It’s one of New York’s most photographed sites, where throngs of tourists and residents pass underneath glimmering billboards every hour of every day. And this week, everyone that has passed through Times Square has glimpsed upon works by an artist representing the Middle East. Emirati painter Fatma Lootah has had her artworks displayed on the iconic Nasdaq tower this week, with the pieces a vibrant celebration of life and culture in the UAE and beyond. The Dubai-raised creative is the latest Nasdaq Artist in Residence, which is an initiative that supports emerging artists by projecting their works onto the stock exchange’s HQ.
“I think that any painting I do is a door which helps to take a step further to the light, and from that light I get my inspiration,” Lootah told Nasdaq of her work, revealing that she finds inspiration from her travels. “Traveling means getting in touch with the culture of other people. It is the richness that you gain and this richness makes you a better person. A better person means a good artist who can reflect this beauty.” The artist left the UAE to study art in Washington in 1979, later moving to Verona where she still resides to this day. “Verona is extraordinary, its artistic potential is phenomenal,” Lootah says of her adopted hometown on her website.
The artist regularly shares glimpses of her work with her 28,000 Instagram followers, many of which bringing together influences from her Arab upbringing with her vibrant style. Lootah has been known to capture many of the UAE’s leading figures, such as HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in touching portraits.