Ever since her debut in the art world, 25-year-old Maldha Mohammad, a.k.a. “The Eye Artist”, has been all over social media. We had the pleasure of watching her grow and evolve, invoking something deeper with each artwork she creates. Maldha expanded over a variety of mediums, both conventional and unconventional. Today, we chat about her art and platform, which she uses to raise awareness for humanitarian causes and in the end of our interview, brace yourselves for an enchanting revelation! Behold the unveiling of Maldha Mohamed’s latest masterpiece —the mesmerizing mirror painting series.
The Beginning of Malda’s Art Adventure
– Hi Maldha! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey there, I’m Maldha, but you can call me Mal. I’m an artist from the Maldives. You may or may not know me as the ‘eye artist’; it’s kind of my major hyperfixation, haha! Art has been my constant companion, especially during my hyperactive childhood. It was my go-to for staying calm and grounded; a pencil and any available surface became my first tools.
These days, I’m diving into the world of oil paints and texture mediums, often on unconventional surfaces like antique mirrors. It’s a bit of an ode to my younger self, embracing the joy of painting on anything and everything again. My journey has been self-taught, filled with years of messing around and experimenting, and I’m always eager to learn more as I go.
– Let’s start with how you began. How has your art evolved since then? Did you notice any differences in your style or process over time?
My art has gone through various phases. What’s stayed constant, though, is the theme of eyes, something that’s been with me since childhood. I started with pencils, only delving into paint during my middle school years. Initially, I was all about hyperrealistic drawings before venturing into surrealism.
The real game changer was when I started messing around with paint, especially oil paint. The unique process felt like sculpting, similar to maybe playing with someone’s skin. It was transformative. I adore the buildup, the layers. Painting allowed me to break free from my hyperrealistic roots, letting my brushstrokes take the lead. That shift eventually led me to discover the joy of building up heavier textures, which, as a freshly diagnosed ADHD adult, was incredibly satisfying. It became a stimulating journey, providing that extra dopamine kick. Learning to let loose and embrace the unpredictable nature of my brushstrokes, has been a key revelation about myself as an artist.
Her Signature Art
– Eyes have really been a constant theme with you. Nowadays, I can even tell it’s your signature. Can you tell me why you are so drawn to them?
The fascination with eyes traces back to my childhood, marked by eerie dreams and bouts of sleep paralysis. I’d find myself in repetitive dreams of the world ending, surrounded by a multitude of eyes rotating and revolving. It was unsettling, yet felt deeply symbolic, prompting the need for exploration.
In the present day, the intrigue persists. When I gaze into someone’s eyes, even if their face remains still, I sense a dynamic movement. It’s that moment when you’re engrossed in conversation, your surroundings blur, and time seems to stand still. Eyes, to me, reveal everything. It’s contradictory, though because I struggle to maintain eye contact, but I find solace in observing from a distance. No creepiness intended, of course, just a genuine appreciation, haha!
Upon inquiring about the stories she wants to tell through her art, and with the eyes and the movement of it, Mal tells us that it’s less about telling a story but more about vocalizing aspects of her life she cannot bring to words.
“It’s a bit abstract, I admit, but it’s an outlet for the things that go unsaid.
As for inspiration, it often strikes when you least expect it, beyond any active pursuit. My muse plays a significant role, and there’s this intense connection with music, especially the heavier kind. Lately, I’ve been really into math rock and progressive metal. It’s a profound source that helps me dive deep and lose myself in the creative process. The direction of my art can change based on how I interpret the music in my head. It’s like this intricate brain dance. Just me, the brush, the music in my head, and the little safe space I’ve created, where I can lose track of time for hours.”
Source of Inspiration
– That is interesting. I would imagine you’d be listening to classical music only while painting if I saw your paintings for the first time. What about your recent vintage mirror series? What inspired them? They are very unexpected, to say the least.
The inspiration for my recent vintage mirror series comes from a romanticized desire to revisit the past, sparked by a deep love for historical aesthetics (definitely not historical values). As a kid, I used to read stories about people trapped in time, leaving behind artifacts that connected them to the present, a sort of bridge between eras.
For those close to me, the concept revolves around infusing their soul into something old and antique, making sure it remains timeless. Working on mirrors was a shift from my usual canvas, wood. Glass posed a different challenge. It’s slippery and unpredictable. However, the technical details took a back seat as I got pretty obsessed with bringing the concept to life. The main focus was on making the idea tangible, overshadowing any challenges the medium presented.
– You have been vocal about Palestinian lives since October 7 and have been raising money for charity. Can you tell us more about that? I wonder how it is going, and I also want to hear your thoughts on artists with platforms on social media.
“This has not been the first time that I’ve used my platform to raise my voice against issues such as the Palestine genocide, and it will not be the last. However, in direct reference to this, as a Maldivian, the Palestinian cause is something we have been educated about from an early age. It was surprising to realize that in the Western world, it’s considered a controversial topic.
Being Pro-Palestine, for me, is as straightforward as putting paint on canvas. There’s no complex argument to decipher. What’s happening is a real-time unfolding of genocide, and I refuse to stay silent about it. Yes, it comes with risks. Speaking out might mean losing followers and potential collaborations, but I believe it’s a small price to pay. It’s about standing on the right side of history because, at any point, that could be us.
Letting such issues slide only perpetuates a cycle of violence, and as someone who’s spoken out in the past, I’ve faced death threats. However, it’s not unconventional for artists to raise their voices; throughout history, artists have been at the forefront of exposing injustices. While our experiences can’t compare to what Palestinians are going through, I believe in using my platform to amplify their voices. My hope is for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the occupation. With that being said, free Congo, free Sudan, free Myanmar, free Ukraine, and every single country going through ethnic cleansing and genocide. Protect and free all indigenous people, let their homes be theirs.”
– To wrap everything up – our final question is: What’s next for Maldha?
What’s next for me is a bit unpredictable at the moment. I’m taking a step toward sharing more of my life story through my art, nothing too grand, just a genuine exploration. I’ll be weaving together large portraits and expressive eyes, drawing inspiration from my surrealist roots. It’s all about keeping things real and creating work that reflects my most authentic self. There are a few shows lined up for next year, and I’m looking forward to the chance to connect with you on a more personal level. Thank you for being a part of this journey!
Unveiling ‘Heartlines’: Maldha’s Exquisite New Painting Series Now Available in our Collection
Embark on a captivating journey through time with ‘Heartlines,’ the exclusive painting collection by the renowned artist Maldha Mohamed. Immerse yourself in the allure of 1930s-1950s vintage vanity mirrors, each intricately designed to serve as a portal to bygone eras. ‘Heartlines’ comprises five unique paintings, each adorned with eyes that symbolize a mystical gateway into another realm, creating a harmonious blend of nostalgia and contemporary artistry. The framed centerpiece, with its intricate design, enhances the collection’s allure, inviting viewers to reflect on the elegance of yesteryears while firmly rooted in the present. The entrancing gaze of these mirrored eyes transports the observer into a timeless dimension, where the delicate interplay of past and present unfolds in an elegant dance of reflection and reminiscence.
‘Heartlines’ stands as one of the most personal expressions of the artist, fostering an intimate connection between creator and craft. Don’t miss the chance to own a piece of this extraordinary collection, as limited exclusive sales are now available.