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Picking up the easel underwater

Maisoon Al Saleh has been recognised as the first woman painter to paint underwater, in the GCC.

  • Maisoon Al Saleh learnt diving and started creating the Dara Chronicles in 2010.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Maisoon Al Saleh, the first female underwater painter in GCCImage Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

She is a painter, an underwater painter. Meet Maisoon Al Saleh, at 28, she is the first Emirati woman to achieve this unique feat.

“My love for art pushed me to pursue painting installations and digital art,” Maisoon told Gulf News.

Her grandfather was a survivor of the MV Dara explosion on April 8, 1961. It was a Dubai-based passenger ship that used to operate between the GCC countries and the Indian subcontinent. The ship sank as a result of a powerful explosion causing the deaths of 238 of the 819 persons on board.

“I grew up on the stories that my grandfather told us about the dreadful night. So, I was inspired, learnt diving and dived at the location of the tragedy. In 2010, I started creating The Dara Chronicles, based on the event.” She put up an entire exhibition of it in Dubai, in 2013.

“When people hear about me painting underwater, they feel it’s quite an achievement. They say, ‘Wow, you are a woman and an Emirati and you paint underwater! How do you do that?’ Well, loving what you do is the greatest motivation.”

Maisoon feels that the UAE, its leaders and the people are very supportive of ideas that youngsters, especially women, have. She said: “Emirati women should truly believe in themselves and create milestones to reach their goal. If they push themselves towards these goals, they will be successful.”

Watch a video of her painting underwater on our Facebook page and