I was drawn to art at a very early age and was greatly inspired by my late grandmother, the 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. My multicultural background also influences me heavily. Turkey’s rich cultural heritage has always fascinated me and I’m very drawn to Ottoman history. My Swedish roots on the other hand take me back to nature, along with a love for simplicity, ‘freshness’ and minimalism. However, being born and raised in Jordan, I feel thoroughly Jordanian, and I always try to infuse a touch of ‘Arabness’ in my art. I definitely feel fortunate to have these various influences in my life, as a person and as an artist, and I suppose there are elements of all of them in my work.
I have a background in urban design which is why the majority of my works are of urban landscapes. 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. Over time however I began painting things that were more from nature and less man made- things that were culturally symbolic such as pomegranates and fish, and I often extended into abstraction.
My current works are an amalgamation of both- I describe them as “surreal fusions of nature and city”, as they revolve around the relationship between cities, their inhabitants and nature. In this age of rapid urbanization we run the risk of losing our connection to the natural world- its seas, its valleys, its forests. The physical and mental escape one finds in nature is invigorating and empowering and maintaining this bond is essential- so I’ve been taking this concept and attempting to portray it in colourful and impactful ways. Relying on a wide variety of media and juxtaposing different textures, I attempt to express this concept of “ecoliving”- a utopian way of life. The colours are revitalizing and happy, as is nature’s effects on the soul and spirit. I have a weakness for soulful subjects and whimsical expression. Feel-good colours, all forms of contrast and interesting juxtapositions through mixed media are what interest me.
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.
What I love about creating art is reaching a certain point in the process where I find that I am no longer in charge, because I’ve created something that has come alive, and that something is now directing me - so I surrender to the authority of my work.