What happens when food meets art in Qatar?

By Kim Wyatt 

In this week’s episode of Mama Baba Ganoush, I’ve collaborated with the brainchild behind @inkstruckstudio, Zakkiya H., to create a super-easy and delicious platter filled with fresh fruit, dates, and nuts – perfect for sharing with friends and family during Ramadan. Which just goes to show that food and art is a great combination!

Originally a fully-trained architect, Zakkiya moved to Doha five years ago and replaced the world of architecture with her true passion – water-colour art. Zakkiya is the perfect example of following where your dreams take you in life, and I was lucky enough to sit down with her for a chat. 

ILQ: What is your background?

ZH: I spent the majority of my childhood in the UAE and moved to Doha five years ago to join my husband. I’m an architect by profession, but for the last couple of years I’ve been following my passion in watercolour.  I have a pre-schooler who is three years and 10 months who keeps me on my toes all day!

ILQ: You trained for five years as an architect. Why did you leave this career behind?

ZH: For me, doing something should evoke joy. I enjoyed learning architecture, but I didn’t enjoy working as much. I really don’t think I’m cut out for a 9-to-5 job, and the lack of creativity didn’t help. That being said, I’m glad I have a college degree and that I can always go back to working if an unfavourable situation occurs.

ILQ: Why did you start painting?

ZH: It was really a form of stress-relief for me. After work, I loved the creative freedom it gave me.  It was my way of expelling the pressures of work and other mundane tasks. An hour or so of art does wonders.

ILQ: Have you always painted?

ZH: I’ve always been artistic. As a child I loved dabbling in colour and creating fonts. Art was always encouraged at home, and my Mom is quite an artist herself – so it came naturally to me. Straight after university I became interested in realistic pencil portraits for a couple of years and then stumbled upon watercolour and fell in love. Since then, there’s been no looking back.

ILQ: Why did you choose the medium of watercolour?

ZH: There was no specific reason, but I loved the challenge it gave me. I was so used to being so rigid and precise with pencils, that watercolour was actually freeing. It challenges me everyday to create something new and it’s also one medium that you can’t control. It has a mind of it’s own – which mostly results in a beautiful end product.

ILQ: What are your favorite subjects to draw/paint?

ZH: Oh I absolutely love flowers! It’s so refreshing to paint them. The colours, the shapes…everything about them is amazing. I also love doing galaxies, fruits, and patterns.


ILQ: Are there many watercolourists in Qatar?

ZH: There are a few that I’ve stumbled upon mainly through Instagram. I would love to see more watercolourists in Doha.

ILQ: What tips would you give people if they want to try their hand at watercolour?

ZH: Just begin – and when you do, keep at it! The first few tries are the most frustrating, but once you get it, you’ll love it more and more. I would also say to get the right materials. It’s very important to invest in a few good materials, because that does make a difference. You can buy these from Cass Art at the Fire Station Museum, Jarir Bookstore, and Ibn Qayyim Stationary. My blog covers a lot of beginner tips from materials to techniques in the section called ‘Learn Watercolours’.

ILQ: What plans do you have for the future?

ZH: I’m looking into different topic ideas for future workshops, online courses, and bringing out more and more resources for my lovely readers on my blog. I’m game for anything life throws my way, so I guess I’ll wait and see.

So that wraps up another week for Mama Baba Ganoush! Be sure to watch the video and like and share. Ramadan Kareem everyone!


About Ink Struck Studio

Instagram - @inkstruckstudio

Web - www.inkstruckstudio.com

Blog – www.inkstruckstudio.com/blog


Fire Station Museum

Mohammed Bin Thani Street, Doha

Tel: (+974) 5546-5244

Web - www.firestation.org.qa/

Instagram - @dohafirestation


Ibn Al Qayyim Bookstore

Khalifa Street, Al Markhiya 33, Ad Dawhah, Doha

Tel: (+974) 4487-6383


Jarir Bookstore

Three outlets including -

Al Rayyan Aljadeed Street, Ar-Rayyan, Doha

Tel: (+974) 4411-4322

Web - www.jarir.com

Instagram - @jarirbookstore