She works mainly at night when everyone is asleep, to avoid distractions, sometimes until five in the morning. This is the artist within Amina Ayubova, a Bahrain-based creative whose work is an amalgamation of different disciplines. FACT’s Shabana Adam learns more…

The artistic talent in Bahrain continues to blow us away. In every corner of this beautiful island, you’ll find artists and dreamers living out their passion, either on a canvas in a gallery, on the street walls around cool neighbourhoods or in the comfort of their own homes in a sketch book. Wherever the creative flow takes them, they go.

One such individual who has been making a mark in the local art scene is 26-year-old Amina Ayubova. Having recently showcased some of her work at events like Bahrain Comic Con, the versatile artist is proof that you don’t need to be constrained to one type of artistic discipline in order to share your skills with the viewer. ““I do not stick to one style,” Amina explains. “Imagine going to the amusement park and only riding on the Ferris wheel, it’s certainly amusing, but on the fifth time it will turn into a routine and become boring. “My style is riding the Ferris wheel then the rollercoaster and so on. If you happen to see a bunch of my works, you wouldn’t guess they were all mine,” she continues. “Recently, I’ve been trying out linear illustrations in a mixture with watercolour sketches.”

As Amina transcends her abilities between different art mediums, she shares with us some of the tools and techniques of her trade. “I like to experiment with techniques and material,” she says. “Recently, I discovered the delights of ultraviolet paints and how the picture changes under different lighting. But, the main materials in my studio are watercolour, oil paints, ink, ultraviolet paints and acrylic. “Though I must say, 90 per cent of the materials I bring are from different countries, most often from Russia,” Amina adds. “For me, it’s like food, I use watercolour when I feel like something light, ink is like coffee, acrylic is like lunch with friends and oil painting I like an amazing family dinner but you should clean the dishes afterwards. And that’s why I always mix them!

We’re surely falling in love with Amina’s metaphorical explanations of her artistic journey, and it’s no wonder that she has such strong connotations to refer to having grown up in the Southeastern Russian territory of Dagestan. Amina recalls what ignited her interest in art: “I started doing art in high school and because I was interested in psychology, and in particular tests where you give a child the task to draw their family. By this, one would have an indication about what kind of a relationship reigns between the parents and the child. “Having done dozens of these tests on my friends, I began to understand how our subconscious mind affects the final result of the picture,” Amina explains. “Not so long after, I decided to go even deeper into art; having picked up the paint brush, I could not let it go again.”

Years of hard studying at the University of Moscow Academy of Art followed. Amina remembers getting just three to four hours of sleep per day and sometimes not sleeping at all – a routine that went on for five years. “It got to the point where if I were to be woken up in the middle of the night and asked about the art of ancient Mesopotamia, and to sketch the figure and talk about the human anatomy, I would be able to do it all at once with my eyes closed,” she says.

But all this was preparation and training, as Amina’s REAL experience with art began when she started travelling. As she roamed the globe, her artistic frustrations eased and she found inspiration in different people, cultures, nature and dialects. Having accumulated so many wonderful experiences throughout her journeys, Amina decided that she needed to take a breather, and so she came to Bahrain during Ramadan 2017 and began to transfer all the emotions and knowledge etched into her being onto canvas and paper.

Even when we first came across Amina’s work, we couldn’t really describe it under one umbrella. So, we’re intrigued to know how she feels when creating her sketches and paintings. “You know when you meet with a close friend and you tell each other everything, from the most interesting and intimate stuff that happened to you, to all of the events and thoughts, failures and successes?,” Amina says. “You are waiting for this moment, waiting for this meeting and want to share your world and your universe. I feel the same when I sketch pictures, I tell you my story.”  Having been in Bahrain for a year now, Amina believes that the island’s art scene is an inspiring one. She says: “One of the main reasons why I decided to stay in Bahrain is the people here who genuinely love art and are engaged in its different manifestations.

I am inspired by the people who carry an interest in the world around them. For example, I have never seen so many people sign petitions to arrange live concerts in order to save the gallery Al Riwaq, even though the gallery could not keep its house,” she continues. “But people made its closure a kind of a masterpiece. The community here is very gallant. I never thought I could draw in public either, but I feel so comfortable here that wherever I draw, I feel that this is where I should be and do what I do.” Amina admits that it’s hard for her to explain the meanings behind her work simply because she doesn’t want to restrict the viewer’s own perceptions. “It’s hard for me to explain my message in the picture, because the picture itself is the message,” she says. “And everyone will see it through the prism of their experience and perception. I do not want and cannot label my own pictures. Each person can change the message and perception; if today for you it’s just lines, then tomorrow you can see space and time.”

Some would say that Amina is truly discovering her own style and identity, producing art in her prime. So, what’s her advise for young, budding creatives?  “I want to say that it is not easy,” she admits. “Art is not to sit in Starbucks and draw amazing works. Art is a night without sleep, art is an eternal dissatisfaction with the final result, art is a struggle with yourself, and if all this does not scare you, but rather fascinates you, then draw every day, even if there is no inspiration, even if there is no idea. just start and everything will come by itself,” she adds. “Skill is honed by time.” There are some cool things in the pipeline that Amina is working on, for example, if finances permit, an art space in which all kinds of art, music, games, conversations, films and fine art will be combined; a home of art for all residents of Bahrain. “I want it to be a place where people can get acquainted with others who share similar interests and know that they are always welcome there,” Amina says. “To be accurate, I dream of creating a space in which I would be happy and where many other people will share the same happiness.”

And on that note, we’ll leave you to follow Amina’s rise and grind motivation, all the way to the top.


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