Art of contradictions

About the Artist

Khalil Abdul Wahid is an Emirati artist who is an expert in the field of visual arts living in Dubai. He is a painter and works mainly in video arts. He is the director of visual arts in the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority since 2008. He has previously worked as a coordinator for visual arts in the Dubai Cultural Council, which became part of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Khalil Abdul Wahid helps young and veteran artists display their artworks in exhibitions and cultural events. He also sponsors local artists so they can participate in international exhibitions and art events, and organizes workshops that allow new ambitious artists to do their first steps. Abdul Wahid manages Artist-in-Residence (A.i.R.) Dubai which is an annual two-month program run by Delfina Foundation in collaboration with “Tashkeel,” “Art Asia Pacific” and “Art Dubai.” He holds a diploma in painting ad graphic design from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and a B.A. in Workforce Education and Development from the Pennsylvania State University.

Khalil’s paintings, drawn from his wealth of experience in what is called the “art of contradictions,” had a large number of fans. The X-factor of his work is that he painted portraits from a solid realistic perspective, rather than from wild imagination, and the contrast of light and dark colors imparted a unique dimension to his characters.

Khalil Abdul Wahid: I used to draw idle young men, but when there were no volunteers, I looked at the mirror and drew myself.

Khalil Abdul Wahid: My focus was not centered on the person I was drawing, but on how to enrich the painting with brush strokes, light and shadow.

Khalil’s journey had many landmarks. He had just come back from Pennsylvania with a degree in Engineering, and recently held the post of the Director of Fine Arts Department in Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Interestingly, in between holding these two positions, he frequented the Art Workshop where he stepped into the realm of Art Video in the company of the famous artist Hassan Sharif.

Khalil Abdul Wahid: We used to have art productions on a daily basis, when we used to shoot our paintings, display them and wade into discussions about them.

Khalil took refuge in brush strokes and their impact on the viewers. The warmth of his colors seemed to automatically creep into their souls.

Khalil Abdul Wahid: I derive pleasure from those colors and the strokes in the background. I wish the beholders could share the same feelings.