23-year-old Saudi artist Alia Ahmad might live in London (where she is studying at the Royal College of Art), but her work is a beacon of how much Ahmad misses her home country.
There is a resounding sense of simplicity to Ahmad’s work. It immediately transports you to a seemingly sunnier, happier place. And that, in part, is because of her hazy colour palette, which transcends her work to become almost dream-like.
“I always try to find a balance between something that is quite muted or sandy with something that is quite strong, yet agrees with its surroundings”, Ahmad says.
“Everything that I paint is unplanned”, she says before adding, “I always found a sense of comfort in creating something that was quite obvious to read”. Ahmad paints familiar landscapes but her art comes off as almost experimental, like it relies entirely on instinct.
Drawing on meticulous research and observation, Ahmad “grew tired of the informal way of making things out of thin air” and ”just wanted something from the outside to teach me what to do instead”, she explains.
Ahmad’s depictions of nature have a childlike air to them. There’s an inherent sense of peacefulness and melancholia to them, as if she is representing a mythical time and place that could have been.
The result, which reveals a spiritual connection between the artist and the outdoors, is strangely haunting. In a world where most people feel stressed, Ahmad’s work provides a tranquil hideaway from the pressure of modern life; and is a constant reminder for us to pause.