29-year-old Qatari Mubarak Al-Malik is an interdisciplinary artist who has gone down three artistic routes: a fine artist, a graffiti artist and a sculptural artist. He’s not just the graffiti artist we’ve come to know about in Doha, so I interviewed him and got to know more about his work.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Mubarak Al-Malik, a 29-year-old Qatari, doing and loving art since I was a kid. My family supported me a lot, and especially my uncle Salman Al-Malik who was one of the first fine artists and a member of the Youth Art Centre. It’s where I learned a lot and was able to explore throughout the various departments. It made me who I am today.
What inspires you?
In the beginning I used to focus on the aesthetics. Then, year by year, I changed and started focusing more on the ideas. What inspired me more was the traditional materials, like the batoola, a symbol I incorporate within my own art with a little modern twist. Using these traditional items and symbols is a really big part of my work, and it enables me to feel constantly connected to our culture.
What kind of technique do you use within your own work?
I have multiple techniques within my own work. One day I am doing fine art, the next graffiti, then sculpture and then even air brushing.
Like my latest exhibition with Al Markhira Gallery, I used the circle shape that symbolized the ideas of Reconnecting, moving forward and continuity. Within the shapes, women were painted, and I was exploring the idea of women and identity.
But I am also changing a lot about my style. Lately for example, in one of the exhibitions that I participated in called Six Artists from Qatar, I had used graffiti even though a lot of people were saying “You are wasting your talent” or “Tomorrow the wall be painted over” and so on, but my main goal is to show art in the right way more than anything. It’s okay if it gets washed off the next day, as long as my art and message were shown, then I am happy.
I also work with sculpture, which not a lot of people know about, but in it I often explore the human body and relationships.
You recently did a huge mural at Qatar Foundation (QF) with two other artists. Tell me why was it important for you to do your graffiti piece at QF?
Qatar Foundation is a very important place in Qatar, and this is a great opportunity to be able to display our work, especially because graffiti is not a very well-known form of art here. This is a way to show people what graffiti actually is, that it is not just spray paint on a wall. It is a chance to be able to teach the community about this particular style.
Why is the batoola so important in your work?
I use the batoola in my work a lot just because I appreciate our culture so much. I love the way it looks within my work, and I feel it’s the one outstanding thing we have from history.
I totally admired Mubarak’s life vision, searching for purity of origin without neglecting innovation and modernism- a true mix between East and West!
You can find Mubarak at @Mubarak1221
Munira M is an Art enthusiast and loves attending exhibitions, writing and reading lots of books. She will be giving you an insight to some of the emerging Artists in Qatar through interviews! You can find her at @Munira.Art
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Sara F is an Artist & independent curator, her main area of focus is supporting emerging artists and making sure people of colour get to showcase their work in a gallery space. She will be featuring some of her favourite Arab Artists with interviews. You can find her at @FrozenVanity