Life doesn’t always take you on the path you started out on and perhaps no one knows that better than Saudi Arabian artist Ghaida Al Ghanim. A medical student and self-taught artist, Al Ghanim’s work has caught the eye of the nation recently, with her bold visual statements, choice of striking colors and expressive strokes, clever use of mixed media, and the focus on her main subject, the eye.
A quick look through her Instagram account reveals dozens of remarkable works around the eye and indeed her profile description emphasizes her subject interest, stating “It’s all about the ęyę.” In a 2018 interview with Emirates Woman, the young artist explained why the eye is a regular motif in her work, saying, “The eyes do all the work. The first thing you see when you meet a person is their eyes and this doesn’t change when looking at a piece of art. The viewer’s eye is naturally drawn straight to the soul of the painting.”
Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Al Ghanim draws influence from the greats, such as Picasso and Salvador Dali, adding a lot of her personal touch and Saudi heritage to every work. Her paintings and pieces have been described as colorful, rich in Arab patterns, art, and alphabet, and full of energy and emotion, and the artist herself has described her work as “free flowing.”
Amongst her most recent works is her project with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia to bring Chanel's latest J12 timepieces and Noir Et Blanc de Chanel make-up collection to life. In her interview with the magazine, she explained the beauty of art is in its universality, saying, “Sometimes, we don’t speak the same language, but art does […] Painting has the power to liberate.”
In her Instagram post about the collaboration, she reiterated her feeling about art being something everyone can share and express themselves through, stating, “Words fail me in terms of how I could describe what art does mean to me. I will always be speechless, but art will always be able to speak where words are unable to explain.