Q&A with Emirati artist Maitha Demithan
We speak to Emirati artist Maitha Demithan about her daily routine and what she has learnt from her time in lockdown.
Pre COVID-19 I got inspiration from human connection, conversations I had with people who had attracted me, for some reason, a really fancy dress they’re wearing or how they would fit into the character in my head of a story I wanted to tell.
Post COVID-19 I think I will find inspiration from meeting people virtually, setting up many one-on-one Zoom meetings, I will travel through google street view to visit nature, and every corner on the streets and back home to my sons.
The COVID-19 lockdown hasn’t been easy, especially as a mother. Imagination has been put to use, from building castles in our living room to tents made out of blankets. We are never stuck between four walls, thanks to Imagination.
I love how no-one ever asks me “Who is watching your sons right now?” In between teaching my children about why an egg floats in salt water and skittle rainbows, feeding and playing with our lorikeet parrot Tweety, struggling to find self-raising flour on virtual supermarkets, we lose track of time and hardly remember what day it is.
I work from my bedroom, I never had a ‘real’ job, I was always a full time artist. I don’t have a studio at the moment but my process has always been home-based. It is in my nature to be very nomadic. I’m constantly adapting and moving from one idea to the next, I cannot work on one project at a time, there has to be several. This has helped me a lot because I was able to mould my time freely with what I needed to do. It was never important to make amazing work, but so important to keep the momentum going.
I usually spend a lot of my time with my sons in the morning and afternoon home schooling and just lots of building and painting. I would bake or spend time with family while my kids play outdoors – and then my serious work starts when everyone is asleep and I can create without interruption. I’m very addicted to creativity so if I don’t do something about it I get exhausted and could lose my sanity.
During the lockdown I found comfort in baking, and really enjoyed just experimenting with recipes and watching lots of videos. At the moment it’s tahini gluten free brownies. They are so addictive and I just love creating the swirls for the topping.
I started a small sketchbook where I draw in when I can. It keeps me calm in all this confusion, and just a space to go to when you can’t really go anywhere.