RIYADH: The Misk Art Institute’s latest art residency showcase brought together a variety of culture vultures to experience a surge of emotions – from inner demons to journeys of self-exploration – through screen prints.
The residency, an intensive month-long program that took place at the Masaha Art Center throughout August, saw six residents fully immersed in the contemporary art of screen printing, supervised by a team in-house engraver experts.
Residents brought their own unique ideas to life, from the curatorial phase to the production phase to access to the institute’s screen printing facilities and individual studio spaces.
“The residence was great. The print methods helped me get the message across more clearly and easily. I think we accomplished a lot in a month-long residency,” resident and film photographer Haitham Alsharif told Arab News.
Her work further explored the conversation about self-awareness, coping mechanisms, and contemporary social pressures. The issues of vulnerability his generation faces in their daily lives act as an influence on his work, focusing on creating a printed representation of various expectations and criticisms such as the pressure of marriage or the wearing of labels.
“In photography, I think print is an essential way to enhance a photo, but using different colors and print sizes can add another layer of creativity so you can convey that message of a more creative, attractive and visible way,” he said.
In contrast, fellow resident Shatha Altumihi explored the inner pressures one creates within oneself. Her work, an audience favorite, centers around characters that individuals can transform into expressing themselves emotionally by facing their inner demons.
“I decided to choose this subject because I often feel misunderstood. I had some experiences, so I wanted to visualize that in a funky and visually pleasing way so that people don’t feel that those emotions are negative or that monsters are a bad thing,” she told Arab. News.
Altumihi took this opportunity to delve into screen printing to further enhance their experience in graphic design and illustration. She has used various techniques, such as photoshop bitmap effects, to bring texture and vibrancy to her works.
Resident Mohammad Fattal brought an emotional display through the halls of Masaha. His pieces, printed on draped curtains, represent our relationship to abandoned or old buildings.
Photographs of demolished places and homes shed light on the emotions we endure when we leave precious memories behind, willingly or forcefully. On a personal level, it is an ode to his country of origin, Syria.
“I haven’t been to Syria since the war, so when I saw these scenes of demolished buildings I had a feeling, even though they weren’t real, of how I would feel if I saw this in my country, in places that are close to my heart,” Fattal told Arab News.
As a digital photographer, he tested the contrasting reactions of his digital photos with physically printed works, playing with fabrics and textured paper.
“It gives you a different feeling, and that’s what I wanted to transfer from my personality to more artistic things, not just photography. I found that by printing in a beautiful way… with every print or try, we get a new work of art,” he said.
The micro-residency was organized to bring together artists from various disciplines to experiment with this delicate yet immersive technique, gain a deeper appreciation of screen printing and showcase their work to the Saudi community.
The art residency comes after three intensive three-month program cycles, the Masaha Residencies, which have featured artists from around the world coming to Riyadh to develop their art and explore their designated themes.
The showcase will run until September 8 at the Masaha space in Misk, open to the public daily from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.