Zahraa Amini is a self-taught Bahraini artist whose striking work has only one purpose – to stop you in your tracks and appreciate the beauty in every piece. It’s her open-minded and personal approach to art that has led to prominent placement at many local exhibitions like Al A’ali Art Festival. FACT’s Shabana Adam meets the girl behind the vivid drawings to learn her story…

Zahraa discovered her talent for drawing at the age of nine whilst working on a school project. After thoroughly searching for, and failing to find, pictures to match her project, Zahraa decided to pick up a pencil and draw the images that she had envisioned, herself. This, was the start of an artistic love affair that has lasted more than two decades now.

What I really like about Zahraa’s work is the simple beauty behind each picture; sometimes it’s the vibrant colours she uses, or the subject of the drawing, and even the diversity of skills and techniques, all of which is illustrated through attractive works of art. “I work with pencil, pencil colour, water colour and acrylic so far,” Zahraa says. “I’m very eager to use oil paints in the future.”

Zahraa is very comfortable around art. Creating it, talking about it, and wanting to learn more, she has a passion for the field that is evident in her approach to art. “I am a self taught artist, however, YouTube and the internet has been a good guide to improve my skills,” she tells us. “I am also a big fan of tattoo art so I, very much, get inspired by the work of international tattoo artists.”

Tattoo artists? I’d never have guessed it! But Zahraa’s talent has allowed her to see the beauty in everything around her and translate this on to a paper or canvas. You’ll see from her instagram account (@zaminiart) that there are a number of great pieces that any creative connoisseur would be happy to display on their wall. So, does she have a favourite?

“I am also a big fan of tattoo art so I, very much, get inspired by the work of international tattoo artists.”

“I don’t have a favourite piece of art,” Zahraa admits. “I spend my time and energy differently on each of them, so, in their own unique way, all of them are my favourite. However, I try to focus on pencil drawings more, as I’ve noticed that it is an artistic practice that has been neglected, and it also gives me the opportunity to challenge myself and create a piece of art using minimal tools,” she adds.

“I spend my time and energy differently on each of them, so, in their own unique way, all of them are my favourite”.

To Zahraa’s credit, she is probably the only creative person I’ve spoken to who doesn’t have a sole artist role model, but, instead, appreciates the practice and industry as a whole. “I don’t focus on a particular artist or style,” Zahraa says. “I observe as much artwork, as I can, from different artists; local or international, classic or abstract, professional or beginner, each of them has their own unique style which is interesting and inspiring.” I’ve always been curious to know how and when an artist knows that a piece is finished. For Zahraa, many factors apply. “It depends on a lot of things; the size of the piece, the details, the time, and, specifically, my mood,” she says. “I don’t paint unless I’m sure that I’m in the mood for painting. And, by that, I don’t mean happy or sad, but a mood that allows me to paint peacefully and joyfully. When I draw or paint I don’t care about the time,” Zahraa continues. “I might spend eight hours straight on one piece and sometimes I stop in the middle of the artwork for months, before continuing again.”

One thing Zahraa is certain about, and something that really shows her humble nature as an artist, is that she has no pretentious goals when it comes to the way she wants people to perceive her work. “Some artists have a message in their art that they want to deliver, and mine is simple,” she says. “My goal is to deliver beauty. When someone sees my artwork, I don’t expect them to analyse or figure out any feelings or puzzles in it, I just want them to pause, look at it, enjoy the beauty, and forget about life pressures for that one moment.”

On a more personal note, Zahraa is hoping to improve her fitness talent of becoming a yoga instructor in Bahrain, after being certified from an Indian yoga institution. On the artistic side, Zahraa is dedicated to taking her art abroad to international exhibitions. Before I let this lovely lady get back to leaving artistic and fitness footprints, what is Zahraa’s advice for young budding artists in Bahrain?

“You might not get the returns and the appreciation that you deserve, and it can get frustrating, but this is totally fine,” Zahraa says. “Keep practicing and improving your talent because as the saying goes, ‘your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God’ so make sure that you give the best and the most beautiful gift back to God. This is what keeps me motivated.” ✤


GO: Follow Zahraa on Instagram @zaminiart, and like her page on Facebook ‘Zamini Art’ for more information about her work.