Artist Rana Samara explores intimate space in new exhibit at Zawyeh Gallery

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DUBAI: Palestinian artist Rana Samara is back with another exhibition, titled “Inner Sanctuary,” at Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue arts hub.

Running until Aug. 28, the exhibition showcases 40 artworks focusing on the artist’s conception of her own intimate space from an emotional perspective.

“The exhibition is about my experiences and the stories of others,” Samara told Arab News. “It explores my personal experience in sickness, in relationships with other people, as well as the narrative of a prisoner.”

Through her paintings, Samara depicts the inside of her world by incorporating objects she spots in her daily surroundings, like the lounge, the bedroom, the corners of her favorite cafe and other familiar places.

Samara, who was born in Jerusalem, said that illustrating emotions in her paintings was not easy. She uses colors, motifs and shapes to express happiness, calmness, anxiety or frustration.

“It was a challenge for me in terms of the concept, the technique and the structure, but I was imagining 40 different paintings that are homes to 40 different stories, lined up on the walls of the same exhibition,” she explained.

One of the artworks Samara describes as the “most difficult” in “Inner Sanctuary” features a drawing of a ladder. “It’s about a prisoner’s attempt to imagine his intimate space in prison,” she said.

“I tried to present three spaces in one: his prison cell, his bedroom at home and the imaginative space that connects between both places, which is represented by the ladders,” she said. “I spent a long time executing this work.”

The painter, who has presented her work in other countries like Turkey and Lebanon, boasts previous projects that explore societal norms, sexuality, gender roles and the lives of women who reside in overcrowded refugee camps and rural communities in Palestine.