By : Sevy Aysel
Middle Eastern artist Mohamed Jameel Hasanain from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, exhibited his underwater art creations at The Arabs Group Achievement Awards on the 18th December 2016 at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel. Mohamed Jameel Hasanain received an award of recognition and was applauded for his extraordinary underwater paintings. The artist constructs his paintings on a canvas underwater in the breath taking Red Sea and is the first artist to paint 100 feet deep (for 7 minutes, more would be dangerous).
Mohamed Jameel Hasanain combined his love for scuba diving and art to create something rather spectacular that he describes as an “underwater dream”. Inspired by the beauty and magic of underwater life, surrounded by color, coral reefs and tropical fish, Mohammed Hasanain states he is ‘turning a fantasy into reality’.
Mohammed’s paintings are inventive and original as he brings his imagination to life captivating a mesmerizing world under water. Why under water? Mohammed explains that he feels tranquility and happiness and simply “lives for this moment”. Arguably this is more than just art as he creates his paintings beneath the beautiful blue depths of the red sea demonstrating a visual perception that is a futuristic mix of fantasy and realism with a deeper meaning and feeling behind every painting.
Fab UK’s Junior Editor, Sevy Aysel had the privilege of interviewing artist Mohamed Jameel Hasanian at London’s swanky Millennium Gloucester Hotel.
Sevy: Mohamed Jameel Hasanain, it’s an honour to meet you! What brings you to London?
Mohamed: I am living in Saudi Arabia but I am here in London because of my exhibit at the Arab Groups achievement awards, which was amazing.
S: I see a trophy beside you; tell us about your award?
M: This award symbolises me being recognised as an Arabic artist for my underwater artwork.
S: Tell me about your underwater art concept?
M: I started this concept around 8 months ago. I wanted to create something different, something special and ‘fantasy like’. Looking into the future I wanted to create a new, futuristic form of art that incorporated my history and brought my imagination to life.
S: What inspires you?
M: I care about underwater life. The Red Sea in Saudi Arabia is extremely beautiful. I am inspired and struck by this beauty; the beautiful marines, the coral reef, the fish and the incredible underwater planet.
S: Describe your underwater style?
M: My underwater artistic style comes from my fantasy. I paint what surrounds me incorporating all natural colours that I see. In the Red Sea there are many colours underwater, especially from the corals; you see oranges, blues, yellows, whites and many more.
S: What is the message behind your underwater art?
M: I have a message. My message is about the pureness of the Red Sea and underwater life. I want people to believe and imagine the purity of this concept. When you’re that deep underwater, it is very pure, very beautiful, and very pretty and there is no pollution…
S: How do you ensure that everything is safe for the underwater environment?
M: I care about the fish; everything is very safe for the fish. I use special paints that are non-damaging to the environment. Nothing goes out; the paint goes directly onto my canvas and does not harm the environment; the paints are not toxic, I care very much about the habitat.
S: Tell me about your technique, do you use brushes?
M: I like to refer to it as mixed media; I use a mixture of materials and different tools: sometimes brushes, my fingers, a knife, sometimes directly from the colour tube.
S: How does painting under water make you feel?
M: I feel peaceful, I forget myself…Anybody who wants to try this, will experience something remarkably different. Everything is still and peaceful, there are no waves that deep underwater, you are at ease; you breathe very slowly. It is a different world.
S: How do you want your paintings to make people feel?
M: I feel very happy when I paint underwater. Therefore I want my underwater art to represent that feeling. I want my paintings to make people feel happiness.
S: Do you have an artistic background?
M: I always loved art as a child. I started drawing properly at the age of eight. When I was young, I also loved scuba diving. I used to go scuba diving and then sit on the beach afterwards, taking in all the beauty around me; then I would go home and draw. Artists always want to change their environments and get out of their studios. I wanted to paint in an open area. I decided to combine my two passions; painting and scuba diving and create something special underwater.
S: What are you doing currently?
M: I finished my underwater artwork around 10 months ago. I am now ready to show people my documentary and exhibit my art here in London! I am here to speak about my techniques, my colours, my canvas and how I turned my ‘Red Sea dream’ into a reality. I also run art courses for special needs children. Teaching makes me happy, I love to inspire people.
S: In your documentary video you were kneeling down whilst painting, is it difficult to stay in position and create the affect you want?
M: I have to be careful when I move between my canvas and my equipment. It’s not easy to move fast; I have to be quiet and concentrate on my breathing technique and control my balance.
S: Who assisted you underwater in the making of your documentary?
M: I record myself painting underwater using my professional camera, flashlight and tripod. I have a team of 3 that accompany me underwater; the photographer, the captain and the serviceman who carries the equipment and positions the canvas. The captain keeps me informed of the time and the depth. On the way up I have safety stops to regulate my oxygen levels and breathing; but I do not require medical assistance as I am a professional scuba diver. I could finish a painting in 20 minutes but why rush, I enjoy being underwater. Each painting takes me around 1 hour – 1hour and 30 minutes to complete…
S: Where can we find your art work?
M: People can contact me directly via my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account;
Twitter: @saudiunderwater Facebook: @Mohamed Jameel hasanain Instagram: MAD.JAM.ART