UAE: Meet 9-year-old Emirati artist who wowed art fraternity with her thought-provoking work

Nine-year-old Maitha was beaming with pride as the Emirati child artist witnessed the inauguration of an art gallery exhibiting her work. Maitha Khalilabdul Wahid was the youngest artist at the launch and establishment of the MRK Contemporary Art Gallery, which aims to celebrate and promote the works and masterpieces of Emirati artists, including child prodigy artists, to preserve the rich diversity of Emirati culture.
Inaugurated by Mohammed Al Murr, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation and former speaker of the UAE FNC, the launch saw the presence of renowned Emirati artists, such as Dr Najat Makki, Abdul Qader Al Rayes, Faisal Abdul Qader, and Khalil Abdul Wahid (Maitha’s Father).
Promoting works of pioneering Emirati artists
Maitha, along with two more Emirati child artists, wowed the art world cognoscenti with their thought-provoking works that were done in digital art forms.
Explaining her art pieces that were primarily digital sketches of girls displaying their different emotions, little Maitha said, “My art works display different phases we girls experience in our daily lives and how we want people to understand us. Just drawing these different forms makes me happy. My father, who is also an artist, always encourages me to draw what I love. Today is one of the most memorable days of my life as this is the first time my artworks are being displayed at such a reputed gallery.”
Hailed as a painting prodigy, Maitha displayed around 10 artworks, some of which also showcased her concern about the Earth in the wake of global warming and pollution.
Another self-taught Emirati teenager, Aisha Abdul Karim, displayed around nine artworks that focused on fashion illustrations showing women from various backgrounds, colours and ethnicities. The 14-year-old says her focus on art is realism and fashionable women and girls.
“I am glad and nervous at the same time as this is the first time my works are being displayed publicly and are being appreciated by some reputed artists from around the world. Art motivates me and encourages me to take up new challenges. If I feel satisfied with my artwork, my day goes well, and I want to keep the creativity going. It just makes me very happy,” says the teenager, who aims to become an engineer when she grows up.
Located in two spaces at Mazaya Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, MRK’s hugely attended opening night was graced by Ambassadors, Consul Generals, Media, art institution leaders, businessmen, collectors, artists and art lovers. The gallery mainly promotes pioneering Emirati artists, including the works of child prodigies, many of whom are Emiratis.
Mohammed Al-Murr explains that each gallery enriches the cultural scene of the Emirates. “MRK Contemporary Art Gallery will further provide an opportunity for Emirati artists and others to display their talent,” he said.
“Dubai can be described as an art hub, the hub of happiness and development and a melting pot of cultures,” said Meena Rao Kamal, a well-known abstract landscape artist and Founder and Owner of the eponymous gallery. “The incredible transformation of Dubai and the UAE following the vision of its Founding Fathers and Rulers has been beautifully documented by the pioneering Emirati artists of the Emirates.”
Though the promotion of Emirati artists is the main mission of MRK Contemporary, its collection showcases Eurabian (European + Western) artists. The Eurabian artworks in the gallery’s collection are predominantly influenced by Arabic and Islamic features and have been sourced from renowned international artists from the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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