I am originally from Mauritius and I landed in Dubai in 2011, all alone, to explore opportunities. Later, I built my family here after meeting husband Sefik, who is Bosnian. I’m a business development manager for a hospitality compnay, but art and painting are my passion. I enjoy it so I find the time to paint between a full-time job and being a mum to my two sons – it’s just a matter of how you organise your time and categorise your priorities for the day. Fridays are a blessing and give me a chance for some me-time; I start my day with a proper breakfast, [get] some cleaning done and then I paint.


Art is part and parcel of my life and I paint almost every day. The last thing I splurged on were canvases, paint and material for my mixed media creations. My art supplies are what I spend the most on! The result is I have many art pieces that have touched me so much that I will never sell them. It is for my private collection.


The scent of vanilla always relaxes me, be it perfume, soap, even vanilla cake. I feel at peace and inspired [when I’m surrounded by that fragrance].


I firmly believe that art is capable of changing people’s lives. It is much more than an exquisite rectangle or square shape, which is why I founded the artist platform Zee Arts Community in 2012 and refer to myself as an artist activist. We’ve organized over 75 artistic community [initiatives] that range from working with special needs children, to [visiting] workers’ accommodations during Ramadan and encouraging them to paint with us. It’s also an opportunity to empower local artists, bring them out of their houses and get them to form a community, interact with each other and share experiences.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey is a book that really boosted my motivation and passion. I was inspired through his message of empowerment on how to attain one’s goals.


When I am hungry I get nervous – I can’t focus or concentrate, my mind is in my stomach! I love food and like to try all the different varieties of food [available here in Dubai] – biryani, Chinese and Italian food, and cakes. Cakes are my favourite food to snack on – too sugary, I know, but I love vanilla cake with frosting, and carrot cake.


I have a long bucket list of destinations: Spain, Egypt, Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, and Prague top that list. I want to travel around the world and meet artists from different countries. A time machine would be [pointless] to me because I enjoy every little journey I have had even if it wasn’t perfect. I’m looking forward to what is to come.


My sons Zeeshaan (14) and six-month-old Yusuf are my treasures. I never leave my house without my wallet, my mobile and photos of my boys.


One of the artists I really look up to is Vincent Van Gogh. It’s not just his art; his life inspires me as well. I am also inspired by people around me and my immediate environment. My latest exhibition ‘My Blue World’ at Four Points by Sheraton is inspired by mosques and how they represent a mysterious compilation of elements from the past, present, and future. Throughout the process of creating the paintings, I reflected upon the divine truth one feels when standing inside a mosque – whether they’re magnificent or modest, contemporary or ancient, they all contain the vibrations of prayers whispered generation after generation. I hope the collection provokes the same emotions in every visitor.


Blue is the shade that colours all of my childhood memories. Coming from an island country like Mauritius [meant] I always spent my time between the blue of the ocean and the blue of the sky. I have painted since I was a kid and I remember my parents allowed me to paint on the walls of our house, but it was in 2001, when I won the Oscar de la Jeunesse award in artistic pursuit by the government of Mauritius that I woke up [to my passion for art] and started to be more serious about it.


I have been awarded many times – the latest being the Artist of the Year 2016 at Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Foundation – but for me, the proudest moment is every time I complete a painting. I feel a sense of happiness when I look at [the finished product].


I don’t use digital media at all to create any of my art but I’m a traditional artist with a twist – I paint with my hands and feet. I first painted with my feet in 2013 during an International Woman’s Day celebration – it was a public art show where we were creating a painting live with our feet, and people stayed the entire hour to watch it take shape. Painting with your feet is a very different [sensory] experience because you have direct contact with the paint which and feel the energy; it’s like dancing on the canvas.


I’m so glad for the invention of social media. It’s a significant tool that helps me connect with the world and artists everywhere. Plus [visual] platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are great for art.

My Blue World runs at Z Gallery, Four Points by Sheraton, Shaikh Zayed Road, until September 30.