In a solo exhibition at Dubai’s Aisha Alabbar Gallery, Emirati artist Najat Makki engages with her past through hallucinatory paisleys and patterns, vibrant speckled paints and forms emerging from dizzying brushstrokes.

Over a career spanning several decades, Makki has remained one of the UAE's pioneering artists. The female perspective has long been prevalent in her work, as she uses paintings to represent the women in Emirati society through her idiosyncratic silhouetted forms.

Najat Makki (born 1956) is an Emirati visual artist. She is a member of the Dubai Cultural Council and one of the pioneers in Emirati contemporary art scene . Makki was the first Emirati woman to earn a government scholarship to study art abroad in 1977. She obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees in relief sculpture and metal from the College of Fine Arts in Cairo, where she also received her doctorate in the philosophy of art in 2001.

The Scent of Memories exemplifies Makki’s sensibilities towards colours and what they can evoke. In Arabic, its title literally translates to "The Spectra of Musk", or atyaf almusk.

The title, Makki says, is a nod to her father. “My father had a perfume store, and he sold musk there,” she says. “The smell of musk has a strong presence in my memories.”

With the exhibition, Makki says she hopes to evoke in her audience what she herself experienced when making the works. That is, “to evoke an intimate memory of a time and place” in a way that is individual to the viewer.