Suzana Joumaa, artist, interior designer, architect and former alumni of Doha Fire Station Residence Programme, speaks about her journey through art.

Suzana Joumaa gets the picture of the world around her. A Qatar-based, cotemporary mixed-media artist, originally from Syria, she takes inspiration from her subconscious thought process to create her work. Driven by a desire to let her inner feelings out on a canvas, she uses art to awaken her audience to the messages lying just beneath the surface of culture.

There’s a notable genuine effortlessness to Suzana’s work as an artist, interior designer and architect. Although her paintings are about myriad colourways and contrasting hues that play on the personality of the art lover – her interior design pieces have an inherent playfulness to them that demands individual styling and can be refreshed and reimagined over time. She doesn’t generally go into great detail about her art, it is, after all, her subconscious expression. But, when coaxed, her answers are both deep and thoughtful as she discusses the discipline it takes, how she finds art an outlet to her inner thoughts and bringing music and art together as part of her Residence Programme at Doha Fire Station.

FACT sat with the artist to talk about her journey from Syria to Qatar, how her art has evolved over time and what drives her creative process.

What inspires your art and who’s your favourite artist?
My subconscious memories and my general visual memory inspire my work. Sometimes I see certain patterns, designs and melodies in my sleep and when I wake up, I try to translate them into a reality. I am trying to do something original. I don’t have one favourite artist but I get inspired by cinema directors, architects and musicians who are progressive.

How do you think architecture, interior design and visual arts come together?
To make visual art you need lines, concept, feelings and compositions to come out of the painting frame and get back inside back and forth. My artwork is really inspired by space, objects and lines. For architecture, that’s what you need, and those are the basic elements of creating an artwork as well.

You have a very contemporary and modern style of expression. What is the narrative that you intend putting forward with your work?
Combining different art forms can give an absolutely new perspective not just for the artist but the audience as well. With my artworks, I intend my audience to get lost in an absolutely different spectrum and universe, in the thoughts, perhaps via colours, shapes and sound – as I bring all these three elements together. Every individual has a different perspective to the way they look at a certain piece of art and I want to stimulate that thought process.

What’s something that is essential to your creative process?
The deep feelings and what is visually unexpected is so essential for my art. Dreams, subconscious thought process and the traumas, all offer an endless number of art-stimulating materials. And trying what is new in techniques with continuous experimenting is also critical.

How has your work evolved over time, do you see a significant change in how you portray elements and concepts?
A lot has changed over the period of time and I accredit that to my continuous experimentation with art and life challenges that I have endured. After leaving Syria because of the serious tense situation around, I had stopped painting for years and then, when I decided to pursue my Master’s Degree and got back to art, I discovered my expression had changed a lot, just like myself. The urge to let out the depression that I’d been holding in for so long really translated well on the canvas. Also painting in art galleries and being resident at Doha Fire Station really gave me a new perspective.

What advice would you give to the young artists who want to pursue painting as a full-time profession?
I’d just like to say be brave. Make a living from what you love – if you give art a lot, the art gives it back, everything. Art is a profession like any other but it needs you to be hard working and smart at the same time – it requires you to be patient and original because that’s the key! And remember knowledge and developing your art tools continuously are forever your friends. ✤