We had the good fortune of connecting with Sally Murtadhi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sally, why did you pursue a creative career?
Because I am the child of first generation immigrants that come from an unstable country, I was hyper aware of the importance and impact of place making so I decided to enter the field of architecture. Regarding my art, I struggled with identity as a kid because I didn’t grow up around many people from the MENA region so art helped provide that sense of self for me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make multimedia pieces that combine embroidery with painting. I also dabble with other types of textiles and am constantly experimenting with new mediums. I got where I am today though lots of experimentation. I discovered embroidery by coincidence through my journey through architecture school. It was love at first sight for me, once I tried it I knew texture art is what I wanted to do. I have failed many times through my art journey. It was really difficult finding a medium that spoke to me and my story. Lessons I learned along the way was to keep experimenting, to not give up, and to try everything. You never know what you might fall in love with and what you might naturally be good at. There is something out there for everybody. What I want people to know about my art is that it’s about exploring myself through symbolism, memories, and culture. The symbolic factor in my art is found in the usage of flowers and birds. To me, birds represent having the freedom to fully be yourself. Since my identity was suppressed for a most of my childhood and teenage years I found a lot of difficulty openly embracing all parts of me. Also, flowers represent my journey through womanhood and blooming into the person I’m meant to be. For memories, I create pieces based on certain moments that I hold dear to my heart, such as, exploring my grandpa’s garden as a kid, or taking care of tortoises every summer when I traveled back home to visit my family. I also embed the nature element in most of my pieces because my mother always kept plants around our house growing up because she finds them therapeutic, so I developed the same association. For culture, in some of my pieces I reference certain buildings from my home country Libya. I’m trying to explore this aspect of myself more deeply so I’m currently studying North African patterns and textiles and hope to embed theses aspects into my future pieces.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I was planning a week long trip for my best friend off the top of my head I would take them to Skyline Park at Ponce City Market, the BeltLine to search for art, the High Arts Museum, Atlanta Fish House & Grill, The Garden Room, Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft and the Botanical Gardens since that has just joined my new favorite list and soo much more.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my family and my two close friends Allaa and Farha for always supporting everything I do unconditionally.