Beachroad Magazine meet Dubai based Artist Hadil Moufti. Following years of painting nature inspired landscapes and animals, her focus has recently shifted to architectural drawings and collage on paper.
Moufti addresses ageless and universal themes, such as mythology, literature and religion spinning a tale with a sense of a home, of childhood and nostalgia, a narrative with a play on scale, perspective and gravity. she explores, dissects and transforms images through repetition, or serialism.
Her lifetime of travelling and setting up home in different continents has resulted in work that is not relevant to a political or social agenda. She expresses a personal point of view of an illusionary and fantastical world.
Her last solo exhibition was at Showcase Gallery in Dubai. Her works are collected across the world, notably at the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah. Moufti holds a BA in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in Paris.
NAME? // Hadil Moufti.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // My first full time job was artist, actually!
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Artist (still).
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ART SCENE IN DUBAI AND WHICH ARTISTS EXCITE YOU? // I love the art scene here, it is still very young, definitely needs maturing, but is very active. There is always something going on, art openings, talks, art fairs, etc. And great opportunities.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE ART WORLD WAS FOR YOU? // When I was 16 and in high school in India, my (most amazing) Art teacher opened my eyes to the world of Art and gave me the confidence to pursue it. That, combined with the richness of the culture and the colours, made me fall in love with art.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Life.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Life (that something gets taken away).
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // In Switzerland, age 3 or 4, sitting on a window seat looking down at the street and watching my older sister walk to school. How I longed to go with her!
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My younger sister, Rotana. She doesn’t let her disability (she has down’s syndrome) rule her life. She is an amazing teacher’s assistant, and she is the strongest and the core of our family. And she’s funny too!
YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST? // Soooo many, but I keep going back to Larissa Sansour, a Palestinian artist based in the UK, and whose work examines the contemporary politics of Palestine and Israel.
YOUR FAVOURITE GALLERY? // A museum rather than a gallery, the Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris, a dark and moody dream!
IF YOU OWNED A GALLERY WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? // Oh no, I don’t think I would like to own a gallery.
IF YOU WERE NOT AN ARTIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // Working in special education, for sure! There is almost nothing as rewarding and valuable as helping people with special needs.
IF YOU WERE ONLY ALLOWED TWO COLOURS TO WORK WITH FOR THE REST OF TIME WHAT WOULD THEY BE? // Black and white, if these are colours, and red.
WHAT ART DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // A few years back, I would have said German Expressionism. But my work has been going in a different direction, I now mostly work on paper with photo montage, pencil and charcoal, and metal leaf, generally described as mixed media.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // Most recently, I struggled for almost a year with a “Mandala with Pigs”. I just couldn’t get it right. Thank you Mo for helping me through that!
ANY ARTWORK YOU HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO SELL? // Embarrassingly, I always find it hard to part with my work. But I love it when I get to meet the new owner, and I know the work is truly valued.
ART ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Music, absolutely! But also nature, people, books, stories and tales, everything, really (except for politics).
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO LOCATION? // Where I am just now, a haven in Dubai, in the old town, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (Bastakiya).
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // Anything goes, depends on my mood, as long as it’s comfortable, and preferably white
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY ARTWORK WHAT WOULD IT BE? // I would love to have my very own Hayv Kahraman (Iraqi/American artist) to play with, one of the wooden pieces with moveable hand painted magnets.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY ARTIST ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Dead unfortunately, I would have loved to meet the Belgian artist Fernand Khnopff. We would have sat by the canals in Bruges and discussed Symbolism, literature, the English Pre-Raphaelites, and his painting of a Sphynx, “Des Caresses”.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A bath-bomb for my daughter, Layla, for a luxurious relaxing bath.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Believe in yourself, work hard to be the best of yourself.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Not believing in myself enough.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Selfishness.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Juliette Binoche with a middle eastern twist (please!)
FAVOURITE MUSIC? // Very eclectic, a lot of alternative music, old French songs and movie soundtracks.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // The soundtrack from an old movie, Cat People, with the theme song performed by David Bowie. Nostalgic.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // The Little Prince.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // Margaret Atwood’s latest, Hag-Seed.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Sledging in Switzerland, my mother almost (unintentionally) pushed me off the edge of the mountain.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Now that I live in Dubai, I love going back to London, my previous home.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // None, love to travel, but I also need lots of home time.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Read, walk, watch movies, listen to music.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach, in the sea, preferably!
URBAN OR RURAL? // Rural.
CATS OR DOGS? // 100% dogs.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Both, coffee has to be Columbian locally roasted beans from Raw, and all kinds of tea and herbal infusions.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Without fail, my dog, Marmite.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Everything, even adverts and cartoons.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Live by your own standards, but try not to judge others. Empathise and understand.