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Interviewing Shaimaa Aziz was an unusual experience, maybe because she belongs to those unusual kinds of people called “ARTISTS”. Shaimaa is considered one of the most talented young painters in Egypt. Until now she had many successful exhibitions and collaborated in many art projects.
“My family is originally from El Mahala but I was born and brought up in Assiut that’s where my father (a veteran) was teaching at the University. I’ve two brothers and a sister and they all have nothing to do with art, they work in totally different fields”, Shaimaa introduces herself. With only 26 years Shaimaa has a track record of exhibitions and residencies, which would fill any artist’s heart with envy.
How did you get interested in art?
“I remember when I was 12, I used to draw everywhere, my head was always in the sky then I started to copy other paintings. I was mainly using charcoal in painting but after a while I started to use watercolors. I still use both till now.”
Where did u study art?
“For two years I studied in the Faculty of Fine Arts in Minya but I didn’t learn much so I got transferred to Luxor, which was a little better but I had a very difficult time there as I was living alone which was totally unacceptable there. I faced many problems based on which I decided to move in to Cairo. After my graduation project, which was inspired by the writings of the late Yehia El Taher Abdallah(a very important Egyptian writer but not well known to many) I moved to Cairo right away. My parents were not very happy with my decision I must sat but they knew that this was what I wanted to do and they respected that, luckily.”
Tell us about your art?
“I’m usually concerned about people more than anything else and this reflects in my work. In the beginning they were all about me and my relationship with the big city, now I’m more interested in women and the concept of beauty. Most of my work is inspired by Venus, the Goddess of Beauty. I’m more into Modern Art and I’m a big fan of Paul Klee. He was a painter during World War II and the founder of the Modern Art Theory, you know art in the beginning was imitating reality and then it developed into something of its own, inspiration and painting begin from inside you first. Anyone calling himself an artist must be a good reader in my opinion. I started reading from an early age and haven’t stopped since. It develops you.”
What about your other projects?
“I was the art director in an independent long feature film called “Ain Shams” which will be released next year I hope. Ibrahim El Batout, the director, is a very good friend of mine and I enjoyed the experience very much. He was very flexible and gave me space to be creative, I don’t know if I’ll repeat the experience but if so then it has to be with someone flexible as I don’t like to be bossed around. Once I worked in a school teaching children for four days only then I quit because I wanted the children to express themselves freely but the schools’ heads wanted me to teach them how to draw like adults which is ridiculous, they just need to know the colors and that’s it. We should learn to not be afraid to leave them do what they want this is the best way to learn.”
What do you wish for?
“I wish for artists to be respected and appreciated in EGYPT, we have a concept here that artists live in a world of their own aside from the rest of the society and this is 100% wrong. It’s exactly the opposite, artists are much more sensitive to our problems and they usually are more understanding of people’s sufferings and feelings.”