HER LATEST EXHIBITION AT THE ART CENTRE IN BAHRAIN NATIONAL MUSEUM WAS AN EXPLOSION OF COLOUR, WITH NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN ORIGINAL, ABSTRACT IMPRESSIONIST PAINTINGS ON CANVAS, TAKING CENTRE STAGE FOR ART LOVERS TO ADMIRE. FACT’S SHABANA ADAM CHATS WITH BAHRAINI ARTIST AREEJ RAJAB TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HER CREATIVE STYLE AND WHAT MAKES HER PAINT BRUSH TICK…
My work comes from emotion. I use colour as my primary means of expressing that. To me each colour has a unique character and I feel as if emotion flows through me as I apply these colours to my canvas
For those of you who had the pleasure of visiting Areej Rajab;s latest art exhibition: Limitless, there’s no doubt that you’ll have left feeling a little lighter and brighter. Stating her one core artistic inspiration as, simply, “colour”, Areej’s latest body of work is a estament to her unobtrusive approach with a candid look at how the subtleties of her surroundings inspire her. Unlike many of her peers, Areej stands out in the world of art for her unapologetic boldness; she is unusually and quite utterly, unbound by the forces of genre and style. And, to put it quite simply and quite uncompromisingly, it is emotion that drives her hand. “My work comes from emotion,” Areej tells us. “I use colour as my primary means of expressing that. To me each colour has a unique character and I feel as if emotion flows through me as I apply these colours to my canvas,” she adds.
For Areej, the job of art is to inspire, not to imply. Her audience is her meaning maker and her work is characterised by dynamic brush strokes, shifting planes of colour and pulsating forms. This is also the reason why her pieces remain untitled – because every person has the will and freedom to form their own significance from each of her paintings. Being a mixed media artist, Areej enjoys using all sorts of mediums and material like oils, inks, acrylics, and pastels to master the balance of movement, space and colour. Her paintings are a window into the mind of an artist who has sought order in a chaotic world, she somehow manages to find pattern in the abstract works she creates. “I create my own unique textures which contain an almost three dimensionality,” Areej explains. “These textures create visual patterns through conveyed shadows and depth which invites viewers to explore each piece much more closely.”
It’s no surprises that Areej has a deep connection with art, and especially with painting. She was exposed to this medium at a very young age and recalls watching with wonder as her aunt, the traditional Islamic water-colourist Sameeha Rajab, worked away at the canvas. At three-years-old, with her aunt as both inspiration and tutor, Areej began to learn about colour, materials, techniques and application. Whilst growing up, her obsession with colour and painting grew stronger. “I realised that I wanted to take it a step further so I started spending long hours studying, practicing and reading about different art aspects,” she says. “At first I was self taught, but then I pursued this passion by taking up two degrees from London Art College. One in painting and the other one in Art History.”
“Bahrain is unquestionably one of the most promising, passionate cultural hubs of the Middle East. Its flourishing art scene has affored the island an enviable reputation as one of the region’s most prolific creative voices…”
Through her latest collection “Limitless” – Areej tried to convey that obejects are not solids, and that they don’t end where we think they do. “I also explore the subtle character of colour as well as the fleeting nature of light,” she shares. “Ultimately, the work should challenge our preconceptions of colour itself and Limitless offers both an advancement and refinement of my work to date.”With a mix of pieces – some paintings that are intoxicatingly stained and layered, reworked over and over several visits to the same canvas – and others that see Areej return to a more suggestive style with paintings that bring about a feeling of surveying something, through a particularly hazy, soft-focus lens.
Bahrain born-and-raised, Areej is proud of her home country’s dedication to art. “Bahrain is unquestionably one of the most promising, passionate cultural hubs of the Middle East,” she says. “Its flourishing art scene has affored the island an enviable reputation as one of the region’s most prolific creative voices and we have a community of artists that are at the forefront of this development.” Areej’s advise for young budding artists is to spend continuous hours in their studios as it’s the only way to develop a focused line of work, and to be original and creative Stand before this artist’s work and everything you think you need to know about an artwork will melt away. All of a sudden your drive to imply structure and genre will seem like an unnecessary distraction from the sight of these pure beautiful works. It’s unequivocally right to say that Areej Rajab is an artist who began a love affair with colour in childhood and, as an adult, this passion shows no signs of waning.
GO: LIMITLESS BY AREEJ RAJAB IS AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE AT WWW.AREEJ-RAJAB.COM. ALL ARTWORK © AREEJ RAJAB 2017 COURTESY OF MESTARIA.