Every month the online gallery EMERGEAST.com contributes to al.arte.magazine’s art section by shining light on the movers and shakers of the Middle Eastern art scene. Artist spotlights, artist interviews, and all things art from the Middle East – stay tuned!
Artist of the Month: Perryhan El Ashmawi
Who is Perryhan El Ashmawi the artist?
Passionately ambitious with everything, and anything, that is art related. Expressing my thoughts creatively instead of verbally is what I’m all about. I’ll always stay faithful to pursing art, no matter the obstacles I encounter.
Describe your art in three words…
Eye candy Pop!
To what extent do your roots, background and culture play into the themes behind your art?
It definitely has a big role. Naturally we absorb from our surroundings and take inspiration from it. I do feel that my art is influenced a lot by popular culture and society. I see it as a positive thing as well, because that allows my work to evolve. At the end of the day, art is a window to our culture and background.
Your art speaks to loudly to the ‘third-culture’ kid, what elements in your style/subject matter grabs this attention in your opinion?
I believe it’s the way I juxtapose traditional ways and contemporary influences. Being raised in the Middle East, and yet fortunate to obtain my degree in Canada, made me feel adaptable to different customs. The artistic style that I developed reflects both my traditional, Middle Eastern background, as well as my ‘westernized’ tendencies. I truly believe that great art emerges at the crossroads of different cultures.
As an emerging artist from the Middle East, how has the increased spotlight on the Middle Eastern art scene affected your inspirations or art?
It’s exciting! Because you get to see how the art market expands, and how more people take great interest in it. When there is strong exposure on Middle Eastern art, it also allows artists to grow and evolve. But even more so, it attracts a bigger and diverse community of art enthusiast.
What’s next for Perryhan El Ashmawi? Following your dynamic series – what direction are you seeking and most importantly where did you seek inspiration…or does it come to you?
I feel inspiration comes to you, even when you’re not seeking it. You gain inspiration doing the things you love most in life, and also by being around the people you care about. When you find yourself happy, that means you’ve unlocked your full potential in achieving something you didn’t think was capable. I try to always embrace whatever comes my way, because I might discover something that either sparks a new idea, or becomes the driving force to reach an accomplishment.
Perry, of Egyptian origin, grew up in the Middle East on the island of Bahrain. Perry pursued her artistic desire through her studies at Concordia University in Montreal, attaining a BA in Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and Drawing. Her work surrounds a post-modern approach by placing her subjects within an intensely coloured and ornamented surface. By merging pop culture with a rather traditional painting technique, she finds inspiration from the innovative work of contemporary, urban artists as well as the traditional style of the old Masters.