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Kuwaiti street artists thriving in the graffiti art scene
January 31, 2016, 11:21 am

Little children left an ugly mess of black marks on the walls of a power transformer in their neighborhood, rather than paint over it, a street artist was called to paint a mural.

Street Art, which began in response to young people's socio-political environment, underwent a change in the 1970's and 1980's to become a true form of artistic expression.

The 26-year old street artist Omar Al-Oraiman revealed to local media that he had experienced firsthand how influential street art could be in his community when he was approached by member of Al-Qairwan Cooperative Society, Nasser Shlayweeh Al-Mutairi, to paint the power transformer that had been vandalized by the children.

As an amateur artist, Al-Oraiman was enthusiastic about the endeavor and allowing his art to be seen by the public. Moreover, he was happy to see this form of art finding its way out of New York streets to the world, most particularly, to the Gulf country of Kuwait, where many street artworks seen here are inspired by Kuwaiti tradition and culture.

"I was thrilled to volunteer. It was an opportunity that was given to me not only to express myself through art but also to introduce a sense of responsibility and volunteerism into the little kids who were watching me the whole time I was turning the very wall they had destroyed into a beautiful piece of art," he said.

Al-Oraiman highlighted the purpose of his performance, “It was a powerful life lesson for all of us, and it was learnt through art, most particularly street art, because it can be seen and appreciated by everyone on the street." Al-Oraiman's little project brought people together, the government, the artist and the kids, for the best interest of their community. "And that's how influential the message of street art is," he concluded.

Abdullah Al-Enezi, another street artist, chose graffiti for its "unlimited and open creativity”.  The 24-year old artist expressed his respect for public property and said he would not paint on any wall unless it was asked of him; otherwise, he would paint on abandoned properties.

After many years of having the ‘gang’ stigma attached to this art form, graffiti is getting the respect it deserves. Surprisingly, the street art scene in Kuwait has become ‘progressive’, highlighted Fay Al-Homoud, founder of Q8streetart. Understanding that local artists needed support and recognition, Al-Homoud, driven by the passion for this art form which she acquired during her travels, decided in 2012 to create Q8streetart on Instagram, a local platform to document and showcase Kuwait street art.

"My efforts are not only focused on showcasing artwork as I am equally passionate about bringing the artist to the forefront," Al-Homoud said. Adding that because of the progressive scene of street art, it has been admirably accepted in the country. "Corporate vendors such as banks and telecom companies as well as other establishments use street art in their numerous events and launches," she added.

Street artists are very respectful of public properties, and to avoid the labeling of this expression of art as vandalism, artists are well aware of the restrictions, rules and regulations set by the municipality. She elucidated, "It is not considered vandalism, if an artist creates a public piece after acquiring all required licenses and documentation."

Source: KUNA

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