04/03/2018 | 16:23

Q&A with Jawaher Al Khayyal



As one of Art Dubai ’s main partners, Maison Piaget is a world-leading jewelry organization that is reputable for its commitment to excellent craftsmanship. In collaboration with The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheika Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Maison Piaget has commissioned the young Emirati artist Jawaher Al Khayyal to create an installation piece that will be exhibited at the fair, entitled ‘Summer Muse’. Marking her debut at the fair this March, Al Khayyal spoke to Art Dubai about her artistic inspiration, her thoughts on the UAE’s art scene, and her carefully executed vision for the commission.



Artist Portrait. Courtsey of Stephanie Moukarzel, @wanderwithstephanie.

1. Congratulations on winning the commission, what are your plans for the exhibition? What can visitors expect at the Piaget Lounge?


Thank you. Indeed, this is an important milestone in my evolving career. The affiliation with esteemed organizations such as The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Maison Piaget is an opportunity artists aspire to have. Participating in Art Dubai represents a great accomplishment not only on a local level, but a way forward for me to expand on an international one. For the exhibition, I’ve designed an interactive art installation that plays with shadow and light. ‘Summer Muse’ embodies the glamorous lifestyle of the Piaget woman and the inspiring, radiant aura she boosts around her. I expect the installation to attract people of all ages and backgrounds to the Piaget Lounge to experience the piece.



2. How do you think people can interact with it?


‘Summer Muse’ is an interactive art installation that is designed as a seat that a person can lounge on and gently twirl left and right. This subtle motion is inspired by the natural movement

of feathers, leaves and water. Atop the seat, light is captured through a textured magnifying lens, which gets reflected off the brass frame to cast a scattered array of light, embracing the seated person. As the person moves left and right, shimmering shadows form and light plays around them. By interacting with the piece, the person can experience what it is like to be a Piaget woman – strong, unique, and confident.



3. How did you come to arrive at the motto “Summer Muse”?


‘Summer Muse’ is inspired by the ‘Life is a Party’ cuff from Maison Piaget’s ‘Sunny Side of Life’ high jewelry collection. I imagined the charismatic personality of an elegant woman who is socializing in a poolside party on a summer evening, radiating with confidence. She is the ‘Summer Muse’, and my installation represents her glamorous lifestyle and the radiant aura she boosts around her.



4. Going back to the cuff, was that the piece that you saw and that’s what inspired you to actually make the installation that rotates?


In ‘Summer Muse’, I was inspired by the shape and colors of Piaget’s ‘Life is a Party’ cuff. The installation’s round seat represents the cuff’s central precious stone, surrounded by a gold frame. Capturing the spirit of Piaget’s ‘Sunny Side of Life’ collection, I opted for brushed brass coating in the installation to emphasize its radiance. Also, the texture of the piece itself resembles Piaget’s unique savoir-faire in its shimmering, seamless effect.



Iqra, by Jawaher Al Khayyal. Courtesy of the Artist.



5. Looking at your previous work, this is very often at the intersection between art and interior design. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?


While my academic concentration was particularly in interior design, I am consistently exploring various design fields. I am mostly interested in creating purposeful spaces. Most of my work tends to be inspired primarily by our Emirati culture and heritage and how to capture its essence and deliver it in a contemporary way.


I consider this project as a turning point for me in the direction of my work. Moving forward, I aspire to design spaces that anyone and everyone can relate to as global citizens of the world. Spaces have the power to evoke specific behaviors and feelings. I therefore aim to explore the breadth of my creativity to create spaces in an urban environment that people can experience on a human level for a greater impact.



6. Where do you take your inspiration from? Is there a driving force behind your work?


While my academic concentration was particularly in interior design, I am consistently exploring various design fields. I am mostly interested in creating purposeful spaces. Most of my work tends to be inspired primarily by our Emirati culture and heritage and how to capture its essence and deliver it in a contemporary way.


I consider this project as a turning point for me in the direction of my work. Moving forward, I aspire to design spaces that anyone and everyone can relate to as global citizens of the world. Spaces have the power to evoke specific behaviors and feelings. I therefore aim to explore the breadth of my creativity to create spaces in an urban environment that people can experience on a human level for a greater impact.



7. Have you ever exhibited at Art Dubai before? Will this be your first time?


No, this will be my first time. As an Emirati artist, I’m both delighted and proud to be part of this edition of Art Dubai, an inspiring exhibition and creative platform. I am grateful to both The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Maison Piaget for creating such an opportunity for young artists in the UAE to grow and be recognized.



8. Have you ever been to Art Dubai? If so, do you have any favorite elements or anything that you are specifically looking forward to seeing, in addition of course the Piaget Lounge?


The artworks and pieces showcased at Art Dubai are consistently diverse every year. I always look forward to appreciating the artwork, experiencing their stories, and being immersed into the captivating essence of it all. This year I also look forward to participating in the exhibition through

The Piaget space at Art Dubai 2017. Courtesy of Piaget.

The Cultural Office and Piaget’s collaboration, and to displaying ‘Summer Muse’ at the Piaget Lounge.



9. What is your view on the young, developing art scene in the UAE?


The growing art scene in the UAE is quite exciting. I am really passionate about and interested in the way artists are evolving in the UAE and how differently emerging Emirati and regional artists perceive design itself. There are lots of opportunity and support for talents. In the UAE’s developing art scene, we are fortunate to have organizations like The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that provide aspiring, emerging, and established UAE-based artists and designers with a platform that supports, recognizes and nurtures talents.



10. In your opinion, what do commissions such as the one between Piaget and TCO actually mean for UAE-based artists? What does it mean for your career in particular?


I think such a collaboration between The Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Maison Piaget reflects their joint vision and commitment to support UAE-based artists, encourage them to contribute to the growing art scene, and bring their creations to the international forefront. The ‘Sunny Side of Life’ commission in particular offered me an opportunity as an Emirati designer to work closely with an international brand, enlightening my perspectives and inspiring me to aim bigger.