Lamiaa Ameen: On art, relationships and womenpower
We delve into the whimsical yet powerful art of an artist who finds herself drawing as naturally as she breathes.
Lamiaa Ameen is an inspiring artist and a gentle soul. Behind her modest exterior lays a brilliant fascination with human interactions and behaviourism, which she portrays through her sweet yet somewhat dark and blazingly expressive illustrations, invoking womanpower and introspection. Her visual reveries incorporate an element of fantasy highlighting the messages she seeks to deliver as an artist and a human.
First of all how do you create these images? Are they computer illustrations?
I sketch them at first, freehand, then I create the illustration on Photoshop or whichever digital programme I stumble upon on my computer; I have no preference.
How would you describe the theme you pursue?
I believe it depends on the art I’m working on at the time. It all mostly describes momentary thoughts and feelings, and it all has a lot to do with human relationships. Sometimes I simply write those feelings down but I’m an artist first so I quickly sketch them down before the feeling or thought vanishes.
Are there any real life situations that inspire you?
Of course! Separating from friends, for example, who travel away or simply enter our lives and leave a print on our soul. I have an old friend who, in one of my artworks, is the whale who lived through things which I’ve never experienced in life and simply takes me into his world, not mine, as though I’m his student. He takes me on a tread I would never go through without him.
There’s an illustration of a girl who walks off with books derived from a man’s head whom she calls her mentor in your written piece, is this girl you then?
Yes it is, that’s another example of what I was explaining. He taught me things I’ve never experienced and showed me things I’ve never seen or heard of before, it had to inspire me in that sense.
Is there a message you try to deliver that has to do with women’s relation to men?
Sometimes I feel like men undermine women, and make them feel weaker perhaps, or less smart, when technically I believe we are emotionally stronger and more liberated. To the public eye, the man leads the relationship, when in reality it’s mostly us and they probably don’t even realise it. The last thing I drew was of a man dragging a woman down as she floats above him and tries to drag him up; it’s what I feel men do at times. They want their feet on the ground and need the woman they identify with, or their partner to be there at all times, present wherever they go, in their conversations, to places and cities they visit, always with them. It becomes a problem maybe, when a woman desires to feel liberated. We don’t have to spoon-feed each other at all times.
What would you consider to be an essential part of your work?
I like blending the lines between my subjects and their surrounding spaces and objects. It describes how lives intertwine and how we become so used to our surrounding environment, whether a place or another person or subject, that it becomes a part of us. The Lost Girl I illustrated pretty much describes a woman whose surroundings blended with her reality of feeling lost and alone.
Who are your favourite artists locally or internationally?
Mohamed Moustafa and Hefnawy are both creative directors, as well as digital artists. They created the artwork for CairoKee’s music video Marboot B Astek, and they are my mentors. I always observe and learn from their works.
How do you spend your time when you’re not creating any artwork?
I like reading Naguib Mahfouz, Ibrahim Abd El Megeed and the ingenious Tawfeek El Hakeem no doubt. I like reading psychology books. Foreign films are also my favourite genres to watch.
What do you like most about art?
I like artworks that speak to me, and tell me something I don’t know about myself, about my own psychology or the psychology of humans in general. Humans intrigue me the most, like none other! I don’t like classic portraits of, I don’t know... A girl sitting on a chair resting her hands on her face or something, or they don’t interest me to say the least.
Are your artworks available for purchase or for viewing at exhibitions currently or in the future?
The idea of having to create something new in order to continue to sell or feeling pressured to create more and more would probably discourage me, and definitely scares me. I have my work already and continue to create as inspiration comes. When people ask me for one of my artworks I simply sign it and hand it to them but I don’t think I like the idea of doing it for money.
Follow the artist on Instagram @Lamiaa_Ameen