Spotlight on our collaborations | Dhay Alrashed
Dhay Alrashed is a Saudi-born illustrator, animator, and director of art studio “Warshat Mokh” co-founded with her two sisters. In collaboration with UNAS TOKYO’s first collection “Sun’s Sons”, she created graphic design works expressing the visions the brand has with her aesthetics.
Lumières, one of the short philosophical films she has planned and produced at the art studio, has a high reputation as it won the Golden Palm Prize for Best Second Narrative Film in The 6th Saudi Film Festival.
We interviewed this young artist Dhay, who is not only in charge of creating all the artworks for the studio, but also draws personal illustrations on a daily basis.
-When did you start making art and why?
It all started when I found it as a way to catch my mother’s attention as I’m the third child out of 6 other siblings. As days went by, art felt therapeutic too, as it’s the only act I can do and drown in without having to think of anything else. Stress and anxiety have no place in my head as I’m happily drawing! All that matters is the piece I’m working on.
-I sometimes see elements of Japanese popular culture in your artworks. Where does your inspiration come from?
Like many Arab kids who have grown up watching classic Japanese anime, I have always been fond of the Japanese expression style implanted in the characters. The large eyes and the exaggerated expressions are my favorite. It’s so unique and beautifully done. That perhaps explains the hidden elements of Japanese culture in my works.
-I heard that you have visited Japan before. What do you like about it?
My visit to Japan is by far my favorite trip of all time! I was astonished from day one! There’s something to the country that stands out… perhaps how people take pride and love their own culture explains it all. The architecture, technology, and products were all unique to Japan alone, which made me realize how love makes Japan a special place.
-What did you express in the artwork for UNAS TOKYO?
UNAS TOKYO is a very special collaboration. I tried my best to create a visual representation of their vision.
As I was discussing with them, it was apparent that they loved color. Their brand had a positive feeling to it. It was happy, and what’s happier than the rise of a new day and new opportunities?
-What is the next thing you would like to create?
I’m highly interested in the creation of graphic novels and comics. It was my dream from day one, hence I want to research more and train more in order to confidently make one of my own. I have lots of stories to tell and so many feelings to deliver. I’m most excited to make the dream come true one day.
In 2017, Dhay and her two sisters founded an independent art studio “Warshat Mokh” in Saudi Arabia. Named “The brain workshop” in Arabic, it aspires to integrate the basic ideas of knowledge, existence, human nature, and reality with artworks and fictional stories, and to embody all of these in books, films, and other media. We asked her about the studio which holds thought-provoking workshops as the name suggests.
-It was interesting to hear that Enriching Arabic is one of the features of your studio. How does the studio show the Arabic world?
We, the cofounders, decided from the beginning that all works shall be written and spoken in Arabic originally, as it’s our native language and that’ll make any project stay true to its origin and be more relevant - let alone show the world the beauty of our language.
With that being said, we also wanted to stay true to the current change happening within our culture. The change in fashion, architecture and spoken language is obvious and we don’t intend to conceal that and stick to the old culture mentioned in history books. We want to represent the Arabic of today.
-What was the purpose of creating Lumières? When did the idea come up?
It all started as we were eating pizza together, us three sisters casually talking about art, philosophy and the future. My sister Malak found inspiration in that and made Lumières.
The film takes place in one set; a dark black room where there are three women talking and expressing their views of the world. The characters are Samar, Sawsan and Salma who represent Existentialism, Absurdism, and Nihilism. The three women discuss the meaning of life, fate, free-will and whether we, as humans, could ever reach salvation, as Samar remembers a Greek play she once read about the Greek myth; Oedipus. The characters wonder if Oedipus’s story is an example of human’s freedom or futility.
Music by Abdulrahman Baadheem
Lumières is a project we want to share because we are hoping to enrich the Arabic content and to connect us with our feelings and remind us that it’s okay to feel alienated. Also, we wanted to portray philosophy not just in thoughts, but in a dialogic form, as well.
-I heard the studio hold a workshop at the film premiere. Could you tell me about the workshop and what the audience started to think as a result?
Yes, that’s the “monologue”, the idea behind it goes as follows:
Because we live in a loud world, we long to be heard, to be asked and to be listened to, fully and without interruption. How many times have you looked into the mirror so deep that you thought you could go inside YOU?
That’s the kind of experience that we want people to go through.
After screening Lumières to the audience, we basically set a room for that looks like a scene from Lumières with nothing but a chair and a camera. Warshat Mokh, later on, turned some of these videos into art clips on our YouTube channel.
Behance: Dhay Alrashed
YouTube: Warshat Mokh
All artworks by Dhay Alrashed