“One thing that helped me develop as an artist is being in Qatar”
March 07 2018 11:01 PM
MESMERISING: Shaymaa Hussain Alyafie standing next to a woman she painted during a Living Art demo that often mesmerises the spectators. Right: ARTIST AT WORK: Shaymaa Alyafie immersed in work.

By Mudassir Raja

Shaymaa Hussain Alyafie is a young woman pursuing painting and visual arts. At the same time, she is a student of Information Technology. The talented artist is gradually making a name; the first to put out Living Art in Qatar — to mention just one facet of her diverse range.
Shaymaa will show her prowess at the Qatar Sports Club on March 10 when she paints a real living object — presenting it like a painting. This will be her second art show. In her first — held at the Katara Art Studios on February 5 — the artist turned a young woman into a canvas, figuratively speaking, and painted her.
Community recently caught up with Shaymaa to glean more about her art, education, interests and future plans.

Please tell us about yourself briefly.
I was born and brought up in Doha, and am a student of software engineering. I was gifted with the talent of being an artist and was fortunate to have it recognised as a kid — I used to love colouring and drawing.
I developed my skill by attending different art workshops at Katara. These afforded good opportunities to hone my skills and learn new techniques. I started attending the workshops in 2011 and, since then, I have been improving my work.
When I was a kid, an aunt of mine gave me a cartoon book for colouring. Instead of filling in the cartoons with colours, I made separate sketches of the cartoons. When I drew the separate sketches, my aunt noticed that I carried a gift of drawing and painting. Further, my mom always tells me that when I was a child, I used to indulge make-up.
The professional techniques of the art I learnt from two workshops conducted by a Brazilian and a Syrian artist, separately.

When did you start independent work? Have you held an exhibition of your work?
I have been doing work independently for quite some time. However, I have not yet held an independent workshop solely showing my art work. I have taken part in different workshops along with other artists. I have been thinking and working to have a separate workshop for my own work, and plan to have one this year.

How important has been your family’s support in pursuing art?
My whole family has been very supportive. They love me and my work, especially my father, who has always encouraged me. He himself is a poet and I think he can understand how I feel for my work. I will also like to mention my mother and elder sister, who have been real sources of encouragement and they have both done a lot for me.
My family tells me how I can improve my work and their feedback always helps. They always have time for me and my work. 

What kind of art are you going to exhibit at the show?
I am primarily, a visual artist. My upcoming show is about Living Art. I will select a real or living object and paint it in a way to (make it) look like a real painting. This work brings real excitement among the spectators. In my first show, I selected a young woman and painted her to give the touch of a model.
For my second show, I do not want to give out details just yet. But rest assured, the show will be amazing and exciting.

What are your future plans?
I intend to take my art work to a professional level. I continue learning. I still attend different kinds of art workshops. I follow works and workshops by an Iraqi artist in Qatar. Most of the time, he holds his workshops at the Qatar Museum. I get guidance from young artists, too. The Internet (is another source that) helps improve my work.
Is there an artist you look up to?
Yes, there are some artists I follow. There is an Iranian artist, Iman Almalki, whose work I really like. His work is so real that one cannot distinguish between the original object and the painting. And there is this Spanish artist with crazy art works, whose ideas are inspired from random thoughts and imagination. There are a few others, too.

What do you do in your leisure?
I enjoy taking part in sport like running. I also like playing volleyball. Being a student of IT, I spend a lot of my time using the Internet.
What do you intend to do after completing education?
I want to develop my own applications (apps). I may be mixing my art talent with IT skills in the future to try something new. I want to experiment.

How do you see Qatar as a place for artists?
One thing that helped me develop as an artist is being in Qatar. Actually, Qatar gives you a lot of opportunities to develop yourself as a professional. There a lot of art centres in Qatar. For me, working with these art centres was an opportunity to polish my talent. There is a lot of appreciation for artists in Qatar. 
What piece of advice would you give young female artists?
I would say, if you have passion and love for something, just go for it. If you work for it, you will get more than what you expect. Young artists need to attend workshops conducted by seasoned artists and listen to their advice.

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