How has your work changed or developed while you have been at the RCA?
I used to see my work as a collection of separate entities. I knew that I wanted to produce this work but I didn’t see an overall link. When I started to write my dissertation, I started seeing and forming links between my works, and now I see them as wholes instead of separate entities.
My work is mainly about my country and society, and about my understanding and perception of it. So being here and having that distance helped me to form my own visual language of my country.
What were you doing before you started studying at the RCA?
I studied graphic design at Dar Al-Hekmar University in Saudi Arabia. When I was studying I was producing art on the side and after I’d graduated I wanted to concentrate on that. I spent time preparing my portfolio and really imagining the context that I wanted my work to be in.
Can you describe what it’s like day-to-day studying at the RCA ?
It’s been very active and quick. I feel like for my practice in particular there have been a lot of changes. The first year I spent experimenting, playing around and having fun with different materials and the facilities available throughout the whole school, not just in print. This year I’ve focused on the main things that stuck out for me.
What are you working on at the moment?
In my first year I started printing on fabric and really enjoyed the outcomes. I designed some Saudi Arabian dance thobes. I’m working on developing another thobe for my degree show and also working on a video.
What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?
I feel like I have gained a lot of confidence in the work that I’m producing. That has allowed me to push forward my ideas and push my work into places I didn’t think it would go. It was also rewarding having the space to write the dissertation and to think about my work from that perspective, which has allowed me to develop my work with a strong building block to support it.
What is the mixture of students like and what are the benefits of being in an international community?
It’s a really hybrid community. Being surrounded by all these different cultures, you form different understandings and different appreciations, which in turn informs the work you produce. You get different perspectives and different views on how your work could be read and perceived from a certain culture. It has opened me up more and it’s been a really exciting part of my experience here.
I also like how each one of us comes from different backgrounds – there are multimedia artists, some people are print artists focused on traditional aspects, whereas others are more conceptual and interested in print and its meaning. So all this together in one space has informed my understanding of print and the implementation of it.
What are the main differences between your expectation of studying at the RCA and the reality?
I didn’t realise how quick and fast paced it would be. In the first year I was trying to take everything in, there are so many talks and lectures, and also London has so much going on – it was all new to me! By the end of it I learnt to be really picky and really selective about what I chose to do. Studying here is a really rich experience.
What are your plans for this year, and what do you intend to do after you graduate?
I plan to go into education; I’d like to go with everything I’ve learnt here to teach back home. I’m also planning to continue collaborating with some other print artists I’ve met here and push forward a few projects after graduation.
"Being surrounded by all these different cultures, you form different understandings and different appreciations, which in turn informs the work you produce"