‘Imagination can be reality:’ Saudi artist sees canvas as salvation

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“Everything you can imagine is real,” said Pablo Picasso. Saudi artist Fida Al-Hussan reels in the realm from the theory and tells a story with every piece of art she brings to life on canvas.

She converges art with social dogma and twists it with fashion and color. “Ever since I was a little child, I’ve been interested in drawing. I was good at it but never paid too much attention.”

During her high school years, Fida got interested in the graphic and digital aspects of design. She then started creating pieces that gained momentum and vast popularity. “By the way, the reason I didn’t have any exhibitions before 2013 was because I was worried that people wouldn’t like my work.”

Fida lives in Riyadh and has a background in Islamic Studies. She studied business administration and has recently dedicated herself to art projects.

“I had an art exhibition where I showcased my work in the beginning of the year and it was about Saudi art and fashion. It was a huge hit and I won the best graphic designer award. I was invited by Harvey Nichols to celebrate an event held by Oasis Magazine. Al-Faisal University and the University of Kuwait also invited me. I’m planning to hold more exhibitions in the future.”

In a country where freedom of expression through art is at an all-time high, young artists in Saudi Arabia are capitalizing on the right time to be documented. Fida said she developed interest in pop art after she realized the realm of the genre and the freedom of expression that came along with it.

“I found that I could express a lot of things through this art. You can tell many stories and record historical as well as political and social events in an accurate way, thanks to pop art.”

Matched by her passion and ability to fund her own projects, Fida admitted: “I didn’t have any difficulty because I funded my own projects. Actually, I can’t say if there was any difficulty in the Kingdom but everyone supported me and I have a lot of followers who love art.”

Social media websites have facilitated young and emerging talents in the region especially in Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

She said: “Social media has helped me great deal. I posted my work online and I was able to get 300 followers. One of the followers asked me if he could write about me in a page dedicated to art. He even showcased my work and they became popular worldwide. Many people became interested in them.”

Discussing her inspiration, she told Saudi Gazette: “I’m very emotional and get carried away a lot. I feel happy when I put my feelings into paint that tell real stories of human feelings and sentiments or tell stories about me. If we give attention to human souls, we’ll be able to solve many of the social problems we have. For example, when we hear about a crime that has rocked society, we think about it and never give attention to the personal motives of the murderer(s) and we ignore these motives and feelings. We should try to decipher why a murderer did what he did in order to solve this social problem.”

Currently, Fida is working with a group of artists. “We are planning to hold an exhibition for the new generation and schools to make everyone participate in art and get stimulated to be creative in their life.”

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