MEET MUNA AL-BADER
The Wild Blue Yonder of Qatari Art
An artist, entrepreneur, IT engineer, business analyst, and most importantly, Qatar’s art ambassador at UNESCO in the ResiliArt Talk, Muna Al-Bader is truly a woman of many talents. Her detail-intensive paintings and astounding art pieces have become nationally and regionally recognized for brilliantly adopting varying shades of blue in a contemporary way. Her paintings have been shown at many solo exhibitions in Qatar, including the Dan Danah Exhibition, the youth creative art center, and the Arab youth forum.
About the Artist
She is a rising star in the Qatari sky. She began her career as an IT engineer, but her passion for art drove her to become one of Qatar’s well known artists. Considered to be a self-taught artist, Muna started by joining local community art classes and watching YouTube videos of artists. She then started to explore her artistic abilities from there and was not afraid to use new techniques at the beginning of her art career. As a unique individual who doesn’t like to follow the rules, Muna creates her own rules instead in her painting by using different and unusual sets of bright colors. Her paintings are ones that can be heard through the daring large strokes of her brushes and the brilliant compositions of the bright colors like a beautifully composed symphony. Her main inspiration for her paintings is taken from the Qatari heritage. These include wedding ceremonies, music, and traditional pearl diving. In 2019, Muna was one of the few artists that was awarded a residency in ‘matafi’; a prestigious art program in Qatar.Muna Al Bader’s work carries deep-rooted messages, taking inspiration from both traditional and non-traditional art and seeking to connect with cultures on a global scale. “My art is exceptionally inclusive. My vision for art is as a medium for emotional communication. She is a well established Qatari artist and Qatar’s art ambassador.
During the phase is where Muna first started exploring her artistic abilities and chose to represent the Qatari culture through wedding ceremonies. Her paintings capture the various stages that lead up to the wedding day, such as the 'melka' where the groom and bride sign the marriage contract these events through the usage of bright beautiful colors.
In the initial stage of her career, Muna achieved a lot of success, She won two prizes from Sotheby's, an art aution company in the UK,one of which was by a selection from the audience. Here clientele includes H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who currently owns threee of Muna's Paintings.
From the name of this series, it is indeed inspired from the Qatari wedding ceremonies. Fascinated with the wedding settings and colors, the paintings contain a lot of captured movements and expressions from the various stages of the traditional ceremonies.
This painting is deeply rooted in Muna’s personal experience when her grandfather was sick, as she would spend most of her time at the hospital with her family. It was through art that she was able to cope and express her feelings. Today, this painting can be found in the Ministry of sport and culture of Qatar.
After ten years of painting the wedding ceremony themes. Muna decided to delve in deeper into her artistic abilities after she painted for a human rights event in Qatar. It was then that she discovered a new style of painting that would later become her trademark after she started mixing ink with oil paint. Even though this style was uncommon back in the day, it received many positive opinions from the public as well as fellow artists, who appreciated the unusual art styles. Muna’s main focus during this phase was on the color blue and its variables, as it is the name of this point in her artistic life. This new line of art helped Muna to win the ‘dhow’ festival 2018 that took place in Katara.
Muna became more involved locally and to explore new artistic areas. Her work can be seen in public spaces around Doha. She took part in the renewal of the Sheraton Hotel in Qatar by exclusively creating 18 paintings, they can be spotted in different areas inside the hotel. This was a huge step in Muna’s art career since the Sheraton is an iconic landmark in Qatar and is known to hold large conferences.
Honing and expanding her skills further, Muna took part in a street art spray painting workshop. With this skill set in hand, she created a mural at Aspire Park that was inspired by the blockade in Qatar. The mural reflects the leadership that was displayed by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bin Nasser and Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Al Thani, who both served as role models during this time.
As of now, Muna does paintings upon request whether it’s for local events or private collections.
One of the ways to preserve heritage for the generations to come is through art. The inspiration for this painting comes from the old days when men used to go out to the sea to dive for pearls.