Photo for Egypt Today by Omar Mohsen
Lamiaa Ameen w as born in a small Egyptian village in called Oseem. Although the village is not very well known, the 27-year-old artist says she “always takes pride in that I was born and raised there as, I believe it has shaped a big part of who I am because of the spirit of its people and the place itself.” After graduating with a degree in applied arts in 2011, Ameen studied advertising at Helwan University’s Applied Arts department as part of her pre-masters. Currently, she is a senior graphic designer at a digital media agency called Kijamii. She is also a little noisy boy’s new mother.
What inspires your art?
My life is my only inspiration, my daily situations. I believe we are all inspired by our own lives in one way or another, but we all have different ways of expression. I find inspiration from even the smallest details in my everyday life from the bird that stood at my window greeting me good morning in its own little way to the passing people in my life who I’ve only met once and will never see again. Of course, there are also my dreams, which are basically a projection of my life and feelings.
How has your artwork changed and evolved over the years?
Well, going from a kid who used to paint the walls of her room to being interviewed by Egypt Today, I’d say my art has come a long way since I first started. When it comes to my known art direction or style, I think it actually started as sort of a joke with my friends. We had wanted to create some sort of a comic. Then it just stuck. I started projecting my thoughts and feelings through this art form, and so I just kept the style without any major changes in it ever since, unless it’s in colors or lines.
What do you like most about your art?
The fact that if you take each of the pieces and put them in order by the dates they were created on, you would basically be seeing my life’s timeline laid out in front of you: lost, searching, collecting data, losing a friend, being pregnant, feeling upset, having a baby, feeling depressed, etc.
Can you tell me a bit about how you work, and what’s your process?
Well, I can’t really pinpoint exactly when I work — whenever I feel like I need to express myself or bring some sort of a feeling out of me somehow, I just keep sketching until I feel as though the feeling that I needed to express has been translated onto the paper. However, when it comes to putting my sketches onto the computer and working on them there, that’s mostly done when I have the time for it. Sketching or writing my thoughts or feelings is a very hard process, especially when it’s something that just can’t be described in words. Sometimes, I have this idea inside my mind and I spend days searching for some sort of trigger as to how it can be expressed. I try to look at how other artists have described a similar idea or feeling, and then I try to find the psychology behind it until I am finally able to do it in my own way.
What are your thoughts on the art scene in Egypt?
Egypt is a country rich in material, from the restrictions we have, to topics such as religion and politics. Also, Egyptians are all incredibly interesting people. We’re all so different, with different mindsets, education and class. I believe that’s all part of the reason why Egypt is such a great country for an artist to be in, even if he/she is unknown, creating art only in the comfort of their room (such as a graffiti drawing behind the bed) — such a person is also a great artist to me.
Who are your favorite Egyptian artists, and why?
I would have to say Mohamed Moftah is my top favorite Egyptian artist, as he was actually my instructor for a period of time. Also, Hefnawy of course. Then there’s George Azmy (I love his psychedelic art), Hani Mahfouz (my favorite supporter), Hasnaa, Mohammed Mostafa, Maged El Sokkary, and a few others as well.
What are your plans for the future?
My top priority right now is to raise a healthy child (in body and mind) in Egypt, which I think is quite challenging these days. Apart from that, when it comes to my career, I’ve already started framing my artwork after receiving a lot of requests to do so. I started a small side project for those who are interested in purchasing my framed work, and I hope it will garner success without losing its spirit (I don’t want it to turn into merely a business venture).
I’m also pushing myself to try out a different art direction or style, although it gets hard to do that once you’re already known for a certain style. I also hope to get promoted to Art Director at work this year, so wish me luck!