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Aula Al Ayobi’s solo show entitled “Face Print” at Gallery Tilal, concentrates on some of the most fascinating women in Arab history. Her work is very joyous and fits right in with mainstream contemporary art.

By Deepa Pant, April (2011) edition of bazaar
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Al Ayoubi's Rendition of Soad Hosny
Al Ayoubi's Rendition of Soad Hosny

Aula Al Ayobi’s women are enigmatic, glamorous and theatrical. With natural ease, Al Ayobi captures iconic women from the Middle East on her canvas, be it Faten Hamama, Umm Kulthoum, Soad Hosny or Fairuz.

Her larger-than-life images and her attention to the minutest details make for a wonderful viewing experience. Take, for example, the pieces depicting the legendry singer Fairuz or the Cinderella of Egyptian cinema - Soad Hosny in a red beret. Both are indeed very refreshing. Al Ayobi’s brushstrokes are dynamic, compositions impeccable and colors brilliant.

Her unique portraitures are instantly recognizable. Admirably rich in nuance and details, Al Ayobi paints with captivating grace.

Al Ayobi displays remarkable versatility in her work as she works meticulously to unfold the many cultural icons in her colorful renderings. Her paintings proceed through a number of drafts – conceptualizing, texturing, glazing and layering.

Most of her work is an emotional response to the myriad women who have contributed immensely in varied fields. Lavishly textured, the women on Al Ayobi’s canvases have a sensuous and languid quality. Her works are colorful in fiery hues and yet they often surprise you with a dash of muted gold here and there.

“Women are more expressive than men,” she admits candidly and then goes on to explain her creative process.

Al Ayobi uses collage technique and mixed media to bring layered depth to her work as well as spilled paints to bring out the texture of the skin. She uses oils and acrylics and incorporates newsprint, and gold paint with thick and flat brush strokes. “Collage lends a feminine touch when combined with intricate orientations,” she explains.

Al Ayobi’s penchant for layering is quite evident. She juxtaposes handprints, geometrical shapes like circles, triangles and squares. “The shapes help me add more emotions to my works,” she adds. What is outstanding in Al Ayobi’s work is the sense of balance between form, line and color.

One of her most poignant paintings at the exhibition is “Untitled” in bright hues of yellows and blues, depicting the bond between a mother and daughter.

A multi-tasker, Al Ayobi says that she starts three or four of her works simultaneously and keeps alternating between them. It can take her anywhere between an hour to even a month to complete her work. “I could be inspired by a verse of a poem or a song,” she says.

Al Ayobi considers herself lucky for being surrounded by people who encourage her immensely and says her husband was decisive in the awakening of her artistic calling.

“I follow my own independent creative path, and do not follow any traditional schools or artists,” she says. “Art is all about carving your own niche with constant learning and evolution.”

Al Ayobi is a seasoned artist with many awards and accolades to her credit. She has come a long way since her first foray in 2000 and continues to create quite a flurry of interest amongst connoisseurs at art auctions.

Al Ayobi has widely exhibited in Syria and Kuwait and her work featured in private collections.


Gallery Tilal is located in Al Tilal Complex, Jahra Road, Shuwaikh. For more information, please call: 2225 6101.

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