In 1994, after graduating with a Masters in architecture in Moscow and to escape the Yemeni civil war, Yusra and her husband and 4 year-old son, moved to Bahrain. A new life lay ahead them in an estranged desert island, and it was there that her love of art really developed. From her early days being immersed in Russian arts and culture, Yusra always had a fascination with the subject, but she soon found could never be satisfied with the stringent theory and methodology of realism; in her eyes its rigid rules and order give no real room for self-expression.
Realism is beautiful if your goal is to mimic nature, like painting a basket of fruits, but art for me had to be more than just getting the strokes just right, or the shadows at the right angle, or the perspective accurately, and so I was aimlessly looking for something that could open the floodgates of my emotions. Over the years I began to doodle in my sketchbook, elongated figures, grotesque amalgamations and compositions that were as confused and lost as I was, and that was when I realized art can be a photograph of my psyche, and the process of art... the therapy.
I also realized along my journey that I had a certain distaste towards brushes; I preferred hard tools that could be scraped against the paper, like pastels or charcoal. I liked to get messy with my fingers and thus press my emotions into the work. I fashioned my own tools out of wood and used plastic cards to express my restless moods, and have just recently mastering the ever-so-delicate medium of acrylic inks.
As my children grew and I had more time on my hands, I began to seek art; from books to workshops and meeting different female artists, I began to passionately engage with the artistic community in the Kingdom.
A woman is often fragmented in her identity; she plays many roles and resembles many different things to different people. Whether an immigrant, a wife or a mother, the question that has haunted me is what remains without all these roles? And that quiet despair is what I have been yearning to communicate. My quest through art was not to be able to produce the perfect painting, but to find a deep gratification in the process of its production. Art can not only recycle the nature around us, but the conditions within us.
Called Brushless, My first solo exhibition that was held early in 2017 at Mashq gallery and was highly acclaimed by both my peers and the general public. All the paintings use acrylic inks, which have a magical transparency, and were painted under the influence of music. The exhibition represented a kaleidoscopic journey from the early years of estrangement to the recent years of epiphany.
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