Nejoud Behbehani is an aspiring parody Kuwaiti artist who currently studies Fine Art in London.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a Kuwaiti student, studying in University of the arts London. I’m currently doing my second year in BA Fine Art and did BA graphic design in my first year. The reason I have transferred to fine art was because I found myself struggling with making art through technology. I was forced to go for graphic design in my first year because at the time, art was not highly promoted in Kuwait and there we’re barely job offers for artists. I managed to make it through my first year after all the confusion and self confrontation. I then decided to change majors and do what I really do. I love getting my hands messy and physically connecting with my work. I chose to go for Fine Art and to settle there, no matter the consequences. I am a self taught painter and interested in collage making since my early childhood. Art is how I express my self best. I hope to promote my work as well as gaining an audience that will help influence and make my work grow.
What influenced you to start being creative?
I’m not a big fan of talking. I prefer delivering my messages through a canvas.
What message do you want to give through your artwork?
Be proud of your culture and embrace it in an appropriate way. We are making history.
What themes do you often explore in your artwork?
Sometimes political or self-reflection. I like experiencing many techniques and combining different aspects. I work towards giving life to my imaginations in a way that pleases me.
Tell us about your artistic practice?
In hope of growing as a parody artist, I made my first series of collage bringing together culture and pop art. Discussing the evolution of Kuwait which was once a small, very preserved, traditional country. This changed. Many in this new generation have been studying abroad, mostly between America and the UK. They have been adapting their lifestyle and unconsciously altering their lives towards what they have experienced in a very open culture with extremely different observances. Therefore, my art argues the heavy impact it has left on them and others around them as this generation continues to grow in a way that the older generations are not proud of. It is not as disruptive as it seems, yet not everyone is aware of their actions and how it influence others easily. I have done a research to support my argument. I showed “Americanized style” music video’s from Kuwaiti rappers “Sons of Yusuf” and Saudi artist “Majed Al Essa”, to my art professor and class mates whom some were Chinese and British. They said that both the imagery and rap in the video, looked and sounded very offensive towards cultures and the rap industry. I have worked towards portraying amusement and resolving the issues in my chosen topic.
What inspired the pieces you submitted to us?
Returning home every summer, I kind of unintentionally observed the cultural difference here in Kuwait and in London. Being here and there has forced me to see things I never realized before, or maybe I never cared to. Until being home doesn’t feel like home anymore because of the way we have been slowly adapting to a new culture.
What is your favourite artwork that you have created in the past and why?
I made a self-portrait while I was going through a very hard time. It felt more soothing and pleasurable than any of the other times I spent painting.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Painting brushes and scissors. Somehow these tools satisfy me whenever I’m at my highest or lowest.
What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
Art plays a big role in society. It inspires us to cope and defeat. It becomes more sensitive as we grow. I’d take care of what I present in my artwork, yet I’d also like to try working outside my comfort zone.
What’s the best advice you ever had about how to be more creative or what advice would you give to someone?
I got a book from my mom on my 17th birthday called “The art of being a brilliant teenager”. It was a collection of inspiring stories, artist quotes and interesting drawings.
Who are your favourite Arab artists at the moment?
Connect with Nejoud here: @bynejoud