First Arabic-themed exhibition in Sheffield named huge success 

The digital art exhibition Kaleidoscopic Minds opened its door last Friday at Gage Gallery in Sheffield, showcasing a wide range of collaborative works by photographer Muhammad Sunbol and artist Rima Alrokh who grew up in Saudi Arabia and came to the UK for university. 

Rima Alrokh, 21, third-year Economics and Accounting student in the University of Sheffield, said: “We’ve always wanted a chance to share our experiences and we started to have this idea of putting our work together when we walked past 35 Chapel Walk, where there was an art exhibition. Then we started looking for venues in December last year and it’s finally come along.”

Most of the art on display were a collaboration of both of them, where Muhammad took the photo and Rima then added digital art to it. 

Muhammad Sunbol, 21, third-year Civil Engineering student in the University of Sheffield, said: “Rima had asked me for some photo shoots of nature before and I really liked the sketch she drew on them. So we were thinking, why not do some collaborative work for this exhibition? Also she had lots of brilliant ideas that could work with my photography.”

Natalia Tsenova, 20, from Sofia, Bulgaria, said: “I really enjoyed the exhibition as it presented a very interesting approach to show the beauty of the places they’ve been to.The collaborative way really strengthened the message of the pictures and I found some of them quite thought-provoking.”

The name Kaleidoscopic Minds came from the idea of sharing their diverse background and their various perspectives shaped by the places, events and people they encountered. 

Muhammad said: “We live in Saudi Arabia but I’m from Egypt and Rima is from Jordan. Now we are here in the UK so it feels like we have three homes, which made us see so many different perspectives.” 

“We want to tell our stories as international students because you change a lot in a new environment with everything you experienced but you’ll always keep some of your old habits and culture. This journey of mingling, balancing and constantly finding yourself is what defines us as human beings and that’s the main idea behind our exhibition,”said Rima

The photos were taken in a wide range of places around the world and especially in the middle east, which most of visitors hadn’t been exposed to much but were really curious to find out.

Muhammad said: “The highlight for me is probably seeing so many people interested in my photos taken in Saudi Arabia and this type of photography. A lot of them asked me about the city of Mecca, which is one of the holliest place in Islam. Because only Muslims are allowed, people who came to the exhibition were very excited to hear stories behind it. ”

Yesterday was the last day of the exhibition but their art work is available for purchase and they plan to have an online exhibition in the future. 

You can find more about their work on their instagrams, @rimzart and @muhammadsunboll.

Written by Ying Hu

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