Helen Abbas is a Syrian artist, living in Dubai. She has combined the influences of her origin and travels, with her everyday life. The result is a contemporary approach to Arabic abstract art.

image Helen Abbas / Courtesy of the Artist

With references to the region’s rich history of calligraphy and Arabic texts, Helen uses bold colours and type to make her work stand out. Originally from Syria, she moved to Dubai in 2000 shortly after getting married. She has been a full-time artist for about the same time and continues to be inspired by the fast paced modern Middle Eastern hub.

Her most recent collection ‘Mosaic’ is influenced by everything she’s experienced in the cosmopolitan city; including faces and places.

image Helen Abbas / Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013 / '(Jamr) Coal', The Original, 145x185 cm, Acrylic on Canvas with Gold Leafing / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013 / '(Jamr) Coal', The Original (close up), 145x185 cm, Acrylic on Canvas with Gold Leafing / Photography by Anas Rifai

"I was so fascinated by the culture in the UAE and the true Arabian influence on the mix of cultures in Dubai, in particular," she says.

"The collection talks about the diversity and culture mix with a sense of celebration and colorful images and places in all artworks," the artist reveals. Besides changing physically over the last ten years or so, Dubai has also grown and blossomed culturally and artistically. "I guess Dubai is becoming a creative pool for talents and young artists, so many artists are becoming recognized as the city grows,” she adds. "There is a lot of diversity in Dubai, lots of top international contemporary artists and many local talents around, and it’s growing all the time."

image Helen Abbas / Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013 / '(Murjaan) Coral', 140x140 cm, Special edition mixed media, Acrylic on Digital printed Canvas with Gold Leafing / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013 / '(Dahab) Gold', 140x140 cm, Special edition mixed media, Acrylic on Digital printed Canvas with Gold Leafing / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013 / '(Erdowaz) Slate', 140x140 cm, Special edition mixed media, Acrylic on Digital printed Canvas with Gold Leafing / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Mosaic Collection, Summer 2013 / '(Jamr) Coal', 140x280 cm, Special edition mixed media Acrylic on Digital printed Canvas with Gold Leafing / Photography by Anas Rifai

As well as Dubai, another huge influence in her work is the history of Arabic calligraphy. She explains what draws her to this: "The Arabic letter inspires me a lot; it’s very flexible and great to work with. I have loved calligraphy ever since I was young but I don’t see myself as a calligrapher. I like the shape of a letter especially the curves and swirls of it. I see potential in every Arabic letter no matter what style and kind of calligraphy…to me they are all pieces of art. For me it means history, art and the future as well, I can see extremely modern shapes and cleverness even in the oldest Arabic scripts."

Ramad (Ashes) Collection is a reflection of mixed emotions of sadness and hope, concerning the current situation in her home country Syria. It is heart breaking and sad, but hope is breaking out from within ashes and destruction. Her work, created in warm colors, is emerging from within tones of gray and rough textures with lots of whites and touches of green. Some artworks may look like a new life and the others like a new dawn.

image Helen Abbas / Ramad (Ashes) Collection, Summer 2013 / 'Ramad (Ashes) 01', 140x140 cm / Special edition mixed media Acrylics on Digital printed Canvas / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Ramad (Ashes) Collection, Summer 2013 / 'Ramad (Ashes) 02', 140x140 cm / Special edition mixed media Acrylics on Digital printed Canvas / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Ramad (Ashes) Collection, Summer 2013 / 'Ramad (Ashes) 03', 140x140 cm / Special edition mixed media Acrylics on Digital printed Canvas / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Ramad (Ashes) Collection, Summer 2013 / 'Ramad (Ashes) 04', 140x140 cm / Special edition mixed media Acrylics on Digital printed Canvas / Photography by Anas Rifai

image Helen Abbas / Ramad (Ashes) Collection, Summer 2013 / 'Ramad (Ashes) 01', 140x140 cm / Special edition mixed media Acrylics on Digital printed Canvas / Photography by Anas Rifai

To see the other Collections by Helen Abbas please click HERE.

Comments
  • Elvira Bojadzic
    Aug 10, 2013 - 15:08:47

    I love the colours and the composition in Helen’s work. Calligraphy is always inspiring and it is so good to see new approach smile

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