Contemporary Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz mixes maths with art

Updated 17 November 2019

Contemporary Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz mixes maths with art

  • Contemporary Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz is set to unveil her latest mathematics-inspired piece for the UAE’s Al-Burda Endowment exhibition
  • The Al-Burda Endowment exhibition will showcase the work of 10 selected artists awarded the grant in 2018

DUBAI: Contemporary Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz is set to unveil her latest mathematics-inspired piece for the UAE’s Al-Burda Endowment exhibition — organized by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development — on Nov. 21.

Abdulaziz, who often explores issues of identity and culture through her work, spoke to Arab News about her latest project and her path toward becoming an artist.

“Unfortunately, when I finished high school, I couldn’t get the chance to study art since there were no art colleges in the UAE. I decided to get a degree in mathematics because it is an interesting subject to me, as I believe art and maths are connected with each other,” the artist, whose work was exhibited as part of the UAE Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, said.




Abdulaziz, who often explores issues of identity and culture through her work, spoke to Arab News about her latest project and her path toward becoming an artist. Supplied

In 1999, she kicked off a career in the arts and hasn’t looked back since. The artist works in a variety of mediums, including installations, performance pieces and works on paper, all of which explore “human nature, culture, religion… and the workings of the human brain,” according to the artist.

“There is a connection between art and maths,” she added, explaining the link between her two passions. “I merged the two parts of my brain to get ideas and (build on this) mixture between art and maths.”

 The Al-Burda Endowment exhibition will showcase the work of 10 selected artists awarded the grant in 2018 and Abdulaziz is particularly excited about her new piece.




The artist works in a variety of mediums, including installations, performance pieces and works on paper. Supplied

“My piece for Al-Burda is a dream come true. I had this idea of making a huge installation work that involves maths, geometry and Islamic patterns. The idea… started from just a sketch… to a big acrylic painting on canvas and now it has become a 3-D work.”

The optical illusion-style work is almost trippy to look at due to its accordion-style surface and multitude of bright, block-printed colors and that boldness is also visible in her advice to budding Emirati artists.

“My advice to them is to go for it, think big, go crazy with your art. It is who you are, it is your way to express yourself,” she said.


What We Are Reading Today: Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer by Carol Sklenicka

Updated 16 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer by Carol Sklenicka

Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer captures not just a beloved woman’s life in full, but a crucial span of American history. 

Blake Bailey said in a review for The New York Times: “The disappointments of romance — ‘the great subject’of Adams’s life and work, as Carol Sklenicka writes in her new biography, Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer — were all the more muddled with her other great subject, family misery. 

“Indeed, Adams’ youth was largely a matter of amassing material for the late-blooming literary career. The end of her dismal marriage to Mark Linenthal coincided with her first published story, Winter Rain, at 32, whereupon she resumed having love affairs for many years.”

Bailey added: “As a writer Adams was often compared to Mary McCarthy, Jane Austen and John Updike, but her own favorite touchstone was F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose work she read again and again. Certainly, Adams’ stories tend to proceed as a series of evocative, loosely ordered set pieces, impressions — or better just call them memories.”