Artist In Focus: Amalie Beljafla

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Saudi Gazette

An artist, author and designer, Amalie Beljafla is as unique as her origins.

Born to a rare heritage that belongs to the United Arab Emirates and Norway, Beljafla was born in Dubai in 1991. She works with mixed media and a wide array of mediums, ranging from paint, ink, wood and photography among others. She begins her story from early childhood memories. “I have spent most of my summers in Norway, where my mother comes from,” she told Saudi Gazette. “In 2009 I graduated from high school in Dubai and went to pursue my studies at the college of Central Saint Martins, London. I started with a Foundation in Art & Design and in 2010 gained my BA in Graphics and Design specializing in Illustration and Printmaking. I graduated in 2013 with an Honors Degree and then completed an MA in Communication Design also at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design,” Beljafla said.

Since her graduation she has worked with a wide range of artistic genres, published a book in 2012 and followed it up with a women’s wear collection called ‘The Flamingo’ in 2013.

“That was my first semi couture collection. In 2012 I published my first book with Hay House called ‘For You’ which combined my art work compiled with inspirational quotations, to instill positive thinking in children at a young age but can serve as a reminder to all ages of all you can be,” she explained.

In 2015, Beljafla returned to Dubai where she is currently based. Discussing her journey with art, she revealed it was a case of inheritance given the creative genes in her family. “I come from a very creative family with my Norwegian grandmother Marit being an incredible painter and source of inspiration in my life. My mother Dr. Sofie Skogen is a renowned homeopathic physician, who is the most important person in my life: not only does she have the most incredible wisdom and positive approach to life, but she balances this with a strong affinity to all that is aesthetically beautiful and I am so grateful to have her as a powerful influence in my life,” Beljafla said. Strongly influenced by women role models in her family, Beljafla is also creatively inspired by the UAE, it’s leaders and the culture. Her latest series of work titled ‘The Zayed Al Khair Collection’ was recently featured during Abu Dhabi Art Fair this year. “In my 2017 collection ‘The Zayed Al Khair Collection’, which is indeed inspired by the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sutan, who has been such an inspirational leader in shaping our Nation today. I felt this was an important collection at this time and subject matter. This particular collection was collaboration with British artist Hatty Pedder and took us two years to complete. It was such an honor to create such a meaningful collection and to celebrate Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan in such a bespoke, personal and contemporary way. I also created a collection called ‘Enlightenment’, this is a solo collection celebrating messages about life from a variety of philosophers from different cultures that I connect with,” she said.

Humbled by the response, Abu Dhabi Art Fair helped reveal her art to the world in a new light. “The response to The Zayed Al Khair Collection and Enlightenment has been incredible. To have had the opportunity to show for a second year running with Hunar Gallery in Abu Dhabi Art Fair is such a huge honor and to be viewed alongside so many talented artists. It has been really rewarding watching how the collection has been received and all the positive feedback - especially to have portrayed Sheikh Zayed it was really important to me that it was well received. I am delighted also that my Enlightenment series was also really received. After all the hard work to finally see the collections hanging and to have so much interest it truly is very humbling.”

But these subjects, do not bind her, only those that are close to her heart. “I like to follow my heart - so one time I may create a collection inspired by UAE, and then the next could be something completely different. As long as I am completely passionate about it, driven and true to myself that is the most important thing.”

While discussing an artist’s role in society she said she views art as a powerful tool that has the ability to influence and change people’s lives. “Art is everywhere really, look at how Allah created this beautiful world. But for me art is a very powerful tool to deliver a message and it is freedom of expression. It can have a very strong impact on the viewers. Artists play important role in society because they have a powerful tool for delivering messages and changing mindsets.” When asked what fuels her creativity, the answer was simple: travel. “Currently I have a few exciting projects with my business partner and Artist Hatty Pedder where we are working on many creative projects, private commissions and a few exciting campaigns. I am also in the process of planning and brainstorming ideas and concepts for my next exhibition - so it is all on the go.”

All she wants now is to exhibit in New York City and take her mother on a safari in Africa.

Check out her work on http://www.amaliebeljafla.com

‘For You’ www.amaliesbook.com

The Flamingo Collection www.tresorssauvages.com


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