JEDDAH: A self-taught Saudi-based artist is painting a bright future for herself after attracting more than 23,000 followers on social media.
Reham Akbar is aiming to open her own gallery and advice center in a bid to encourage other budding artists to follow in her brush strokes.
The 21-year-old Pakistani, who first began displaying her distinctive works on Instagram, believes anyone is capable of producing art by being “who you are and creating what you feel.”
Akbar’s canvas creations, mostly inspired by her surroundings, have become popular due to her use of calming, warm colors and carefully selected quotes and captions.
After almost nine years producing paintings, Akbar defines art as a platform for sharing thoughts. “I envision my painting to be a positive voice, reflected by my emotions, and I try to help others see that too. I paint with a message and perception.”
Akbar was introduced to the world of art at the age of 13, after being given paints as a present. Since then, her biggest influence has been her father, who taught her the skills and painting methods required to create her striking artworks.
“Painting has brought me such joy because I feel like I have the power to shape my imagination and convey it to others,” she said.
Her main inspiration comes from the natural environment and her love of the ocean and flora, as well as her major, psychology.
“I am still on my journey. So far, all the appreciation I have gotten is huge for me. The realization that the things I create have a positive impact on people, and that they feel inspired by or can relate to my art, is what I consider my biggest achievement,” Akbar added.
Her main signature style replaces human faces with scenery which she says represents mental space.
“My recent art has been about humanness. I hope we learn to become humans above
“We have fluctuating emotions, good days and bad, individual mental struggles, and in the end, we are all people and deserve to be treated equally regardless of our skin color, background or religion; no race is superior. We all deserve respect and we all matter.”
Going forward, Akbar hopes to open a cafe offering art counseling, along with a gallery.
Art, she said, reflected a person’s state of mind and emotions, and anyone wishing to paint should trust in their abilities and do so without fear.
“In order to develop your own signature style, try all mediums and explore. You will learn with experience and practice,” she added. “Your mind concepts, your stories can only be conveyed by you, no one else can do that except for you, and never rush the process.”