(Photo taken at the exhibition at Maldoror Galerie, 2023.)
Nabila Ayu Aviani (b. 2000) is a figurative painter based in The Hague, Netherlands. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art specialising in painting at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK), the Hague. Originally from Indonesia and raised in the United Arab Emirates, she uses her experiences as a third culture kid and as a person affected by the diaspora of globalisation to create paintings depicting her nostalgic memories of her time growing up in the Middle East. Her unique paintings unravel a contemporary side of the Arab world that Western countries usually do not see. She shows the lives of the third culture kids who grew up in the Emirates with her, all displaced by the diaspora whilst longing for belonging in a place they cannot call home.

Artist statement:
The lively stories welded within my artistic practice make it intriguing, fresh, and exciting. Through storytelling, I explore themes of reminiscing, yearning, and searching. My paintings are glimpses of my bittersweet memories in the United Arab Emirates. Born Indonesian and raised in the United Arab Emirates, I question my identity and sense of belonging. I am Indonesian by birth and nationality, yet Indonesia and being “Indonesian” feels so foreign to me.

In the United Arab Emirates, I grew up in an international environment where English was the primary language. I attended an international school where everyone spoke English.I was in an international school filled with people who shared a similar background, third culture kids raised in a country far away from the country they are from.

Raised amongst kids who were so native yet so foreign, just like them, I am also so native yet so foreign.

Using my experiences as a third culture kid, I create paintings depicting the lives of displaced kids of diaspora in the Middle East. I shine a light on this part of the world and show the contemporary aspect of the Arab world. In my paintings, I depict my memories in the United Arab Emirates. Through this, I reminisce about my teenage dirtbag years while I yearn to feel at home and search for an identity.

Being a third-culture kid, I will never feel at home in my own native country. I have accepted that I will never be Indonesian enough. How strange is it that I am more excited to eat shawarma than nasi goreng? I cannot even speak my native language without my tongue getting exhausted after a while.

I am so native yet so foreign.

Nabila Ayu Aviani:
2000 Born in Tangerang, Indonesia.

2019 - 2023 BA Fine Art, Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague, NL.
2014 - 2019 Secondary school, Al Ain English Speaking School, Al Ain, UAE.

Group exhibitions:
2023 Drawings Paintings, Maldoror Galerie, The Hague, NL.
2023 Graduation Show 2023, Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague, NL.
2022 Three Birds No Stone, Fine Arts KABK Pre-Graduation show, LAAKClub, The Hague, NL.
2022 To Give A Dog A Name, Billytown/Ruimtevaart, The Hague, NL.
2022 Mmmmmmmmmarshmallow Cube, Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague, NL.
2022 Don't Lose Yourself, Delft, NL.
2021 Take Me Somewhere Nice, SeeLab, The Hague, NL.
2021 With/Out, WEST, The Hague, NL.
2021 Beyond Binaries, TENT, Rotterdam, NL.
2019 In Bloom, La Dolce Vita, Al Ain , UAE.

2022 Featured in Mosquito Newspaper.