The artwork of Dubai-based artist Laila Masri examines issues concerning the social construction of the self in the context of contemporary events and gender politics. Her current exhibit “Scenes from Inside the Seraglio” at Bloomingdales in the Dubai Mall reveals the poetic nature of her work as she depicts the individual woman’s perpetual search for identity in modern society.
Abstract and organic in nature, Laila’s work provides the viewer often with but a glimpse of her actual intent making room for personal interpretation and exploration. She nevertheless describes her work as a necessary outlet into her personal portrayal of culture, humanity, spirituality, women and one’s overall identity in the contemporary world.
The strength of Laila’s work lies in her multiple experiences as a Muslim woman in North American culture allowing her to blur the boundaries between “East” and “West” in her art. She uses both film and painting to challenge constructions of the “other” often by merging the two mediums. Her style usually involves painted scenes of human beings seemingly dancing as they transition from one state into the next, one identity into another. Also incorporated are often elements of coffee, tea, ink and printed fabric, all which represent her culture in the Arab world. Continually juxtaposing and merging cultural qualities of the East and the West, Laila’s work attests the power of establishing an individual identity across gender, cultural, religious and political lines.
Laila received her BFA specializing in video and painting from the University of Western Ontario in 2006. Her work has been exhibited in London, Canada; Amman, Jordan; Marseilles, France and Dubai.
“Scenes from Inside the Seraglio” from October 26th-November 7th at Bloomingdales, Dubai Mall