Selected works in watercolour on paper and oil on linen and cotton canvas celebrate the connectivity that the artist perceives between human and natural life cycles, romance, spirituality and that which she encounters on a daily basis.
While some perceive the desert as a symbol of desolation and emptiness, for Rashed the deserts of the Gulf present an environment abundant with life and fuelled with romanticism, a perception with filters into these works. Selected works for the exhibition at Tabari Artspace see the artist reflect on the notion of the mirage, a fantasy that presents itself to those treading tirelessly through the desert and an illusion established from the artist’s mind’s eye that embodies human feelings of yearning, love and conflict.
Rashed intends that the viewer should have varied and dynamic opportunities for engagement with her output as such she has manipulated scale. Monumental 9 x 12m works come into dialogue with smaller 3 and 4-meter pieces, diptychs as well as triptychs. Dream-like figures, often in embrace, embark upon a non-linear expedition through the desert negotiating its sands, wadis and wild blooms such as the majnoona, a flower that grows rapidly and thrives no matter where it takes root. The artist considers flowers to be an extension of the soul and of one’s spirituality. She has rendered these poetic works with concrete textures and a vibrant palette. Subtle icons and motifs are interwoven in these works and make reference to the artist’s inner realm. The incorporation of the peach is, for example, a tribute to the artist’s father who would offer her fresh fruit to nourish her during long days spent painting in her studio. Eyes are also always present in Rashed’s work, sometimes blushing, sometimes confrontational, and sometimes washed out and erased from memory. For Rashed, the eyes signify the gaze in various timescapes.