JEDDAH: Using a technique all her own, one young Saudi artist is turning out artworks that not only light up a room — but also help save the planet.
Instead of traditional oils, 19-year-old student Aisha Javid Mir uses discarded makeup and cosmetics to produce paintings that are both eye-catching and eco-friendly.
She describes the process as “beauty created out of beauty.”
Her project, Artientifique, has introduced the concept to a growing audience, drawing praise from around the Middle East and abroad.
“The idea of using makeup to paint came to me when I was in my school,” Mir told Arab News. “One of my friends bought new cosmetics and changed her set, throwing the old cosmetics stock in the bin.”
Mir set to work developing new painting techniques using waste cosmetics, inventing tools to help her paint.
“Makeup brushes wouldn’t work on canvas because they are designed for faces and makeup texture is different from traditional paint, so I had to think and work on it,” she said.
The idea of painting using old cosmetics sounds simpler than it was. “I worked for years to figure out how I could make a beautiful, durable, premium-quality paintings for art lovers by using waste,” she said.
“It shouldn’t ever look like it was created from trash.”
While practicing Mir introduced the idea to friends in the Middle East, India and abroad, and shared her paintings on social media, gaining positive feedback.
She said waste and poor disposal of cosmetics pose a threat to the planet through harmful chemicals and micro-plastics, with hormone disruption, genetic mutation and possible extinction of marine species among the most pressing concerns.
“I was trying to spread awareness about the harm caused by waste cosmetics. I knew what I was doing was on a small scale, but when people applauded, I realized what I was doing was great and beneficial. It motivated me to work harder,” Mir said.
The painter has been interested in art ever since she was a toddler. “I don’t remember a single day I came home in a clean uniform,” she said.
Now word of Mir’s work is spreading. She was featured in this year’s Misk Global Forum and has also collaborated with Maitreya Art, one of India’s best-known galleries.
Artientifique is helping to raise environmental awareness by allowing art lovers to buy paintings and support the initiative.
Mir said that in future she hopes to collaborate with art galleries, conduct makeup painting exhibitions and work with cosmetics brands to “convert waste into something exclusive.”