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In conversation with Leena Al Ayoobi, Visual Artist

‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance’, said ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, and speaks tons about the worth of art and artists in our community. Making a visual and social impact with her paintings is the young visual artist fromBahrain, Leena Al Ayoobi.

Her childhood passion for drawing and painting bore fruit in 2014, when her work was part of some of the key exhibitions within and outside the kingdom. Having excelled in her art classes since school days, this selfmade artist skillfully brings together international styles while keeping her cultural roots intact. The Bahrain This Week team got in touch with Leena, who despite being busy with her full time job, took time out to speak with us, giving us a quick glimpse into her world of colours.

Being a self-made artist, have you ever felt that you should have taken professional training?

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I never had the time to do any art courses, as I studied Business Management during my university days. Ever since then, I’ve been in the field of banking and have not got the opportunity or time to study art in particular. But I keep practising and experimenting with new techniques to enhance my skills. I also have plans to take up some art related courses from abroad.

What is your painting style?

My painting style is influenced by Japanese art, as it was my passion since childhood. I used to love watching cartoons and drawing them. My inspiration is the works of Hayao Miyazaki and his animation work from Studio Ghibli.

How much has the Arab culture and tradition influenced your works?

I am inspired by our colours and traditions and that reflects in many of my paintings. I also enjoy drawing the details of our Arabic embroidery in my paintings as it gives me a taste of thepast that I miss.

We know that you follow different art styles ranging from acrylic to digital art. Of them all which is your favourite one?

I love exploring new styles and art mediums and recently started exploring watercolors and oils. So far I find it difficult to choose one from them.

Tell us about the Manga form of art you work on.

The Manga art style is my favourite when it comes to drawing. I have been following this style since I was seven or eight years old. It’s been the basis for all my art and I enjoy working on them all the time.

Is this true that the subject of most of your works is women? Why so?

Yes, I enjoy painting women more, especially traditional paintings of women from our culture. There’s always a nice story to tell behind each painting that depicts women. I believe women in this part of the world have many stories to tell as they have struggled and worked so hard to reach where they are today.

How do you think has your work been successful in influencing the society we live in?

As a painter myself, I believe artists can greatly influence society. So far I have been receiving feedback from the community and the art society and it sort of gives that extra boost to my morale to work more on my expertise. Recently my art work and other art related products were displayed at the Bahrain National Museum, which made me the proud as I was representing my country through my canvas and colours. I am currently also organising art workshops and sessions with a number of galleries in Bahrain, aimed at gathering the artist community and exchanging ideas and suggestions.

Your work has successfully been part of several events and exhibitions in Bahrain. Do you think such events are important?

These events are very important as it connects the audience with the artists. It gives exposure and helps us learn new things from other participants as well. I always tell my fellow artists to participate in all type of exhibitions and not aim at the big exhibitions alone. Each type of gallery/exhibition attracts different types of people who appreciate art at different levels.

You already have a digital gallery. Do you have plans to move your work to a permanent physical location?

Yes, this is one of my future plans but currently I’m focusing on developing and enhancing my art style and knowledge. To know more

about Leena and her artwork, you can check out her

website: www.leenzart.com or may also follow her on Instagram:@Leenz_Art.

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