches, as well as continuously exploring calligraphy, which has added an element of timeless elegance to her portfolio. 

Her collaboration with ‘JedariArt’ under Qatar Museums has allowed her to venture into the realm of mural art, where she uses large-scale walls to create captivating visual narratives. Additionally, her installations with ‘Visit Qatar’ at Souq Waqif showcase her ability to immerse viewers in unique and engaging artistic experiences and recently, a public mural at Al Maha Island.

With her distinctive style and a passion for exploring new horizons, Ghada has embarked on a creative journey that has allowed her to breathe life into spaces through her vibrant and captivating art.

Visit Qatar installation

Marsya Abdulghani: How did your experience studying graphic design at VCUarts Qatar influence your artistic development and shape your creative approach?

Ghada Al Suwaidi: Looking back to my years in university, studying ‘design’ was a struggle for a young girl who originally thought of herself as an ‘artist’. I was more of an intuitive person, and in design, we were taught that you must have a reason behind every element you decided to add to your designs and I took that approach literally, trying to figure out the reason with every design decision I was making. After struggling for years, I’m grateful for the way I was taught and now I’m able to incorporate design thinking into my ‘intuitive’ artistic endeavors. I believe because of that I’m able to branch my art into different fields that I couldn’t imagine was possible before studying at university. 

(M.A): In your experience as an artist, what do you consider to be the best environment for artists to thrive and unleash their creative potential?

(G.A): I think any artist that is doing something they love will flourish eventually, especially if they have the growth mindset and know that they can learn something new everyday. You can never reach perfection and you should accept that. One thing many creatives and I struggle with is imposter syndrome. Once you let go of overthinking things, letting yourself be and start creating without fear, you can flourish. The biggest enemy to your success is yourself.

(M.A): How do you balance maintaining your unique artistic style while adapting it to different spaces and mediums (digital, traditional, calligraphy, mural)?

(G.A): I think once you get to know your style in one area, you can adapt it to different mediums without a problem. The thing I struggle the most with though is having the patience to learn a new medium. The beginning of learning something new to you, however exciting it is, is the most difficult part. Probably the most typical route for an artist is having to learn traditional mediums then maybe at some point they decide to explore digital art. For me it was the opposite, I’ve been a digital artist most of my adult life and I fell in love with traditional mediums later on in my artistic career. 

(M.A): Can you describe the process of creating large-scale murals in the case of the JedariArt program and Al Maha Island? 

(G.A): For my first mural in Msheireb, Henna, I wanted to create an artwork that is bold and can capture the attention of walkerbys and people driving through, while still maintaining my signature style. I used a bold yellow and red as my main colors depicting a woman with henna and wearing our traditional Qatari dress. It was my first Mural project so it was difficult getting used to the medium at first and it took 10 days to finish. 

With my second mural in Al Maha Island, I was asked to create a mural with the same look and feel as my first one ‘henna’ to lead and welcome guests of the island. I used ‘fenyal’  and ‘henna’ as the main theme and used a bold yellow again. This time around it was easier than the first time as I’ve had some experience but it was more challenging as it was a bigger wall, but it went better than expected in the end.

(M.A): How has your participation in the ‘Iktishaf’ program in Granada, Spain contributed to your understanding and appreciation of Islamic art and culture? 

(G.A): In the last two years, I’ve developed an interest in Islamic art which led to much appreciation of artworks from the past. Having been chosen to be part of the program (Iktishaf under Museum of Islamic Art) was an honor and I couldn’t be happier. Granada is rich in Islamic art, especially in Alhambra palace. There’s art everywhere from the mosaics on the walls to the palace building itself. It showed me whenever a civilization flourished, there has been an explosion in the arts and cultivation for it. Muslims focused on geometry and showing the beauty of form and repetition. I have a better appreciation of geometrical Islamic art after seeing it applied so beautifully all around Alhambra. Insha’Allah I’ll be able to incorporate some of the knowledge I gained in the trip into my future artworks. 

Images courtesy of Ghada Al Suwaidi 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like