The eighth edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival returns on January 30. Running through to the end of March, it takes the motif of ‘Connected Communities’ as its theme for 2020. Three young artists will represent Kuwait.

Within the Festival’s curated series of shows and exhibitions, three young Kuwaiti artists have been brought together and will be waving the flag for the nation as they see their works presented – Sara Soud, Shoug Bahzad, and Ahmad Al Hussaini.

We met with the latter two – an artist and a sculptor respectively – to discuss their work and their hopes for their participation in the Festival.

Where better to start than with you telling us a little about your work for the Festival?

Ahmad Al Hussaini: My work is in the form of a wood sculpture. Entitled ‘Embracement’, its dimensions are 110 by 30cm, it represents the embrace of a child by his or her parents.

Shoug Bahzad: An oil on cotton canvas painting – ‘The Beauty of a Young Girl’. It’s about a beautiful young girl who is trying to look strong, but her pain and sadness show in her eyes.

What does it mean to you to be present at the Festival?

AAH: It means a great deal to me. In doing this, I’m representing my country and, of course, it is a unique opportunity for any artist to be at the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival.

SB: It’s the first time I’ll show my art outside of Kuwait so, for this and other reasons, it’s a totally new experience for me and naturally I’m excited. 

How do you view the role of the Festival in promoting the arts within our region, and throughout the world?

AAH: The festival in itself is a great occasion within a wonderful venue. It is a unique event that brings together artists from around the world.

SB: For sure, the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festivals has, over the years, played a huge role in changing people minds with regard to their approach to, and understanding of, art.

What is the role of the artist in today’s world?

AAH: Art is a way of expressing one’s mind, taste, beauty, and creativity. Artists share for these elements of their soul for the world to enjoy. Through this, art speaks and reaches people’s souls.

SB: It all depends on the artist’s mentality – some want to send a message through their art, some simply to show the beauty of the artwork. Their intention defines the role.

As a Kuwaiti artist, how do you view the opportunities for you to exhibit your work within the country and the region? What’s lacking? Where are the arts in Kuwait heading?

AAH: The opportunity to participate in Kuwait or across the region is a great way for a wide audience to see the artsit’s work and to share the stories behind them. This would be strengthened by the creation of greater awareness of each event – too much happens with too few people knowing about it! However, the future looks good for Kuwait – our nation’s neighbors are eager to connect with us here due to the richness and variety of arts practiced within our country.

SB: Too few people appreciate the real value of art – too many view art as pointless. For example, if I want to sell my painting for KD100 some will think it is too much to pay… but the same person will happily pay the same amount for a fashionable scarf!

What do you hope will be your take-away from the Festival… how will the experience help you grow? And what elements of yourself do you hope to use to enrich others?

AAH: I’m hoping to reach many people with my art, and will enjoy the opportunity to get to know artists from many nation’s and social backgrounds while I’m there.

SB: I would like to see it deliver a change in the mentality of the people of this region when they learn the differences in the art we’ll share, and I hope it will create a deeper belief in the importance of the artist.

The three artists were brought together and supported throughout their preparation by long-term Kuwait resident, media maven and art-lover Tara Sillery – shown above with Ahmad and Shoug. “It is a huge passion of mine to ensure that the right Kuwaiti talent gets a platform within and outside of the country,” she says. “We have a boundless amount of talent in Kuwait, and it is always so difficult to ‘choose’ as honestly my mind gets blown away with the art that I see.

“It has been an honour as well as enlightening to work alongside Suqrat Bin Bisher, Director of the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, and the entire Al Qasimi team in ensuring Kuwait is represented in this festival”.

The Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival begins with a series of opening events from 30th January. The full opening is 1st February, and the Festival runs through to the end of March. You can learn more here