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Kuwaiti artist expresses passion for culture, life through paintings

By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: Eighteen years of honing her skills in the field of graphic design and illustration has given Mariam Al-Salem, a Kuwaiti artist, the opportunity to display her creativity in the world of fine art and reach special moments in her artistic life. The painting “The Last Morning” highlighted Mariam’s name in the world of fine art after the piece reached a price of KD 2,800 in an auction. The theme of the drawing was her last meeting with the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Kuwait Times spoke to Mariam to discuss her journey in fine art.

“Before I became an artist in 2013, I spent almost 18 years honing my skills in the field of graphic design, illustrations and graphical work for various publications, political and commercial campaigns, applications, products and much more,” she said.

Mariam Al-Salem poses in front of one of her works.

On what inspires her, Mariam said: “I believe growing up in Ahmadi with its cultural diversity affected my views of life, which is reflected in some of my paintings, where you can find originality and heritage some times, and modernity and development at other times. That’s why I consider my paintings an act of understanding, as a search for fulfillment and finding balance in emotions, life and anxieties, as well as pleasures. As the artist Joseph Beuys said, ‘Every human being is an artist’. This is reflected in my paintings, which have many messages that represent my experiences, attitudes and feelings.”

“I am passionate about mixing styles and experimenting. My work reflects the passion I have for our culture, people’s behaviors, politics and life in its various manifestations. Experimentation is part of my painting process that motivates me to create new things and develop a new style and new ways to express myself through my paintings,” Mariam said. “I try to evoke the feelings and emotions of every human being in this mundane life. This is what helps my paintings to be simplistic and connected with topics that we encounter daily.”

Digital art

Mariam pointed out that she keeps experimenting with different forms and applications of art on canvas and paper, illustrations and digital art such as creating NFTs that have become part of her art routine, saying dealing with different forms of art is an art itself. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people have been creating art as a way of expressing themselves and staying socially connected while maintaining a physical distance. So, my cousin, the artist Mariam Al-Qattan, and I decided to create ROA (Roof of Art), a free art platform that allows anyone to participate, show or sell their artworks and express their opinions and feelings,” she said.

“During the pandemic, it was easy for people to browse the art gallery online due to the restrictive conditions at that time. We are looking forward to growing and expanding this platform in the coming years to cover every aspect of creating art in Kuwait and the region, including galleries, workshops, NFTs, auctions and more.”

Mariam said that she likes to learn from everyone, and sharing a work of art at the right time can give her a clear picture of people’s reactions. “To me, people are emotional and predictable, and this life is on repeat. We live in circles where events occur in a very similar pattern for all of us – similar joys and sorrows, same stories, hopes, loves and betrayals. I use my art sometimes as a social experiment, where I can see people’s feedback after sharing my work publicly on social media platforms or ROA’s website and observe how each piece reflects on each person differently,” she added.

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