KuwaitLiving in Kuwait

Kuwaiti coal artist finds inspiration in the middle of despair

By Nawara Fattahova

No art exhibitions were held last year in Kuwait due to the lockdown, while only a few small art exhibitions have been held this year. But artists are still creating artworks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meet Kuwaiti artist Hanan Al-Ghareeb, who tried to turn the pandemic into a positive event with her drawings. “I’m still creating artworks. During the curfew, I had even more time, and I finished many beautiful pieces,” she told Kuwait Times. Ghareeb draws using coal, which is not a common medium. Some excerpts:

Kuwait Times: How do you draw with coal?
Hanan Al-Ghareeb: This kind of drawing needs some special tools. These include pencils, coal powder, different kinds of coal pencils, brushes and special paper for coal drawing.

KT: Is this kind of art difficult?
Ghareeb: Although the material used in my drawing is very simple – coal – it requires creativity, high precision skills, fine detailing, accurate shading in the right place and evenly distributing the coal powder on the painting.

KT: How long does it take you to finish one piece?
Ghareeb: In the beginning, when I started my career in fine arts, the drawing time was much longer than today. I gained skills practicing this art, and one picture now takes me two to three days to finish.

Kuwaiti artist Hanan Al-Ghareeb

KT: Where did you learn this art?
Ghareeb: My passion for this type of art made me search for art courses provided by certified teachers and artists, such as Mona Al-Hazim. I was also self-learning through the Internet, reading and searching for information to gain experience.

KT: Since when are you drawing?
Ghareeb: Since I was a child in preschool, I loved to draw with all kinds of colors and materials. When I grew up, I started focusing on drawing with coal.

KT: Do you only draw portraits?
Ghareeb: I’m able to draw in many styles of all art schools, including realism, surrealism, abstract, cubism and sensual. I can also execute these paintings with different kinds of colors, including oil colors, watercolors, pastels and acrylic. But drawing portraits with coal is my favorite and I find myself in it.

KT: In how many exhibitions have you participated?
Ghareeb: I have participated in many exhibitions. The most important ones include Kuwait Pearls Expo, Al-Rabia Expo, Gulf Group Artists Expo, Manarat Al-Arab Expo and others.

KT: Where did you study and where do you work?
Ghareeb: I graduated from Kuwait University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. I’m also a certified trainer in this field. I also work as a kindergarten teacher.

KT: Is any of your family members an artist?
Ghareeb: I have noticed that all of my children have a passion for art. I hope they succeed in this field, and I will always support them.


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