Safeya Sharif

Artist Statement

My work explores the intersection of familiarity within abstraction and the intuitive process. As I delve into the complexities of mindless abstraction through the process of creation without intention and thoughtfulness, I allow for recognizable elements to seamlessly transform into a new narrative, all the while challenging conventional boundaries and relying on an intuitive process. Drawing inspiration from Baudrillard's Simulacra, where simulations have replaced reality, subsequently leading it to become hyperreal, my work blurs the lines between reality and imagination. In turn, I imagine spaces where the real and the represented converge as it creates its own reality away from the origin. The convergence between familiarity and mindless abstractions adds layers of meaning, prompting viewers to question authenticity and explore subjective interpretations in a visually saturated world. Heavily incorporating elements of perspective, I engage with spatial representation, providing viewers entry points into the known yet ambiguous abstraction. This interplay aims to engage audiences, challenging conventional spatial expectations and fostering active contemplation. The exploration of depth in flat surfaces is manifested through various mediums, spatial narratives, construction techniques, and mark-making to depict void spaces. In my current body of work, I explore these concepts through canvas stretchers crafted from linoleum cutouts, transforming them into frames that are stretched, molded into sculptures, and assembled into pieces that evoke windows of endless doors. Additionally, I execute a series of embossed prints that mimic the recollection of familiar narratives. The series heavily references Supports/Surfaces; an art movement that focuses on presenting works in a self-referential aspect, where the object of painting is the painting itself, devoid of any external references or narratives. As I navigate the intricate balance between the subconscious and recognizable elements, my work transforms into a nuanced journey shaped by intuition, personal experience, and collective memory. Familiarity intertwines with abstract compositions to bridge the known and unknown, inviting viewers to freely construct personal narratives. In this dynamic space where truth is subjective and meaning is continuously constructed, my aim is to challenge traditional notions, redefine boundaries, and provoke thought beyond the literal perception. In the pursuit of familiarity within abstractions, I contribute to a visual experience that simultaneously anchors viewers in the known and promotes exploration in the abstract. The complexities of subjective interpretation thrive, shaping narratives in the ever-evolving realm of contemporary art.


Safeya Sharif A. (b. Dubai, 1999) is a multidisciplinary Emirati artist based in Dubai, navigating the intersections of diverse artistic expressions. Her multidisciplinary practice encompasses printmaking, photography, painting, book structure, and graphic design. Safeya explores the complexities of the mind and how it could be altered. She presents portrayals of a shifted reality that is influenced by surreal and playful compositions, which capture realities interrupted by hallucinations and daydreams.

A graduate with a BFA in Visual Art from Zayed University, she has exhibited her work in a number of shows in the UAE and internationally, including Sikka Arts and Design Al Shindagha Editions, Dubai, UAE (2024); Time and Identity at Al Safa Arts and Design Library, Dubai (2023); Press Print! at Aisha Alabbar Gallery, Dubai (2023); Chill: Summer in the City at Aisha Alabbar Gallery, Dubai (2022); Psychedelic Surrealism at Quoz Art Festival (2022); and Looking Elsewhere at Zayed University Urban Satellite Space at the Foundry, Dubai (2021). She also participated in The Emerald Print Exchange at Karin Clarke Gallery, Eugene, OR (2021); and 6X6 at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY (2021).

Currently enrolled in the NYU Abu Dhabi Masters program in Arts and Media, she was an active member of the Peer Assistant Leadership Program (PALs) at Zayed University and worked as an Artist Assistant to Emirati artist and printmaker Salama Nasib. Additionally, Safeya gained valuable experience through an internship at Richemont, Cartier, where she collaborated with the Arts & Culture Department in direct liaison with the Paris team.