Making enamel pins of culturally and historically significance

KUWAIT: Living in the current era of technological advancement and fast-paced lifestyles, many of the new generation, and possibly some of the elderly, have lost their connection with the past and tradition. In Kuwait, the connection seems to become weaker as generations after generation appear to treat the past as a forgotten memory or a relic of unknown origins.
Despite the challenge, two Kuwaiti artists decided to keep the past alive through enamel pins artworks depicting various periods, buildings, structures, and important individuals in the country’s long and illustrious history. “It is sad to see new generations growing without having the knowledge of their own history,” said Ammar Al-Abbad, a Kuwaiti collector of traditional and historical items, in a KUNA interview.”As a collector I cherish and appreciate the importance of history as it is a part of one’s identity,” he added.

The grievances of Al-Abbad inspired him and his colleague Hussain Al-Haddad, a history enthusiast with a bachelor degree in fine arts, to come up with the idea of combining their skills and interests to create something that would contribute to reviving and safekeeping Kuwaiti history. “To us history is an inspiration to thrive on”, expressed Al-Haddad in his own statement during the interview. Subsequently, both artists began their mission through their ‘H&A ArtWorks’ initiative, a project, which began in 2017 to create enamel pins of culturally and historically significance.

A modern touch
Al-Abbad and Al-Haddad created each pin to represent buildings, items or characters that took part in the country’s history and added a modern touch to their output. One of the three main enamel pin designs depicted “Beit Dickson”, the home of former British political Agent Colonel Harold Dickson and his wife Violet “Umm Saud” whose love and contributions to Kuwait are well documented and archived inside their house-turned-museum. The second design was Ash Shamia Gate, which is one of the five gates of the protective wall that once surrounded Kuwait. The final main design was dedicated to late renowned actor Abdulhussein Abdulredha, an icon of Kuwaiti theater and drama.

“Our goal is to represent Kuwait’s history through a creative and innovative vision” Al-Haddad reiterated to KUNA. As for the beginning of their long and important endeavor, Al-Abbad and Al-Haddad used their own skills to produce the pins by hand, shaping and molding plastic to their designs. Later, they decided to expand their project and with an intention to sell those pins as souvenirs. Each pin is carefully designed and packed “to be educational and attractive to the buyer,” said Al-Haddad, adding that a brief historical description was added to each merchandise for such purpose.

Whether you are a tourist, a young Kuwaiti youth, or an expatriate, the pins present an opportunity for everybody to get educated on the history of Kuwait “Our plan is to create many more designs and a wide collection of Kuwait historical items, buildings and characters,” said Al-Abbad on the duo future plans. Currently, both artists are working on adding historical locations such as “Koushk Mubarak”, “Souq Al-Mubarkiya”, “Al-Seif Palace”, “Saat Al-Shuwaikh” to the designs and they are also planning to showcase some of the characters in famous Kuwaiti TV shows “Darb Ez lzalaq” to the roster.

Other kinds of souvenirs such as posters, handicrafts and works of art depicting Kuwaiti history figures and places are in the planning stage. “We want to be the hands that dig in history to solidify it for the future generations” said Al-Haddad who indicated that with his colleague Al-Abbad will continue to dedicated their effort and time to create valuable items and works of art. – KUNA