by Hessa Al Habashi
I’m not unlike many of the Kuwaitis in this country who wake up in the morning and ponder momentarily on what I should do for the rest of the day. In Kuwait, a lot of people complain about how we rarely have anything to do, all we do is shop, sit in cafes or go try the newest burger in a newly opened joint. But if we take a moment and speculate, we’d realize that Kuwait actually has quite a lot to do, and with my luck, I found out that there was going to be an art auction called ‘Art for Architecture’s Sake’ that night in the Exhibition Hall located in 360. It was definitely something out of the ordinary. In Kuwait there doesn’t seem to be a lot of art shows because most people find them utterly boring and I thought this one would be as well, but I was very wrong.
I was aware that the students from the college of Architecture in Kuwait University had set it up, and as soon as I entered the exhibition hall I was immediately enveloped into the extraordinary way the hall was fashioned. It was indeed Architects who’d designed it. When you enter the exhibition, a few of the organizers would greet you and welcome you into the hall. In front of you, the paintings are displayed and instead of the usual way where they’re hung so mundanely on the walls, they were hung on dark, metal pillars strung together with metal wires in a way that would drive you to walk in a spiral to examine the fine art all the way to the centre of the hall. But before I began my little adventure into the not-very-complicated labyrinth, I stopped at the table beside the entrance and picked up a catalogue which contained all of the artwork, the cover of which was the striking logo created by one of the students.
There were five categories: Cityscapes, Landscapes, Abstract one, Abstract two and portraits. It was almost unbelievable that students had painted them. They looked extremely professional and imaginative. My personal favorite was a canvas of the Brooklyn Bridge painted remarkably by Yousef Abdulaal. All of the paintings were stunning, and it was hard to pick which one to buy. If I had a house, I would’ve probably bought almost all the paintings, and spared myself the headache of choosing between them.
The event ‘Art for Architecture’s Sake’ was organized and hosted by the American Institute of Architecture Students, the Kuwait Chapter. AIAS is a non-profit, independent organization made up of students. They were all committed to the project and worked hard to make it an accomplishment. One hundred percent of the proceeds went to the Kuwaiti Society of Guardians of the Disabled. The three-day exhibition began on the 10th of November and was a huge success. On the first day, I bought the painting that had caught my eye the most, and on the third day I’d dragged a friend to see what I’d been raving about. She was not disappointed and bought a painting as well—I think it would be pretty hard not to with all the inspiring art around you. They were budget-friendly, 25 or 45 KD, and knowing that the money was going to charity made me feel benevolent.
All the works displayed were chosen and filtered by the professors of the college of Architecture, all paintings created over the years and some even date back to when the department first opened its doors in 1997, and all the pieces were made in the following courses:
- Art Appreciation
- Art and Artists
- Introduction to Painting
As I walked from painting to painting, I’d cast a quick look down at the bottom of the pillar and read the name of the painter, the size of the painting and what type of painting media they’d used. It was mostly the same: acrylic, watercolors and mixed media.
The idea of the event was discussed and planned last year, however, due to some conflicts, the idea was discarded until the previous summer when AIAS considered once more, the notion of showcasing the talent of the students. I sat down with the President and Vice President of AIAS, Thunayan Al Thunayan and Luluwa Al Habshi and conducted a short interview.
What is the goal of the event?
The goal was to expose the college of Architecture, AIAS, and the students’ creations. Also, giving back to society.
How did you come up with the idea of ‘Art for Architecture’s Sake’?
The event had initiated earlier last year but was never completed. During July of 2012, AIAS thought over the notion to broadcast the talents of creative minds and decided to carry out the project.
What would you consider to be the best part about the event?
The installation, in addition to the trial and error. Even though it was tough and bothersome at times, it really paid off in the end.
What was the biggest challenge you had to face when organizing the event?
Getting sponsors, especially since not a lot of people are familiar with the college of Architecture. Not to mention balancing school work and the event planning.
What’s the next step for AIAS?
We’re going on a short break, then we’re going to start planning the graduation ceremony.