Indian artist celebrates her Dubai Golden Visa
Dubai: A talented 32-year-old Indian artist was over the moon when she learnt that she had been granted the Golden Visa in Dubai, purely owing to her rich artistic repertoire.
Massarat Fatima Sulaimani, a resident of Sharjah, came to the UAE in 2010, soon after graduating in Fine Arts from M.S. University in Vadodara, India. She told Gulf News: “My father Mohammad Toufikh Suleimani is an art director and has worked for nearly 30 years in the UAE. When I graduated, my family — that included my brother Tawsif and my mother Saeda — and I decided to relocate to UAE,” recounted Fatima.
While Tawsif joined the IT department of a local health-care organisation, Fatima continued to dabble in graphic design and fine arts. “Our connection with this beautiful country has always been profound and emotional as my father has adopted this place as his home for more than three decades. We would come here on summer vacations, so it was easy for us to make this transition,” she explained.
Artistic talent became the gateway to success
Little did Fatima know that the UAE would be instrumental in fulfilling her most cherished dreams, giving her an opportunity to express her artistic talent with complete support and encouragement from the government.
Inheriting art from her father, Fatima began as a graphic design artist initially. Over the years, she realised she was passionate about hand-cut paper art and then she mastered it. In 2019, Fatima was invited to participate in the Sikka Art festival. She was to participate in the 2020 Sikka Art festival as well, which was subsequently postponed owing to the pandemic. “However, I continued to work with the art community here closely and participated in the Creek Art Festival in collaboration with Dubai Culture,” she explained.
A rich repertoire
Fatima specialises in hand-cut paper art. This involves giant life-sized installations and displays in exhibitions where she first visualises a design, then creates the design on a computer and transfers it on her installations, slowly and laboriously hand-cutting the stencils on the model. At the Sikka Art Festival 2021, her installation Gateway to Life, which consisted of delicately stencilled giant arches representing various vistas of life, was deeply appreciated. It took her nearly a month to hand-craft the arches with integrated filigree work.
She also created a stencilled artwork of different kinds of people titled Convergence, which was displayed at the World Art Dubai 2020 Exhibition. “In Convergence, I actually created 3-D stencils of people and positioned them in three rows, which enables people to walk through the installation. This is similar to the Sanjhi Art style, which is actually intricate stencil work inspired by folk art and carried out by artists in North India.”
Thanks to Dubai Culture ...
Fatima had no idea that her art could earn her a Golden visa and she is grateful to Dubai Culture that nominated her. “The folks at Dubai Culture called me to say they were nominating me for the Golden Visa and requested me to send them all my details with my portfolio, which I did. Within four days, they said my nomination had been submitted to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). After 15 days, I got a call from there. When I arrived there, the officer on duty had my papers and told me I would have to cancel my existing visa and go in for a fresh medical test as I had been granted the Golden Visa for ten years! I was absolutely thrilled. My parents were so overwhelmed and my father actually had tears in his eyes,” said Fatima whose visa says she is a self-sponsor with a renewable stamp valid until April 2031!
Fatima can sponsor her future spouse on this visa and is looking forward to a meaningful life in the UAE. She is currently giving art classes at the Sharjah Ladies Club. She intends to teach art to many people in the community.
Giving back to UAE
“This country has given me stability, respect and purpose. I am indebted to Dubai Culture for recognising and acknowledging my talent and nominating me. I feel privileged and I think it is now time for me to give back to society and teach art to the masses,” the visibly-happy artist said.