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Enter Hind’s World of Majlis, Sadu, and Snapchat

Photo by Saeed Khalifa. Courtesy of Hind bin Demaithan

Photo by Saeed Khalifa. Courtesy of Hind bin Demaithan

“I realized from an early age that art helped me to express myself with shapes, forms, and colors rather than words,” recalls Hind bin Demaithan, a visual artist and video composer from Dubai. Her work features photography and video installations, which have been showcased at the Sikka Art Fair in Dubai; The Art of MENA Gallery in Paris; and the Lahd Gallery in London; to name a few. One of her most recent projects is the interactive video design, …w hay hyilyama’a (…and this is a get-together). The commentary assesses the impact of new technologies on communal habits by inviting guests to a majlis (the setting where the gathering takes place) to sit quietly on mats and cushions, with brief texting and Snapchat breaks in between.

The Emirati artist’s most recent project, Sadu-Pixel is a visual responsive piece to earlier work From Cali with Love. In this video project, the artist customized three LCD screens displaying iconic images of scenery across the UAE with a layer of al Sadu—a traditional weaving method practiced by Bedouin women from the Emirates.

Vogue Arabia catches up with Hind bin Demaithan to discuss her most sentimental piece, ideas on social media, and the abaya brands she’s currently coveting.

The concept of mixed media can be hard for some to grasp. How do you describe it?
Mixed media is a form of creation that combines more than one medium of art into one piece, such as photography and paint. My personal practice is commonly referred to as “Multimedia,” which is a broader extension of mixed-media. In my case, I use video, sound, photography, and performance all in one.

Social media has infiltrated into almost every aspect of culture. You address this in your interactive majlis. How does social media manipulate art?
It can go two ways. It can be a tool that helps many artists get closer to their respective audiences. It is also a platform where technology can be used to compliment the art piece itself. In the case of …w hay hyilyama’a, a Snapchat account (hindstriangle) was created and whoever sat in the majlis had access to a communal iPhone where they controlled what went into the [Snapchat] story.

However, some people tend to use social media to develop an artist/designer role according to what they choose to play or not, which makes one question credibility and what is truly authentic.

Sadu-Pixel, 2016 Medium: Video objects, al Sadu weaving, video, LCD screens Photo courtesy of Hind bin Demaithan

Sadu-Pixel, 2016
Medium: Video objects, al Sadu weaving, video, LCD screens
Photo courtesy of Hind bin Demaithan

Art is an expression of your life and memories. Is there a piece of your work that is most sentimental to you?
That would be From Cali With Love. I was commissioned to do it for Art Dubai in 2013. It was a weekly video blog that ran for three months. I shared moments of my practice as a student in CalArts and life away from home. It’s my most sentimental work because along with sharing visual diaries of myself, I revived old negatives of photos from what I refer to as a “treasure box” from my late mother, and brought them to life using multimedia techniques. That made me feel—and still makes me feel—that although she is not physically here, her presence is still in my life.

How do you break out of a creative block?
I travel; hunt for a new muse; and I read.

Who is your favorite artist from childhood that you still love today?
Chuck Close!

What can we expect from your first project with DRAK?
A moment of silence and questioning of one’s being.


Name check two wardrobes that you rate.
The wardrobe of one of the founders of DRAK, Nadine Kanso. Her wardrobe is herself, and I love it. The second one is Dana Al Tuwarish.

What are some of your favorite abaya brands?
Nuna Atelier, Leenaz, and Elhem al Arif.

Go-to boutiques and stores in Dubai?
The Fashion Vault, The cARTel, The Urbanist, and Human and Beings.

The award-winning artist will exhibit more of her work during the second edition of Design Ras Al Khor (DRAK)—the collective initiative established by four UAE designers aims to draw attention to the creative district potential of the Ras Al Khor Industrial Area during Dubai Design Week, which kicks off today.

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