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Panorama: Shurooq Amin, the Internationally Renowned Kuwaiti Artist and Poet

In our mission to bridge Khaleeji Culture, inspire, and enlighten our Readers, we’ve introduced a new series of articles. Titled Panorama, these articles will spotlight and feature a mix of different Khaleeji personalities from the Gulf and give you a sneak peak into their world. If you’d like to nominate someone to showcase on Panorama, please email us at [email protected]([email protected])

This week’s Panorama Guest is the notable Kuwaiti Artist Dr Shurooq Amin who has been recognized regionally and internationally for her great creative endeavors in poetry and art. Her art has been auctioned in various Art Exhibitions such as the Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art Auction. Whilst her poetry is not just only renown, it has been published in more than 30 international literary journals, and also taught in various universities including VCU in Doha, Qatar. Read on to learn more about this inspiring lady.

1) Tell us about yourself:
I’m an artist and an Anglophone poet (that means I write exclusively in English. Why? I discovered early on that I was more gifted in the language than most native speakers). As an artist, I’ve been painting forever and exhibiting since I was 10 years old. Over the years, I’ve had numerous solo and group exhibitions, commissions, projects, etc.

As a poet, I’ve recently published my 2nd poetry book in the USA with the Finishing Line Press. I’m also proud to have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in the USA in 2007 for my poetry. No small feat for a Kuwaiti woman.

2) What do you love most about your hometown – Kuwait?

What I love the most about my hometown Kuwait is the shocking diversity of its cosmopolitan ambience. For example, you could see a hip-hugging jeans clad girl in Doc Martens walking alongside her traditional friend in Hijab. Contrary to popular belief, you could pretty much find anything and everything in Kuwait. I mean everything! I love it. If you haven’t been having a great time in Kuwait, then you’re doing something wrong. Come see me and I’ll set you straight.

3) What is your favorite…

* Place to shop: The Avenues Mall. It’s a mini city. You can get everything from designer clothes to casual wear, from gourmet food to food on a budget. The only thing missing (are you listening, Mr Avenues Owner?) is a music shop!

* Place to eat: Gaucho (at the Palms hotel) for the best steak, Johnny Rockets (Salmiya) for the best burger, Maki (Waves) for the best sushi and location.

* Place for people watching: Marina Crescent. People literally walk up and down the marina and others lounge around on the various cafes and restaurants scattered in a crescent shape around the marina, and they all just “watch” each other.

* Place to soak in some art and culture: I love the Museum of Modern Art (yes, they’ve got one of my pieces), Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiya for musical concerts and lectures, and Dar Al-Funoon is my personal favorite private art gallery, for its timeless character.

4) Who is a person you look up to?
Any strong, powerful woman with beauty and charisma is an inspiration for me, like Queen Rania, who is not only a beauty on the outside and the inside, but is intelligent, kind, powerful, charitable, strong, can multi-task, raise a family, and lead a nation.

5) If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?
If I could be anyone in the world, I would be me, only more famous, powerful and rich. Why? Because I truly believe that I was born with my talents so that I can be that one girl/woman/person from Kuwait who will win the Nobel Prize one day, make a splash at Christie’s in the art world, and inspire thousands of girls/women in Kuwait and the Arab world to aspire to be the best that they can be. Young girls and even women will think: “if she can do it, then I can do it”.

6) What’s your favorite quote?
I love quotes, of course, but one that’s important to remember, I think, is: “It is never too late to be what you might have been” (By George Elliot). So go on. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, but never found the time, or you think you’re too young or too old, go and do it NOW.

– Images courtesy of Shurouq Amin

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