By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti artist Ali Alamdar says he was the youngest artist participating in the Dallas Art Fair in its 15th edition, with the participation of 92 galleries from various countries in a building of 74,000 square feet. “During April 20 to 24, I was part of my biggest and most important show to date, which is the Dallas Art Fair. Art fairs are some of the most important art events that take place every year. They are events where artists, art collectors and galleries are all present in the same place at the same time,” Alamdar told Kuwait Times. He mentioned art fairs usually take place in a massive building with many booths, which art galleries can call their home for a few days. Regular art exhibitions take place when a few artists or a single artist — if it is a solo show — participate in a show organized by a single gallery.

Ali Alamdar poses in front of one of his artworks.

“The art fair I participated in was the 15th annual Dallas Art Fair; it is one of the bigger art fairs and takes place in the city of Dallas in heart of the state of Texas. The Dallas Art Fair attracts galleries and art collectors from all over the world, and this is exactly what happened this year, as 92 galleries from all around the world came to the same place for a few days to put on an unbelievable art-filled show. There were galleries from almost every continent, but it was heavily dominated by galleries from North America and Europe,” he said.

Alamdar exhibited two paintings that are a part of his “Picking up the Pieces” series of works. “The two paintings I displayed at the Dallas Art Fair were titled ‘Fragments of What Once Was’ and ‘Picking up the Pieces’. These works, and the series they are a part of, represent how people feel after going through traumatic events that cause them to lose parts of themselves and start doubting everything, they know about themselves,” he said.

Alamdar explained that his series of works feature broken, fragmented figures with no fancy background colors. “They are just broken people on linen canvas; this was done to make it as real and as raw as possible. I didn’t want anything to cover or alleviate the emotions being portrayed by the works. For my works, I mainly use oil paint. This is the medium I feel most comfortable with and enjoy the most, as it just feels right,” he added.

According to Alamdar, the four-day Dallas Art Fair added a lot of value to him and his life. “It gave me even more confidence in my work and myself, and it made me realize that I was born to be in the spotlight. It felt like I was in my element and I was comfortable being there,” he noted. He indicated that the fair allowed him to meet people he intends to collaborate with in the future.

“I’ve always been into art, and I come from a very artistic family, with even more artistic family friends, so I think it would have been illegal and morally wrong for me not to end up as one,” he pointed out. Alamdar did not plan to become an artist, but his desire to be drawn encouraged him to be one. “I have always wanted someone to draw me, but no one ever did, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and draw myself, and accidentally became an award-winning artist because of it,” he said.

A trip to a grocery store was a reason behind Alamdar becoming an artist. “One random day in 2016 in Houston, I went with my dad to a grocery store and saw a wooden briefcase of art supplies for sale. I stood there for a few seconds and decided to pick it up. I always buy art supplies but they end up in a closet somewhere. But this time was different for some reason — I actually ended up using it! I woke up the next day being able to draw faces, and even though they were horrible, I liked them enough to keep drawing more and more, and now I’m here,” he said.

“So, all of this wouldn’t have been possible if my father didn’t ask me to go to the store with him, which kickstarted my career. It would not have been possible without him supporting me 100 percent and helping me succeed in every way possible.”