1xRUN is excited to welcome Dina Saadi, a contemporary artist, muralist, and designer living and working in Dubai. Born in Russia and raised in Syria, Saadi studied fine art in Damascus and opened a small design studio there in 2014. When the region became consumed by brutal civil war, she moved to Dubai to pursue a career at an advertising agency.
In her debut release with 1xRUN, Saadi pays homage to the great Frida Kahlo. “Friducha” is a limited edition of 30 uniquely hand-embellished portraits of Kahlo, each displayed on top of a variety of individually hand-painted background designs. “Friducha” drops Wednesday, October 23rd; stay tuned for your chance to grab one of 30 uniquely hand-painted prints, and read on for an exclusive interview with the artist.
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
Dina Saadi: Frida has always been an iconic source of inspiration to me! When I think about her story, I feel empowered to be a braver and more honest version of myself.
I was raised in a small and relatively conservative community in Syria, and although my family was supportive of my growth and self-expression, most of the time I didn’t feel like I can truly and fully express my thoughts or be myself.. and perhaps I still can’t do that to some extent.
I painted this mural in my house because every time I look at it, it takes me back to the first time I heard Frida’s story and was introduced to her work. I remember feeling butterflies in my stomach! I felt happy & excited that a female artist like her existed and I related to her personality and courage a lot as I wasn’t able to do or say the things she stood up for at that time. I felt like I had a voice through her which gave me such power and drive to keep being me unapologetically and without feeling guilty for not conforming to the status quo in my community. This mural is a self-reminder to never compromise to please others.
1x: Was this image part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Saadi: Actually this piece was created initially as a mural in my house. Frida has always been an iconic source of inspiration to me so I chose to create a mural as a tribute to her in my own space but wanted to share it with others too since it wasn’t painted in a public space.
1x: What materials were used to create this original piece and when was it created?
Saadi: The mural was created in February of 2018, using acrylics paint and spray cans.
1x: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for this image?
Saadi: For this mural, I wanted to focus on Frida’s face and re-create a tropical paradise around her, as a tribute to her and to myself! I also tried to give her a majestic yet graceful look, positioning her as a queen or saint of some sort. This was done using my tropical patterns, floating lines on a deep purple (a color that has been associated with royalty & power) background to make the focus on the center.
When It comes to the prints, using acrylic markers, I gave each and every piece a unique nature-inspired background, Some heavier with details than others to make them as diverse as possible and to give each print its own personality.
1x: How long did each of this image take to create from start to finish?
Saadi: Around 1.5hr for each print’s hand embellishment, some took more time.
1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
Saadi: I believe that the composition in this artwork is unique and a little different from other murals I’ve done previously. In my other murals, there is a lot of detailed patterns and colors in the background; however, in this one it’s more focused on the center of the piece. There is also a mystical motion among the lines around her portrait resembling an aura of colors as a reference to the creativity and inspiration she gave to the world.
1x: Why should people buy this one of these prints?
Saadi: This is my first hand-embellished limited edition print. I worked on each print by hand and put so much love to create a unique style in each background to give each print it’s own character and personality.
1x: Describe this image in one gut reaction word.
1x: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Saadi: I have started painting since I was a little child. I grew up experimenting with different mediums then I studied visual communication in collage and worked as a graphic designer for few years before I started working on murals. I painted a potato when I was 5 years old.
1x: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Saadi: Early it was Andy Warhol. For now, there are so many different artists like Olek, Nomad Clan, Allison Tinati/Hueman, David Puck, Etam Cru, Felipe Pantone, Antonio Segura Donat aka Dulk1, Icy and Sot just to name only a few.
1x: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Saadi: I almost always listen to music while I work. I do not have a specific genre I listen to as I’d like to listen to any happy positive beats because it helps my creative process
1x: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Saadi: I can name so many, but let’s say any of the artists I mentioned above. Andy Warhol.
1x: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Saadi: I bought a little art figurine from an exhibition when I was in school, No i don’t have it anymore. The last was three little artworks that I bought during my last trip to Peru.
1x: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Saadi: I have a project in Malawi Africa soon that I’m really excited about.