Young Arab artists Introducing Syrian artist Noor Bahjat
Chosen as the first artist to be awarded Ayyam Gallery’s Young Artist in Residency program, young Syrian artist Noor Bahjat will present her works in Dubai this month.
Bahjat’s work was produced under the mentorship of renowned artists Tammam Azzam and Mohannad Orabi. In an interview with Saudi Gazette, the 24-year-old artist said working with Azzam and Orabi has given her a solid starting point. Bahjat graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus in 2014.
“I graduated with a certainty that I wanted to build my career as an artist. My parents are supporters of my dream to achieve success in the art world, and they have appreciated my progress.”
Bahjat works are mostly detailed sketches and self-portraits fashioned in an expressionist style with a subject matter and message.
“I began to experiment with acrylic paints and collage, working with mixed media for the first time. It was as if a new atmosphere had emerged with my ambition to create an experimental body of work.”
Talking about her current selection of works, she believes it is a reflection of her personal journey and artistic tradition. She also admitted working with both mentors helped push her abilities further.
“This body of work is an expression of what I want out of my practice; starting with an idea in my mind but changing form as I continue to develop the composition.
With time I began to overcome obstacles of self-judgment, due to the strictness of my previous education in painting, and with each layer of wrong the painting becomes right, and much more powerful than its original state.
Objects start to take shape on the canvases without thought as the concepts of our existence (globe), hope (flowers), and death (skull), provides the confirmation of a balanced life.
As I paint I wonder what would happen to my depicted figures and objects if the earth were capable of falling apart, how these figures become deconstructed almost.”
While studying at university she worked with oil on canvas, but during her residency she started to explore acrylic and collage. “Every medium has its own connection with the work.
I prefer oil painting but I find that acrylic creates more texture and collage adds layers of distance.” Bahjat believes it is integral for or an artist to be honest about their art, to keep learning, sharing knowledge and to be open minded about possibilities.
Art plays a huge role in society and can be a major influence. Bahjat merges this truth with experiences around her.
“As an artist I tend to reflect on experiences through people and life around me. When a viewer appears in front of your work and communicates a personal experience that the artwork has triggered, that is a unique expression of a personal story and a sharing of knowledge,” she explained.
“I wouldn’t live my life in any other way. I stand happy in my decision to follow a passion that keeps me busy, expressive, and lost; aspects of my personality that I will follow until the end.”
When asked what she disliked about the art world, she commented on the struggle many Arab artists face around the Middle East.
“It is the consistent dishonest attitude, which is linked to having strong networking skills rather than having powerful artworks.”
She further hopes to complete a fine arts master’s degree to further her practice and nurture personal and artistic growth. Bahjat’s exhibition takes place from 3 August – 15 September at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai.