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How this artist’s Emirati identity affected her illustrations

Alia Al Hammadi, Emirati artist reveals how her identity is her biggest inspiration

Gazebo x Alia Al Hammadi

An Emirati illustrator recently collaborated with a Dubai-based restaurant known for its biryanis. Alia Al Hammadi, a rising star in the city’s art scene, created paintings that highlighted the UAE’s cultural richness.

Her partnership with the restaurant Gazebo depicts a varied gathering of people enjoying a lunch. The vivid image depicts the restaurant’s delights while encouraging togetherness and inclusivity. In an interview with City Times, she explained, “The collaboration was an opportunity to showcase the UAE’s rich cultural tapestry, highlighting how, despite our diverse backgrounds, we are united by traditions such as sharing meals during Ramadan.” Projects like these allow me to express my passion for my nation and, hopefully, inspire others to see it through the same loving and inclusive perspective.


“I have fond memories of visiting Gazebo as a child, so it was a project that really hit close to home for me,” Alia added.

Alia was born and raised in Sharjah, where she also attended school. She used to sit in the corner of her class and scribble on the margins of her schoolbooks while the teacher wasn’t looking. “I studied English language and translation in college but honestly and weirdly, whenever I got to be creative, especially in those post-graduation projects, I really felt fulfilled,” she said.

Her Emirati Identity Being Her Source

Alia claimed everywhere she looks, it’s just part of living in her nation. “When anything related comes up, the ideas simply flow. It’s because everything originates from a personal perspective. As an Emirati, I find it easier to draw inspiration from my personal experiences and recollections of the UAE. Everything about it, from the views to the sounds, holds poetic importance for me. So it’s only natural for me to make art that represents it. It’s wonderful, truly.”

“My identity as an Emirati artist is inextricably linked with my illustrations. It’s mirrored in the memories and experiences that fuel my work. Whether it’s the sights, sounds, or people of the UAE, they all make their way into my work in some manner.” She said.

Watch: A collection of Alia’s artworks

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