Different strokes: Saudi artist draws the line at cosmetic waste

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Saudi artist Aisha Javid Mir’s project, Artientifique, is drawing praise from around the Middle East and abroad. The painter, 19, has been interested in art ever since she was a toddler. (Photo/Supplied)
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Saudi artist Aisha Javid Mir’s project, Artientifique, is drawing praise from around the Middle East and abroad. The painter, 19, has been interested in art ever since she was a toddler. (Photo/Supplied)
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Saudi artist Aisha Javid Mir’s project, Artientifique, is drawing praise from around the Middle East and abroad. The painter, 19, has been interested in art ever since she was a toddler. (Photo/Supplied)
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Saudi artist Aisha Javid Mir’s project, Artientifique, is drawing praise from around the Middle East and abroad. The painter, 19, has been interested in art ever since she was a toddler. (Photo/Supplied)
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Saudi artist Aisha Javid Mir’s project, Artientifique, is drawing praise from around the Middle East and abroad. The painter, 19, has been interested in art ever since she was a toddler. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 15 December 2019

Different strokes: Saudi artist draws the line at cosmetic waste

  • 19-year-old student Aisha Javid Mir produces paintings that are both eye-catching and eco-friendly

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.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Aisha Mir has no preferences in terms of makeup products or brands.

• ‘When I collect waste stock, it is a mix of broken, sticky and old things,’ she said.

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.”


‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

Updated 04 July 2020

‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

CHENNAI: Cinema sometimes looks to go back to its roots. Some years ago, European auteurs like Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and others introduced “Dogme 95” as a new form of moviemaking, which meant using no props, no artificial lighting and no makeup. It did not last long. However, Thomas Kail’s “Hamilton” — released to coincide with the Fourth of July and streaming on Disney Plus — is another experiment that reminded me of the very early days of motion pictures when some directors in India captured a stage play with a static camera and then screened it in remote regions, where it was not feasible to cart the entire cast.

Kail used six cameras to shoot what was originally a theatrical production. Over two nights in 2016, he filmed the play with most of the actors, including Tony Award winners, who were in the stage version. Every attempt has been made to make it look cinematic, with impeccable camerawork and editing. There is a bonus here. The movie enables you to be a front-bencher at Richard Rogers’ stage production. This closeness that allows you to see clearly the expressions of the actors establishes an intimacy between the audience and the cast.

Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, the 160-minute show makes a fabulous musical. The release of the film with its intentionally diverse cast comes at a critical time when race relations in the USA have hit the rock bottom. When Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) sings that he wants to be in “the room where it happens”, the lyrics are sung by a black man.

Alexander Hamilton (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, also the creator of the piece) is the least well known of the American founding fathers. An immigrant and orphan, he was George Washington’s right-hand man. Credited as being responsible for setting up the country’s banking system, Hamilton was killed in a duel by Burr.

The musical is inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton. Courtesy of Disney

The story is narrated through hip-hop beats. Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) sings his speech to Congression, and the debates he has with Alexander Hamilton are verbalized through lyrics. Hamilton also has a lot to say about America’s immigrant past. In one scene French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette tells Alexander, “Immigrants, we get the job done!”

Performances are top notch. Miranda is superb, and evokes an immediate connection between the film and the viewer. King George III is brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Groff, and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Philippa Soo), is an endearing presence who has a calming effect on her often ruffled and troubled husband.

“Hamilton” is a great, if subjective, account of early American political history for those not familiar with that period. It must be said, however, the musical makes a long movie, which might be a trifle tiring for those not used to this format.