Art and business don’t usually mix, but neither of them leaves much room for sleep. But who needs it when either or both accomplish so much?
Rowaida Hakim has got to be one of the busiest people we’ve interviewed.
Her day starts at 5.30 am without fail, and she doesn’t stop until 10.30 pm, when she finally settles in bed. Despite this, she’s also one of the calmest and most positive people we’ve spoken to.
Her average day involves checking emails, dropping her 10-year-old son at school, heading to the office to work.
She leads a luxury interior design business as well as a number of real estate companies, all while keeping her house and garden in check, cooking dinner, and spending time with the family.
She somehow finds the hours to draw, paint, and work as a bonafide artist.
“I’m very good at time management in my life,” she laughs.
“I take very good care of my family and of my work, and I do my painting in between at the office because I have a painting space there.”
The two worlds often merge. “If I come up with an art idea while I’m working, I’ll do a quick sketch in my notebook and come back to it later,” says the artist.
Art and business do mix
Hakim’s thought-provoking abstract pieces illustrate nature through the depiction of trees, flowers, and animals.
“When I’m painting, my computer or phone is next to me so I can keep an eye on emails,” she said.
“Even when cooking my laptop is next to me – my work never stops. I am very organized in general.”
Hakim, a Lebanese, has been drawing and painting since the age of seven and took up making ceramic flowers and jewelry in her early teens.
But when the family moved to the UAE a few years later, she focused on studying and working for a real estate business. She slowly worked her way from the bottom into a leadership position.
She now owns a number of award-winning real estate companies. These include Orient Desert, which was founded in 2008 and was named Best Middle East Agency by the OPP awards.
Creativity finds a home
The self-taught artist also found an outlet for her creativity when she founded luxury design house Rowaida Interiors DMCC over ten years ago.
A few years later, she returned to painting.
“Painting is my way of being at one with nature and finding peace. It gives me so much joy to paint. Happiness starts right from when I buy my paints and canvas,” shares Hakim.
“It’s also my tool to deliver positive messages to the world and share happiness, kindness, and love.”
Hakim’s first solo exhibition was Golden Light at Sotheby’s Dubai in November 2018, which was met with critical acclaim. She showcased several works comprising gold leaf including Nights, Flowers of Joy, and The Secret City.
Exhibitions at Rowaida Interiors HQ in May 2019 and at Carousel Du Louvre Paris in October 2019 followed.
Messages of hope
Hakim’s pieces have become synonymous with exploring the use of acrylic paints adorned with gold, copper, and silver leaf – and even diamonds. She as well utilizes bold brushstrokes of bright, ’happy’ colors and the written word.
Her last project made headlines during the pandemic as one of the world’s largest online exhibitions.
In November 2020, she digitally presented more than 70 pieces using VR technology.
Some of the work was retrieved from her private, not-for-sale collection which contains around 200 pieces.
“I wanted to give people hope and show that anything is possible. It was my way of providing some positivity,” explained Hakim.
“Everyone was desperate to see something, to enjoy some art because the lockdown meant there was no chance of that happening.”
Her upcoming exhibition, which is still a work in progress, will follow this trajectory of positivity.
The new works are adorned with messages of motivation, giving people something to read and empowering them to ‘do.’
“I always like to have a message with my work but this time it’s literal, the art pieces all have words of motivation written on them,” reveals Hakim.
“I wanted to help motivate people who have had a hard time with Covid-19, work or personal relationships.”
Hakim has plenty more up her sleeve. She is currently working on a database platform that will allow users to easily access designers, artists, and architects from around the world.
When it comes to art, she’s exploring NFTs and dealing with some competition closer to home.
“My young son is my main competitor when it comes to art,” she laughs.
“He could paint before he could even walk and spends a lot of time using my canvas and paints.”
Find out more about Rowaida Hakim’s artwork here.