UAE-based artist transforms everyday objects into art

The artist has been transforming everyday objects into art for the last nine years. (Instagram)
Short Url
Updated 24 May 2020

UAE-based artist transforms everyday objects into art

DUBAI: If you walk into the new Radisson RED Hotel in Dubai’s Digital Park, you will be greeted by many vibrant, cheerful colors. It is hard to miss the work of Afghan-American pop artist Maria Iqbal, one of the artists commissioned to bring the property alive through art. 

“Literally every nook and cranny of the space is covered with my digital illustrations. It is a Millennial-friendly hotel. Young people are obsessed with social media, hence every surface is worthy of an Instagram shot,” Iqbal told Arab News. 

Born in Kabul, the artist was raised in the UAE, and she has been transforming everyday objects into art for the last nine years. 

“I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I’ve taken art classes but found them limiting. I studied marketing in college because art schools stressed theory and talk over creativity.” 

Iqbal naturally gravitated towards pop art.

“My work is my commentary on the world, and I want to live in a fantasy world,” the artist said. “I’m not ashamed to say it.” 

There is nothing Iqbal cannot transform into art; she sees the world as her canvas. She started out customizing furniture and has since transitioned to painting bags. 

“I truly believe that art lives among us and not just on our walls or on a canvas,” Iqbal said.

She credits this region for giving her the right platform for her voice.

“Pop art is very popular in this region; the UAE is a young and fashion-forward country.  Since pop culture is very relevant in the age of social media, it has seen a natural progression toward the distillation of pop art, which celebrates fun, boldness, beauty and fashion. Pop art is youthful, hopeful, uplifting and empowering,” the artist said.

Currently working on her first book, Iqbal serves as a great reminder of how you can carve out your own niche and follow your passion.


‘On the Rocks’ — Bill Murray is a steal in this dad-daughter outing

Updated 25 October 2020

‘On the Rocks’ — Bill Murray is a steal in this dad-daughter outing

CHENNAI: Bill Murray is the most endearing aspect from “On the Rocks,” Sofia Coppola’s seventh film as writer-director. Behind his trademark deadpan expression, Murray still has twinkle and mischief in his eyes. And he brings out the same kind of lonely wistfulness we saw in his earlier association with Coppola in 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” in which he and Scarlett Johansson meet in a Tokyo hotel and find comfort in each other. There was no romance there, as there is none in his latest outing as Felix. Daughter Laura (played by Rashida Jones, who has starred in “I Love You, Man” and “The Social Network”) is troubled thinking that her life is about to go into a tailspin. 

“On the Rocks” is now on Apple TV+. Supplied

“On the Rocks” — on Apple TV+ and set in New York — is just as sentimental and sweet as “Lost in Translation.” As Coppola’s latest adventure begins, we see Felix, who has made his millions as an art dealer, in the lap of luxury with a chauffeured Mercedes, first-class hotels and sensational magic in his persona. But having divorced his wife many moons ago, he longs to nurture the relationship with his daughter Laura, who is married to the very successful Dean (Marlon Wayans) with two lovely daughters. 

However, in a kind of mid-marriage crisis, Laura begins to have doubts about Dean’s fidelity, especially after he gets busy with his new professional venture that takes him away on frequent trips. His “leggy” assistant, Fiona, accompanies him, and Laura confides this to her dad, who weaves stories of all that could be happening between Dean and his assistant. Felix suggests that they follow the possibly philandering husband, and a troubled Laura gets talked into it.

“On the Rocks” has great moments, and is compelling to a great extent. Supplied

All this leads to hilarious situations with Felix always being in command, even when cops catch him speeding as he is trying to tail Dean’s cab. Wittily calm and composed, he is the sort of guy who will unabashedly say to a passing stranger that she looks ravishing and get away with it, much to his daughter’s consternation.

“On the Rocks” has great moments, and is compelling to a great extent, with Murray engaging us with full-of-life banter. Jones matches up to him, a nervous wife tottering on the edge of what has been a great marriage. She hides her angst with remarkable alacrity, trying to play a good mother to her kids, while her dad leads her up the garden path. “On the Rocks” is happily no weepy tale, and Coppola spices it up.