An intense artist, keen children story writer and experienced teacher, the versatile Lina al-Aali has been associated with different public and private organisations for educational and social works.
For the Qatari, who has taken part in numerous exhibitions and penned some story books, art is an expression of one’s inner self. She predominantly expresses womanhood. As a story writer, she feels she still is a child from within.
To have more insight about her journey, work and accomplishments, Community recently interviewed the artist at length.
With a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Qatar University, Lina has been associated with the field of education for about 21 years. “I am a mother and wife but also I am an artist, writer and certified trainer in arts and crafts. I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Qatar Society of Fine Arts; member of the International Society of Arts in Doha; visual arts co-ordinator at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education; member of the jury of the primary book for the future children’s writer; member of the Qatar Authors Forum; and former member of the theatrical season evaluation committee 2018.”
Like many other creative individuals, Lina also has been expressing her love for art and creativity since her early childhood. Once she realised how strong her inclination toward the art is, she decided to go on and obtain professional education in art. “I loved art from a young age, and used to go and attend a free studio at the time. I also loved art classes at my school after I realised that I have a passion for creativity.”
With the passage of time, Lina has developed her signature style in paintings. She prefers acrylic colours but sometimes uses lead or charcoal also. The artist has taken part in numerous national and international exhibitions representing Qatar. “I primarily rely on works using acrylic colours but sometimes I also use charcoal or lead. What distinguishes my artistic line is the expression of the woman in my own style. It is within me and it is an expression.
“The exhibitions I have so far attended are: art exhibition ‘Zhou’ in April 2016; a joint exhibition ‘Female Features’ 2017; Exhibition in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 2019; Qatar National Exhibition 2014 – 2015; the Ardu 2015; the ‘Metro Art’ 2016, International Art Exhibition ‘Mushroom’ 2017; Al Khalabi Creativity Forum 2016; Qatar Through Your Eyes Exhibition 2016; Bahrain Art Forum (Hind Gallery) 2017; Katara Murals 2017; Creative Art Exhibition in Fire Department 2017; International Women’s Day Exhibition at Hamad Bin Khalifa University 2017; International Artists Exhibition, Dubai April 2017; ‘Loving the Nation’ in Gulf Mall; ‘House of Wisdom’ exhibition at the Ministry of Culture 2017; 50F50 exhibition in Markhiya Gallery; International Art Society exhibition in Doha 2018; Kuwait Symposium 2018; The Arab Artists Symposium in China 2018; Al-Othman House Museum, Kuwait 2019; Qatar Society of Fine Arts Exhibition 2019; ‘Feelings’ exhibition Jordan 2019; and Gallery 50 in 50, Al Markhiya Gallery 2020.”
Talking about her interest in writing stories for children and the nature of those stories, Lina said: “I always feel that still there is a child inside me. The child loves to write for herself. Since my childhood, I have loved reading the stories of Mickey Mouse and then I moved to the stories of Agatha Christie [English writer] and Anis Mansour [Egyptian writer]. I started writing for the kids to participate in the Children’s Literature Award and then released two books with Rosa Publishing House, and currently I have three stories with Hamad Bin Khalifa publishing house.
“My books are namely; Adeedah Hababa, The Book with Legs, Desert Rose, and Al Yarawa. A new book is coming up with six historical stories that will be published by Hamad bin Khalifa publishing house.”
Lina has received awards for her writings. She has also taken an initiative regarding literature for children. The writer also does some volunteering work as well. “I have won third place for the best theatrical text for dolls in the Center for Theatre Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Sports. I took the initiative for children’s literature with the Qatar Forum for Authors 2020. I have also been volunteering my services for Qatar Cancer Society in the field of child literature.”
For the artist, art is simply a medium of expression. One can improve one’s art with continuous learning and practice. “Art is an expression of what is inside us, and without continuous practice we do not live up to the best. So, if you want to specialise, you must continue educating yourself.”
The recent months no doubt have been tough for people at large owing to the social isolation and physical distancing caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Staying at home, however, has provided an opportunity to the creative minds as they got some free time for themselves. Lina however, thinks it made not much of a difference for her as she has already been spending much of her time painting and writing. “We, as writers or artists, dedicate ourselves to writing, drawing and home reservations. For me, the only change was having little more time for writing and painting.”
When asked for her opinion about the works of young artists, she said: “First, they should adopt a style that is specific to them. They must not follow a style adapted from others. They should try all methods to find a way to convince themselves about their own style. If you are not convinced yourself, you will not be able to convince other people.”
Lina is all praise for artists in Qatar as they continue pouring love for the country and the leadership during the blockade time. “Qatar is like a mother for us. We all belong to it. As an artist, I continue to spread a positive message among the community by painting to show how Qatar is avoiding the bad words used against it by the blockading countries. We are not responding to the bad words on social media. Our response has been that we love Qatar and the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani more.”
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