Visual artist Alymamah Rashed’s surrealist paintings investigate the discourse of her own body as a Muslima Cyborg of the post-internet generation; fluctuating between the east and the west.
Rashed’s notion of the Muslima Cyborg unites the fleshed body, the thobe, and a combination of the two which comes to form a third space – the one that she emits onto her canvas. Rashed engages with the cyborg not as a mechanical object but in the sense of spiritual intelligence, as a motor, or a form of technology, as opposed to artificial intelligence or programming.
I Try To Stay Above the Surface of My Earth /But I Dive Deep For You
Referencing late Algerian modernist pioneer Baya Mahieddine’s idiosyncratic form of autobiographical portraiture, her art negotiates her female subjectivity, regional folklore, and the everyday banal objects that Rashed encounters as well as the rapid social shifts that she has witnessed such as the rapid industrialisation of the Gulf region.
Rashed received her MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in 2019 and her BFA in Fine Arts at The School of Visual Arts in 2016. She participated in various exhibitions in New York City including the Czech Center, Parsol Projects, and The New School.
She is a recipient of the Masters Scholarship and the Merit Scholarship program by the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education.
She was also a fellow at the Professional Development Initiative Program sponsored by the National U.S-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education, Embassy of Kuwait, and the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. She has received multiple awards and participated in numerous exhibitions in New York City and in the Arabian Gulf region.
When asked what her inspiration was, Alymamah responded with,
“This work explores the concept of self-salvation that is birthed through the daily fluctuations of a human soul. We birth 60,000 thoughts per day and what if each of those thoughts transformed into a bodily spirit of its own? The body wanders into itself to find itself.”
“I used oil paint for my dial and it took me 2 hours to paint it. I initially started with a different painting and then decided to wipe it off and made this work. I wanted to create a body submerged in water; in between floating and diving.
Finally, the challenge I enjoyed was simply working on the smallest scaled “canvas” and finding a way to convey a grand sensation”.