Saudi Artist Mashael Fal Uses Her Canvas to Join East and West

An artist on a mission, Mashael Fal is a painter, designer and entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia who is making her mark on the international art scene by using her canvas to highlight the outspoken woman of Arabia. Known for being profoundly inspired by her heritage and culture, Fal is all about promoting female empowerment by highlighting the Arabian woman as beautiful, strong and outspoken yet profoundly entrenched in her roots.

Her paintings also portray a peaceful merger between East and West that she believes makes up the contemporary woman of today. This can be seen in her use of modern westernized elements combined with her signature veils and traditional textile pattern called the ‘Shalki’ that is synonymous with Saudi and the Gulf region.

Fal made her awaited return to New York this year at Art Expo where her booth was the usual head turner and lived up to the Saudi-born artist’s way of adding her personal touch and twist of diversity and multiculturalism to the mix. Decorated with traditional Saudi fabrics and items rarely used in art fairs; the booth was a hit amongst New York art lovers who stopped to admire the paintings and snap photos with the traditionally dressed Saudi artist; enthusiasts included celebrity comedian and actor Anthony Anderson.

New York Show - Mashael with comedian Anthony Anderson
Mashael alongside Comedian and Actor Anthony Anderson at Art Expo, New York

Photo Credit: Dr. Doaa Alsaleh

Fal also made her first appearance in the Middle East at a solo exhibition in Cairo. The star-studded event was attended by the crème de la crème of the country including former Egyptian president ANWAR SADAT’s wife Dr. Jihane Sadat who was a guest of honor at the exhibit. Dr. Jihane was deemed the highlight of this show according to Fal who is a great admirer of strong women, particularly Sadat who has been a beacon of intellect and positive influence for women around the world. Fal gifted her a customized portrait she painted of the late president in which she pays tribute to him, “I have always had much respect for SADAT, an exemplary leader whose legacy lives on to this day in the heart of Egypt and the world; I am honored that my painting of him has found a permanent home on the walls of his residence – a dream come true!”

The showcased collections in New York and Egypt included a number of new works by Fal and one of her most notable pieces: Frida Kahlo in Saudi – a painting in which the iconic Mexican painter is seen wearing a veil in a piece that imagines her visiting Saudi Arabia.

Mashael made her debut onto the international art scene in 2014 during ART BASEL in Miami. She has since been very active in exhibiting her latest works around the world and most recently in the Arab world for the first time through her solo show in Egypt.

Her passion for art and design have inspired her to create her own brand that views shoes as canvases and carries the ‘Shalki’ pattern on the sole. This pattern has been used for generations in the Gulf region, particularly in Saudi and comes in a variety of colors. The ‘Shalki’ has become a dominant component in Fal’s works and now in the sole of her shoes that are being worn by celebrities from the Western and Arab world, and have been featured in the April issue of Vogue Brazil magazine.

Today Fal travels the world in search of inspiration. She has received major acclaim from international and Middle Eastern audiences alike and is moving into the Far East where she is scheduled to showcase her new collection at Shanghai Art Fair this coming November.