Hanan Al-Rikabi, style and soul
Hanan Al-Rikabi is a Swedish artist with roots in Jordan. She was born and raised in Jordan and studied fashion, design and art until she decided to move to Sweden for better opportunities. She has now lived in Sweden for more than 26 years, time really flies.
In this interview we are going to know more about her particular, beautiful and unique style and art concept.
How do you start your career as an artist?
Since childhood I have always been passionate about art. At an early stage, I started painting on everything from house facades to the walls at home leaving my parents constantly angry with me. My mother was an artist but the harsh life of a single, poor mother raising nine kids never gave her the opportunity to fulfill her dream and this made me more determined and motivated to pursue my dream. The art I painted on the walls were often naked bodies and it was indeed frowned upon. I grew up in a very traditional and conservative society, you were doomed to a hard and often unfair life as a woman in the 80s of Jordan. Obviously, things look very different today. On a canvas, I can give the woman all the freedom in the world and no one can take that away from me.
Where do you find the motivation?
I tend to find inspiration in all things that catches my eye, whether it is something as simple as the color of a tree, a facial expression or a word – it manages to spark my creativity in so many ways, often with no correlation to the artistic outcome. As soon as my brush reaches the canvas, I let it guide me. Life has taught me to appreciate all things: There is something beautiful in every organism, all energies and in every corner of this planet.
Explain to us your creative process…
As I am very curious by nature, I am committed to learning new things and improving constantly, whether it’s science, politics, humans, art… I am constantly hungry for new knowledge, techniques and I love exploring. I experiment and try new things on a daily basis and often find something that I like that I further develop with my own artistic interpretation. It’s fun, and time consuming at the same time, but feels like seconds when it’s driven by passion, and of course – once you’re rewarded with the outcome. Being able to duplicate what goes on in my mind, on a canvas, on fabric or in any creative way tells me a lot about myself as well. It’s a constant learning process and I am loving the journey.
During the pandemic you have created a very impressive artwork, we talk about it.
My art project on the pandemic was requested by the Qatar Art fair and it made me think about Covid as silent as a biological weapon and how it speaks volumes on our susceptibility and weakness as humans. I think about the scales of justice, the balance of the individuals needs against the needs of society. I think of truth and fairness: the reality is not only a blindfold on humanity but also a mask on our face.
The figure of the woman is one of the protagonists of your works, tell us more about this motivation.
I tend to portray different dimensions of the woman in most of my works and it is actually linked to my view of me and my daughters in different ways, in different paths, in different expressions in emotion. I was surprised when my daughter saw my unfinished work one day and said: Mom! That’s me! These strong, independent and humble women are the pillars of my strength as a woman and forever my motivation. It makes me the happiest knowing that I am creating something that will live with and for my children forever.
What is your opinion about the current art trends?
Art has no boundaries. Humans are divided, and so is art. There is no right or wrong. In a globalized world it can be hard to portray your uniqueness, art gives us the platform to reflect our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, needs: Internal visions by using external form. In terms of where the world of art is heading – am glad that humans are able to be more free in their expressions today more than ever. For example, like many impressionist painters, Claude Monet received a great deal of harsh criticism for his vibrantly bold new artistic movement. His art now lives forever.
What advice would you give to those who started their career as an artist?
My advice to a new artist is to not copy, and not compare. You are unique, and also the one that defines your art. An artist is courageous and confident – art is a free playground for you to portray your vision. Stay committed to constant learning and self improving, and you will be rewarded – if not in a monetary way, most importantly – in a self fulfilling way.
What are your next challenges?
I recently re-discovered my talent and interest in my artistic expression in clay sculptures. I am amazed by what can be created, and felt with the tip of your fingers. I close my eyes and find myself creating different characters in clay. I thoroughly enjoy it and can’t wait to show the world and myself my creations.