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ABOUT

 

My name is Nissa Raad (Fakhrelnissa Raad)  and I'm a Jordanian artist - born in Amman in 1981. I graduated from Brown University in 2002 with a BA in history before receiving an MSc in urban development and design from UCL, London, in 2004.

But now I paint.

I've had several sold out solo exhibitions in Amman and in Istanbul, and have participated in numerous group exhibitions both locally and internationally as well as contemporary art fairs in Dubai, Istanbul, Beirut, Paris, New York, Cairo and Madrid. 

 

Princess Nissa Raad painting in her studio

 I was drawn to art at a very early age and was greatly inspired by my late grandmother, the Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid. As a child, I was mesmerized by her paintings, which covered every visible surface- walls, ceilings and even floors. The dazzling kaleidoscope of colours and forms had a lasting effect on me and my approach to art throughout my life. 

 

 I'm Swedish on my mother's side and I have Turkish roots - an eclectic background which has influenced my style of art and there are elements of all these cultures in my work.

     

       In general I have a weakness for minimalistic symbolism and soulful subjects- and for the artistic process itself. My background in urban design explains why the majority of my early works are of urban landscapes- Middle Eastern and Mediterranean towns in particular. My city, Amman, is often referred to as the “White City”, and as a child I wanted to colour each house a different colour, as if the city was a blank canvas. In soulful cities, there are so many charming little architectural details that one might fail to notice- especially in older neighbourhoods.  
 

Recently however I've become happily lost in minimalist botanicals and in the freedom of abstraction - organic expressions inspired by the outdoors.  

The simplicity of natural forms appeals to me.

Rich texture and bold lines appeal to me.

Interesting juxtapositions through mixed media appeal to me.

 

​I always rely on a wide variety of media and different textures and I'm drawn to colours that are revitalizing and happy, as is nature’s effects on the soul and spirit. The artistic process is much more important to me than the actual product - the creation of the piece and how much of yourself is poured into the work and how much you receive in return as an artist is far more significant than the final physical outcome. The painting guides me and tells me what it wants in a visual conversation where I often approach the blank canvas with no predetermined plan and paint impulsively, guided by an inner force, emotion or mood. I surrender to spontaneity and create layers of chaos through a series of random impulsive actions, after which I re-examine what has emerged on the canvas. I find myself searching for what is of value and what is dispensable. This pleasantly challenging process is repeated several times, layer after layer of chaos followed by “sanity”, until the work tells me that it is complete and I feel no more visual anxiety.  

I reach a certain point in the process where I find that I'm no longer in charge, because I've created something that has come alive, and that something is now directing me - and I surrender to the authority of my work. 

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