The signature style through which award-winning artist Kristel Bechara expresses herself has led her to find commercial and critical success. The established Lebanese painter has become renowned for her silhouettes in blacks, whites and greys with energetic patterns and animated colours to represent a wide spectrum of emotions. Though the Dubai-based Bechara depicts traditional subjects, she has become a master at inserting surprising twists through her use of lively colour combinations and vibrant patterned forms.
Bechara, who is coveted regionally and internationally, usually conveys a sense of fantasy, freedom and joie de vivre. She claims “beauty in diversity” is the statement that defines her art, and her work is all about highlighting these diversities, contrasts and differences that make the world so beautiful.
“As our world is beautiful because it is diverse and full of contrasts, I try to highlight this aspect in my artwork, showing that our diversities and differences are what makes us unique. We should embrace these differences and open up to inclusion and tolerance,” she told “Art in Me.”
While capturing her experiences and memories, Bechara, who has a studio on Sheikh Zayed Road, touches on issues such as gender equity, beauty, confidence and the strength and struggle women from all walks of life face. The talent who turned a hobby into a profession is riveted by the image of women and feminism in particular. Subsequently, the female form is at the heart of many of her artworks, where different feelings like joy or sadness are expressed through gestures, poses and expressions.
As part of her CV, the mother of two, who grew up among strong women, has two collections that celebrate women. “Ask A Woman” shines the light on all kinds of women, with Bechara finding motivation via their strong points, vulnerabilities, humour, laughter, joys and tears. In the collection that is about the galvanising ideas she aims to live by and pass onto others, “Sophia’s Wisdom” depicts Sophia Lauren with a doughnut. It sends the message beauty is happiness found while being comfortable with oneself, not the surreal norms set by the media. Meanwhile, “Tres Joli Bigoudi” shows one of today’s stars, the beautiful Angelina Jolie, wearing her hair up in rollers. Women would have to sleep uncomfortably in the can-sized rollers to perfect the popular voluminous hair look in the 60s. There’s also “She is King,” an oeuvre representing how a woman can dream of being a king too. The piece that was commissioned by Standard Chartered Bank and can be found at its headquarters in London raises awareness on gender pay inequality. It covers only 52.4 percent of the canvas, the amount female artists are paid compared to men.
In “Inamorata,” Bechara, who names her late father, a surrealist artist and sculptor, as an inspiration, pays tribute to some of the most iconic women from history and modern times. The exceptional women who have stirred Bechara are all known for their bravado and unwillingness to conform. Frida Kahlo, who played a major role in creating an art scene for women, Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot and Madonna are some of the women featured in the collection. Audrey Hepburn, the multi-lingual star who became the first actress to win a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and a BAFTA for a single performance, also has an eye-catching portrait. From the region, the UAE Resident Artist Award winner chose Fairouz, the Arab world’s most famous and most listened-to singer. Legendary multi-hyphenate Sherihan, who can list actress, singer, dancer, lawyer and mother as her achievements, is also included in the collection.
Bechara’s penchant for including her fondness for fabrics, graphic patterns and painting in one stunning piece of artwork can be seen in other collections like “Earthly Grace,” “Superheroes” and “Garden of Life.” about her latest collection, “Psychomachia” click here. The collection about the battle between virtues and vices is showing at a new gallery in Gate Avenue, DIFC until June 2021.