Samah Ahmed

I would describe my work as a combination of both spiritual and emotional experience. Coming from the Maldives, where land surface is only one per cent, it is the warm, clear blue sea of the tropics that provides my natural inspiration to paint. This collection of ‘Blue’ series paintings are not just mere paintings of any sea. To me, it is the sea I swam in as I child. It is about a journey, evoking fond childhood memories, about that aching desire to return to those long gone-by idyllic days of carefree innocence. Reminiscing about childhood experiences, is a familiar territory that most, if not all of us adults return to frequently by various different means and for very different reasons.

From my perspective, I elect to return and relive that by using paint on canvas, as opposed to any vocal, written or physical declaration. The dark, threatening, receding backgrounds you see in some of the canvases here, I cannot ever recollect visualising with any fear as a child. Rather, only as a vast ‘unknown’ in the distance, just more and then more space to venture out far far and away.

The western obsession about "paradise" and the 'Robinson Crusoe' desire to be stranded on a desert island provides its own fascination for me as an artist. I want the viewer to experience this sense of "escapism" in this work from a different perspective as opposed to the norm of seeing just another pretty picture in a tourist brochure or postcard.

At the same time, I also touch upon on a more sombre and serious reality of nature faced by the Maldives. 'Global warming' is very real and persistent geographic threat faced by all us Maldivians - would we exist in a hundred years time? The lack of land and the absence of any living being in my paintings is a stark reminder that we do not have the answer to this burning question. Is the view on my canvas all that will be seen in reality in a hundred years time? – I wonder.


Blue 16Blue 17Blue 18Blue 24Blue 25Blue 30Blue 31Blue 15Blue 05Blue 06Blue 07 Blue 08Blue 13Blue 14