Chemical engineer and mother-of-four Nada Al Ameri loves art. An artist herself and a qualified art therapy coach, she believes there’s a creative person inside all of us. Editor Rachael Perrett speaks to her about the inspiration behind her gallery, working with children with special needs and the future of the local scene
Where did the inspiration for Reflections Art Gallery come from?
We don’t have an arts centre here so I wanted to open a [large] space like a warehouse that’s huge where you can do lots of things, like in Europe, the US and even in Dubai.
I tried to find somewhere but then I found this [smaller] place and decided to open a gallery. My dream is to have an arts centre, then an art academy and then, in the future, an art museum.
What is the concept behind the gallery?
I’m providing it not just for Emirati artists, but I encourage other nationalities to come and express themselves, to display their artwork, to host workshops if they’re professionals… I created everything.
The floor is wasted marble, it’s eco-friendly. Between that I used grout to create the colour that was inspired by the desert as I’m originally from Al Ain. All of the things here are eco friendly. The sinks are made of barrels of oil. I keep the art supplies in old boxes.
All the furniture I made myself; it’s recycled because I believe in saving the environment.
Anything that’s meant for waste, I like to reuse it and recycle it because you can make something more beautiful that was meant for a different use.
Tell us about the classes you offer…
I’m running art classes in all kinds of arts and offering different artists like photographers or silk painters to come and host workshops. It’s nice to have different artists to think outside of the box and create something new so you can learn different techniques and feed your eyes.
You’re also a certified art therapist and work with people with special needs…
I believe that treating with art helps a lot of human beings whether they have disabilities or not – they need art to express and reflect their inner strength.
With art you can explain everything you cannot say and it helps you to change negativity to positivity. With art therapy you can realise a problem, try to change the problem during an assessment, and then do an analysis and finally the treatment.
I believe every human being has a small artist inside him or her, whether it’s music, poetry, cooking, fashion, design, horse riding, anything.
You grew up here. How has the art industry changed over the years and how do you envisage the future?
It has changed a lot, especially now we have Louvre Abu Dhabi and [soon] Guggenheim and Zayed National Museum. We are now encouraging art and giving it support, and this is important.
I believe that we are growing in the right way. It’s also good to have it as a subject in school for students to be more aware of art; art isn’t just drawing and sketching.
Most of all, we are all human beings and I want to really connect with people with special needs. We all need to work together to develop and have different artworks and be creative.
Reflections Art Gallery is located in The Walk at Al Seef Village Mall, near Khalifa Park. To find out more about the gallery, classes and art therapy sessions, contact: 02 666 6465, reflectionsgallery.ae