Emirati artist Jalal Luqman interview

<em>Time Out Dubai</em> speaks to Emirati artist Jalal Luqman interview about Miscellany, telling the story of his career, showcasing at Citizen E Gallery in Dubai

While some people might prefer to write an autobiography, Emirati artist Jalal Luqman is detailing his life’s journey with a retrospective exhibition of new and old sculptures and paintings. The exhibition brings together a diverse body of work, both recognised and previously unseen: from Luqman’s drawings from the early 80s and his introduction of digital art in the 90s, to his latest sculptures made out of high grade aluminium.

“You could say Miscellany is a joint exhibition of myself and all the personalities contained within me,” says Luqman.

The works are on display at the newly opened Citizen E Gallery, which he has founded, in Dubai Design District. “I am an artist through and through. I know what artists like, and what they don’t like, and I have the opportunity to build upon my experience to create a haven where artists can come and exhibit their work.”

One of Luqman’s works on display titled Along came her Spider, shows a frail, grey-haired woman holding a spider. To an onlooker, this work may seem to have a menacing air; however, Luqman says this is a painting that gets different reactions from an audience.

“Some people see her as ominous, others think she is sad and still others think she is beautiful. It represents how time is ticking and we’re only young for a minute. We all meet our spider (death) one day, even if we hold on to our youth, symbolised by the red ribbon in the lady’s hair. Our days on Earth are numbered, which is why there is a clock on her hand,” explains Luqman.

Moving from one medium to another and contrasting substances and materials to create evocative pieces of art, Luqman’s works are diverse – some are sculptural, some paintings, while others are mixed media. Some are dark and brooding, others more vibrant and happy. “I pride myself by not having a certain signature in my art, I am raw in my approach to it. I don’t have a particular method or technique and I don’t allow one philosophy to control the subjects of my art.”

The exhibition showcases the transformation in style that Luqman has undergone since starting his career in 1987. “My muse is either my dreams or feelings which act as triggers. For example, if I see a stallion running with wild abandon, I will not be inspired to paint that animal. Instead, my work will be informed by the emotion of that moment, its extreme energy. I might paint a beautiful woman, dancing.”

Until December 24. Citizen E Gallery, Building 6, Dubai Design District, www.citizene.net (04 457 2380).

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