By Nawara Fattahova

No art exhibitions were held last year in Kuwait due to the lockdown, while only a few small art exhibitions have been held this year. But artists are still creating artworks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Meet Kuwaiti artist Hanan Al-Ghareeb, who tried to turn the pandemic into a positive event with her drawings. “I’m still creating artworks. During the curfew, I had even more time, and I finished many beautiful pieces,” she told Kuwait Times. Ghareeb draws using coal, which is not a common medium. Some excerpts:

Kuwait Times: How do you draw with coal?
Hanan Al-Ghareeb: This kind of drawing needs some special tools. These include pencils, coal powder, different kinds of coal pencils, brushes and special paper for coal drawing.

KT: Is this kind of art difficult?
Ghareeb: Although the material used in my drawing is very simple – coal – it requires creativity, high precision skills, fine detailing, accurate shading in the right place and evenly distributing the coal powder on the painting.

KT: How long does it take you to finish one piece?
Ghareeb: In the beginning, when I started my career in fine arts, the drawing time was much longer than today. I gained skills practicing this art, and one picture now takes me two to three days to finish.

Kuwaiti artist Hanan Al-Ghareeb

KT: Where did you learn this art?
Ghareeb: My passion for this type of art made me search for art courses provided by certified teachers and artists, such as Mona Al-Hazim. I was also self-learning through the Internet, reading and searching for information to gain experience.

KT: Since when are you drawing?
Ghareeb: Since I was a child in preschool, I loved to draw with all kinds of colors and materials. When I grew up, I started focusing on drawing with coal.

KT: Do you only draw portraits?
Ghareeb: I’m able to draw in many styles of all art schools, including realism, surrealism, abstract, cubism and sensual. I can also execute these paintings with different kinds of colors, including oil colors, watercolors, pastels and acrylic. But drawing portraits with coal is my favorite and I find myself in it.

KT: In how many exhibitions have you participated?
Ghareeb: I have participated in many exhibitions. The most important ones include Kuwait Pearls Expo, Al-Rabia Expo, Gulf Group Artists Expo, Manarat Al-Arab Expo and others.

KT: Where did you study and where do you work?
Ghareeb: I graduated from Kuwait University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. I’m also a certified trainer in this field. I also work as a kindergarten teacher.

KT: Is any of your family members an artist?
Ghareeb: I have noticed that all of my children have a passion for art. I hope they succeed in this field, and I will always support them.