Since her first gallery show in 2009, Maitha Dimithran’s high-contrast figurative photographic scans have made her one of Emirates’ rising art stars. We caught up with her in her native Dubai to ask about her work and the art scene in the UAE.
“I’ve always been interested in people and in the human condition. It started in high school, where I was very much interested in painting faces; I was naturally drawn to it. We didn’t have live models and drawing the human figure wasn’t encouraged, so I found myself constantly trying to find new ways of doing it.”“When I started scanography I started with a self-portrait and then moved to family members. I like to scan people I know and feel a connection with, as I don’t feel comfortable with strangers unless I have done a few sittings beforehand and feel that it has gone well. I love the scanning process because of its open-ended nature and you can never predict the outcome.”“A scanner is normally used for the reproduction of two-dimensional images or to make a copy from an original. In my pieces, I scan a figure in parts using an A4 flatbed scanner. I then look at the images I have gathered and sketch out some ideas. I let the process dictate the direction that the final piece will go in. After an initial sketch is thought out, I start constructing the portrait by creating a collage from all the scanned resources, selecting or rejecting each scan. I look at the quality of each image before I start constructing. What does each image say? How does it say it? How does it connect with the others?”“I feel that the artwork created in the Emirates at the moment is progressing slowly, but when compared to international art, including my own work, it needs to be stronger – both conceptually and technique-wise.”
“There also still needs to be more focus on education and this is what will affect further growth in the area. Education is as important as exhibiting. You cannot write a book if you cannot read. You cannot ‘see’ a visual unless you know the visual language. Emirati artists should be constantly reading about art and visiting museums, which is one of the best sources to learn from and improve one’s own work. On museum walls, we can find free advice and solutions.”
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