Coming from two different worlds usually makes a person have mixed feelings about pretty much everything, especially when one of your worlds is falling apart and faces severe destruction every day.
Syrian-American artist, Kinda Hibrawi, expresses the meeting of East and West in her paintings. Her artwork is a passionate journey of femininity, spirituality and cultural fusion.
In the years she lived in the Middle East, Hibrawi studied Arabic language in all its art forms and was given the opportunity to expand her ancient tradition of Arabic calligraphy while adding a modern twist to it. Her artwork represents the rich culture of the Middle East fused with the diversity of the West.
Hibrawi is also a humanitarian and activist who tries to support her beloved Syria in any way she can. In 2013, she co-founded Karam Foundation’s Zeitouna program, a creative therapy and wellness project for displaced Syrian children that has served over 2,000 kids.
After returning from a mission in Atmeh, where Syria’s largest internally displaced refugee camp lies, Hibrawi was haunted after witnessing almost 30,000 Syrians living in tents in the dust with horrendous conditions.
On the night of Aug. 21, 2013, missles with chemical weapons were dropped in Ghouta and the world witnessed, live, the body count rise as people helplessly turned to Twitter to report about the toxic fumes and their deseprate pleas of help. In one night, 1,400 Syrian lives were claimed due to the Ghouta chemical weapons massacre.
Hibrawi, haunted by that night, made a series of portraits, named “The Syria Twitter Portrait”, with the background composed of tweets from the Syrian massacres that took place over the last three years. The paintings are dedicated to the memory of the innocent Syrians who lost their lives, especially the children. The portraits are inspired from photos of Syrian refugee children Hibrawi took on her Zaytouna missions.
Most of Hibrawi’s artwork has a purpose and a message that is expressed beautifully in her mixture of vibrant colours and Arabic calligraphy.
After the passing of the late Khalil Gibran, Hibrawi created a collection of paintings in tribute to the artist, poet and writer whose words widely resonated with people all over the planet. The series, titled “Dear Mr. Gibran”, were interpretations of his writings and philosophies. With words bound in spheres and flowing in motion with her vibrant, colourful strokes, the continuous motion and force of energy is displayed, representing a unity that was one of Gibran’s ongoing goals of trying to bridge the gap between East and West.
Hibrawi’s work displays the beauty of different forms of art coming together to create a masterpiece. Her 2013 collection, “Arabesque”, made up of the beauty of the Arabic letters, portrays the Arabic language as a form of art and design. The letters are compiled together to form a composition in which the colours and letters become art.
Hibrawi’s earlier collections show her love of calligraphy, having studied it at the age of 14. Hibrawi’s lettering is an art on its own as it does not resemble any of the calligraphy styles she studied; she has succeeded in creating her own style that is full of energy and beauty.
Hibrawi’s artwork helps bridge cultural misunderstandings between Arabs and Americans, but Hibrawi is known for more than just her artwork. As a humanitarian and activist, she was awarded a medal of honor for her service to humanity from the Wiliston Northampton School in May 2014. This medal is given every year to outstanding individuals who are recognized for a history of doing good.
When art has a purpose and is recognized internationally, it is even more beautiful and that is the case with Kinda Hibrawi’s artwork.
WE SAID THIS: To follow Hibrawi’s amazing artwork, visit her website here