Thursday, March 31, 2022

"When the wild beckons" - Art of Endangered species and Wildlife by Animalier Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray is a British Artist who specializes in wildlife portraiture. Rachel has always been drawn to animals and art from a very young age. Her admiration and love of animals have led her to wildlife conservation, and she is committed to using her work to raise awareness of endangered species from around the globe. With this goal in mind, Rachel has worked with charities such as the WWF and has collaborated with the British High Commission, COP26 “Together for Our Planet” (2021), Namibian High Commission and Expo 2020 Dubai.

"I live for colour and animals, so combining them both is just brilliant!"

Wildlife calls Rachel Gray to her bosom from where births her magnificent portraits of the wild. She also paints pets. Her animals are lifelike and look ready to spring to life from her screen. Her digital rendition that mimics oil painting is full of life and Painter is a tool that gives her that provenance to capture the interesting, intriguing facets of animals and their environment. Rachel captures her own photographs and uses them as a reference. She has travelled extensively from the dunes of Namibia to the rainforests of Malaysia, she has slept under the stars and riverbeds. She feels that one must capture these animals in their own habitats to observe them at their best – to capture their true personality, soaking up the colours, details, behaviours and surroundings. Raising awareness about endangered species has always been one of the hallmarks of Rachel’s works.

Rachel Gray-Wildlife Art-Endangered Species-Malaysia-HuesnShades
Rachel Gray

Recently I had an appointment with Rachel at the Malaysian Pavillion where she was displaying her works during the sustainability week, particularly for this blog post. It was a short but inspiring conversation. With the backdrop of the wooden panels of the pavilion and the green around it was a perfect setting.

“I’m always thinking about art be it mine or someone else's.”

Focus-Rachel Gray-Wildlife Art-Endangered Species-Malaysia-HuesnShades
Focus - Rachel Gray

Rachel, however, doesn’t strive for photorealism. Her aim is to convey their character and the moments they share. She creates the images on the tablet/computer using Wacom, which is touch, tilt and weight-sensitive tablet, and a stylus that simulates the texture of oil brushes for her works and uses the software Corel Painter.

“Painter is the best software that bridges the gap between traditional art and digital art, making it more accessible for traditional artists to make the crossover into the world of digital art.”

She was the first British female artist to have a solo exhibition, Instincts and Experiences’; a collection of digital wildlife portraits and abstract oil paintings, at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the gallery.

Rachel Gray - Wildlife Art-HuesnShades
Rachel Gray - Wildlife Art

Below is the video of the conversation I had with the immensely talented Rachel Gray who in spite of her hectic schedule took out some time and spoke to me. Here, Rachel Gray speaks about “Below the Canopy,” her exhibition that was showcased at the Expo2020, Malaysian Pavillion during Sustainability Week. 

watch this video to hear what Rachel has to say about her practice and more

You can reach Rachel Gray at:


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

When Art and Words Meet on Women's Day – SHE: A Creative Dialogue

Art and Literature have always been intertwined for ages. Though it can live, one cannot exist wholly without the other. They intersect at some point or some stage tugging the chords and embracing each other. It is such intersections that make the whole process and conjugation much more interesting and stimulating rather than the normal path.

One such intersection is about to happen on Mar 8 at Dusit Thani where art, conversation and high tea meet with a lovely author and eight UAE-based artists from various backgrounds. SHE is an expression of hues, shades and forms imbibed from the pages of the International journalist-best-selling author, Purva Grover’s latest book “She” which I recommend that all girls (for that matter, guys too) must-read. It is more an experience than a 212 pages book. When I read the book, it offered me the feeling of hearing a friend in conversation over a cup of coffee in a quaint café or chitchat on the living room couch over hot tea and snacks. The book itself as mentioned by the author can be treated like a handbook with spaces and pages for exercise or filling-ins.

The exhibition is curated by Slava Noor, Founder-Editor of Arte & Lusso Art Magazine. Ms. Noor wishes to open up a space for the creative dialogue that is one of the key ingredients for any creative communion. The saplings that sprout from such fertile soil are bound to hold the earth for favourable growth. What makes this particular art exhibition stand out is that the artworks have been created through conversations, enriching dialogue and exchange of ideas.

SHE - Poster - 8 Mar 2022

The Curator

Slava Noor - Curator-SHE

Slava Noor (@SlavaNoor

Slava Noor is passionate about various forms of art and believe in its power to inspire people and bridge different cultures. She has created Arte & Lusso in order to promote both local and international talent and help artists, fashion designers and other creatives get the exposure they deserve. She is also passionate about different cuisines and enjoys reviewing restaurants in Dubai and Europe.

Slava can be spotted at major art and fashion events as well as sipping her favorite karak tea or espresso at one of the hidden cafes in Dubai.

The Author

Purva Grover, India (@purvagr

Purva Grover-Author-SHE

Purva Grover is a best-selling author, international journalist & editor, TEDx Speaker, award-winning playwright & stage director, published poetess, spoken word artist, and creative entrepreneur. She is the founder-editor of The Indian Trumpet, a quarterly digital magazine for Indian expats, and works as the assistant editor with a UAE national daily, and editor, for a magazine for young adults. She is backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. She resides in Dubai, UAE. 

She made her debut as an author with The Trees Told Me So(December 2017, Niyogi Books). Her second title, It was the year 2020 (February 2021, Kindle India) was instantly recognised for its profound pandemic prose. Her third title, She (August 2021, Ukiyoto) is currently making waves for its honest, relatable and fun approach on the topic of womanhood. 

Artists in Alphabetical Order

Abda Fayyaz-Artist-SHE

Abda Fayyaz, Pakistan (@artbyabda

Abda is a self-taught artist. Her work is the reflection of the understanding of the universe and the constant changes and transformations that take place within and around us.

With a Degree in Banking and Finance, she holds over 15 years of experience in brand development, marketing and advertising, strategy management and more.  Her main mediums are oil and acrylic mediums. From abstract paintings to calligraphy, the artworks represent a fusion of modern and contemporary art and traditional techniques. Abda’s art emphasizes the importance of finding our true purpose, and that each one of us is enough in our own capacities and that resources are always available if we have the right connection with our inner conscious, curiosity, energies and the holistic purpose of the universe. 


Christine Dessa-Artist-SHE

Christine Dessa, India (@cdessart

Christine Dessa is a self-taught artist of Indian origin, who has called Dubai her home for the last 25+ years. Art has been her passion since childhood. Decades of practice, self-learning and brush strokes later, she has evolved into the accomplished artist of today. She called herself a ‘closet’ artist, painting for her pleasure, experimenting with various mediums and techniques, while using her home as an art gallery. 

Combining real-life and symbolism together with the application of light, Christine Dessa allows her subjects to emote and have their own voice. She incorporates realism juxtaposed against fantasy as a means of storytelling, also allowing her viewers to connect with her art on a personal level.

Her forte is Watercolours Portraits, while her Horses and Oceans, require a special mention. Christine enjoys the beauty and magic of watercolours with its fluid dynamics and transparency. Working with this less forgiving medium has refined her painting skills a thousand-fold. She is also very skilled with Acrylics and uses this versatile and vibrant medium for her larger exhibition paintings on canvas.

Deepa Gopal - Artist - SHE

Deepa Gopal, India (@dee.huesnshades

Deepa Gopal is a visual artist-creative writer currently based in Dubai. Winner of 2021 ‘Artgram’ Award at the Orange Flower Awards, she conceptualized and curated her latest, brainchild – an online exhibition of art and poetry, ‘IGNITE-from within the confines-‘ (2020) inviting artists and poets from across the world. Author of the blog, Hues n Shades, she has done her Masters in English Language and Literature. Diversity is her forte as she loves to explore and experiment with various mediums and techniques. Most of her works are “mindscapes” as she calls them, an introspection into the emotional and psychological states. Her protagonists enjoy detachment; creating parallel worlds. Myths, dreams, visions, people and their tales, the emotions and the unbridled feelings kindle her creative juices. She sometimes couples her art with Haiku (Japanese poetic style) or micro-poems.

Fatema Fakhruddin, India (@notnotart__fathz/

Fatema Fakhruddin - Artist - SHE

As a person who always wears her heart on her sleeve, Fatema decided to bring her heart out onto her canvases and pursue her avant-garde artistic career in early 2020. Originally from India, she now lives in the UAE with her husband and two loving children. Known for her predominant use of bright and colorful acrylics, oils and other mediums, her paintings evolve through words and intended puns, which compliment her bold personality. All created in her home heart studio.

The intricacy of human nature, accepting and acknowledging one’s emotional, mental, and intellectual mindset being legitimate and powerful, is the never-ending source of her inspiration. Her artworks challenge the viewer to accept who they are. Portraying this through conceptual art, she thrives on evolving and developing her artistic process and continually learning. It allows her to communicate her emotions, which she otherwise struggles expressing. Her artworks are a visual diary into her being. 

Julia Smolenkova -Artist - SHE

Julia Smolenkova, Russia (@julia_smolenkova)

Julia Smolenkova is an international artist, publisher of two art magazines, galleries owner, Ph.D. in the field of the history of art and architecture, curator of international art projects, festivals, symposiums. In her artworks, the connection between the abstract and the real creates a new space level. Her success has been cemented with great demand from galleries in  Europe, the USA, Russia, UAE, Julia’s art is regularly purchased by enthusiasts globally. Her original pieces of sculptures and paintings can also be found in public and private collections, around the world as well as in the United Nations collection. Her monumental mosaics adorn the streets of Moscow. Her colorful paintings adorn the walls of hotels like Mandarin Oriental Jumeira in Dubai. Julia is an avid traveler and explores worldwide cities to acquire her inspiration, which results in the development of new collections that are exhibited regularly.

Poonam Chathurvedi (@c.poonam

Poonam Chathurvedi - Artist - SHE

Poonam is an Artist of Indian Origin and based out of Dubai, UAE since 2007. Over the years, Poonam has been a part of many major local, regional, and international exhibitions. Additionally, Poonam has also presented her work as a Solo Artist in a few prominent places including, Fakih University Hospital Dubai, Indian by Nature, Arte’s on several occasions. 

Sam, The Sassy Crayon - Artist - SHE

Samantha Lomas aka The Sassy Crayon (@the_sassy-crayon

The Sassy Crayon, is a UK-born, UAE-based artist, avid traveller and martini connoisseur. After graduating in Interior Architecture and Design, she has spent several years travelling, living in, and embracing, the cultures of South East Asia and Australia. No matter where she has been in the world, her love for art has not diminished. After several years in the business world, she decided it was time to turn to art full time. Her knowledge of interiors and design along with intense training through several top art institutions, enable her to create beautiful bespoke works of art for any environment.

Snehita Gehlot, India (@snehiart

Snehita Gehlot - Artist - SHE

Snehita is a Licensed Indian Artist (Painting) & Entrepreneur based in Dubai. She is a Visual Content creator for Art Magazine, Fashion and Art Brands, an IT Engineer (Website, graphic design, and digital products), an MBA and Director at Luxy Flare.

As an Artist, she believes ” Art is Experimenting Fearlessly ” No fear of judgement, and freely exploring the endless possibilities. She has always been a creative person since her childhood, she started learning and creating at a very early age as her mother is also an artist and art instructor.

Zumrud Zeynalli - Artist - SHE
Zumrud Zeynalli, Azerbeijan-UK (@zumrud_contemporary)

Zumrud Zeynalli is a contemporary artist who blends Eastern and Western cultures in her art that is also largely inspired by childhood fairy tales. 

Zumrud is a British artist born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1981 and developed a passion for art and craft at an early age. Living and working in London, United Kingdom allowed Zumrud to travel a lot and she visited 74 countries, explored unreal parts of the world and different cultures that widened her horizon and inspired her to create. Coming from a very caring family and society and moving to London, she has faced many challenges but learned how to become an independent woman. As a woman who leads a large company in the competitive and male-dominated oil field – she still got a chance to nurture her creative side and express herself through painting. 

“SHE” will be open to the public until March 30, 2022. The exhibition will take place at Dusit Thani Dubai located on  Sheikh Zayed Road.