Photography courtesy- Nina Kamal
CAIRO - 1 August 2017: Ambitious young artist Nina Kamal is among the few face painting artists who work to spread awareness of social causes through face painting and drawing; an activity she says she will never abandon.
The 30-year-old accountant is fond of all forms of art as she also plays the violin (both solo and within an orchestra for amateurs), and teaches sign language to children.
Kamal is known for manifesting elements of life through her face paintings; with humble techniques and ordinary tools, she manages to deliver strong humanitarian messages through her artistic works. Egypt Today speaks to Kamal about her passion, aspirations and face painting projects.
When did you start face painting? And what inspires you to do it?
Two years ago, I set off on the path of face painting. I was basically inspired by my surroundings and situations in my life, such as humane causes and new ideas, which I acquire when watching new movies alongside ideas that I come up with on my own.
Drawing and painting make me happy and communicate my feelings to others. I think I would go crazy if I quit! I may put it aside for a while, but never quit.
Tell us more about the material and methods you use.
I use makeup brushes and drawing brushes, eye shadow and watercolors to produce my work. My work has appeared in newspapers, and I was also a guest on TV shows where I spoke about my art. I used to draw face portraits on paper for a long time before I proceeded with face paintings, and that helped me draw on my own face, as I quickly grasped the technique.
What social causes are you trying to raise awareness of through face painting?
I was very influenced by one Ramadan charity ad that portrayed a poor woman drinking unclean water because she didn’t have access to sanitized water. The TV ad repulsively ridiculed poor people and failed to draw attention to the actual cause of poor water access in Upper Egypt.
My paintings have expressed several social causes, including awareness on cancer, abuse to the elderly and violence against women, among others.
Portraying mental health issues is among the social causes I seek to shed light on in the upcoming period. Many people suffer from depression which I think is a serious illness; therefore, I want to express that issue in my drawings and emphasize its seriousness.
Do you ever think of developing this into a real business?
I am always drawing in general; however, drawing for social causes is something I consider as a special project with various outputs and issues to express.
How is a finished project different from what you expected when you started?
My expectations of a project are always different than the final output. The output is only 60 percent of what I had in mind which is somewhat frustrating to me. I try for long hours to meet that expectation; however, I believe practice will improve my final projects.
What are your favorite drawings?
My favorite drawings include those expressing the elements of life, such as water and trees, emphasizing their importance in human life.
What have you learned from your projects?
I learned persistence, patience and redrawing certain paintings if they don’t come out right. I learned the importance of applying different techniques and demonstrating more social causes I am passionate about.
Aside from awareness, what messages are you trying to drive through your projects?
One of my goals is to encourage more people to pursue painting activities. I don’t want to be among the few people who pursue face painting. It is already a small platform, compared to other forms of arts which include artists that use photography to launch these face painting projects.
These rising face-painting artists will be able to bring more techniques to the face drawing and painting spectrum, thereby encouraging competition among more artists.
My goals also include raising audience awareness on social issues. Once I drew a painting about skin diseases on my own body to urge people through social media to be kinder to patients who suffer from these diseases and support their families.
Who are the face painters and artists you look up to as inspiring role models?
I am very appreciative of the works of face painters Jordan Hanz, Jody Steel, Ana Cedoviste and Ines Innanai.
Tell us more about your future projects.
I will proceed with my face painting projects, but I am also planning to launch an art exhibit which will feature paintings on the entire human body, not only faces.