Khaleeji Art Series

I want to encourage people with disabilities to express themselves through art

Meet Saudi artist Nujood Al Otaibi.


By Sekka

Nujood Al Otaibi is on a mission to represent her home country Saudi Arabia in the arts on a global scale, and to encourage all emerging artists and those with disabilities to express themselves through art. The 33-year-old Saudi artist, who was exposed to the world of art by her father, who is also an artist, at the tender age of three, became inspired by the works of Picasso, Dali, Da Vinci and Michaelangelo, and began creating her own masterpieces at the age of six. “My father wanted me to become an artist, just like him,” she tells us, and he firmly believed should would be a great one very early on.

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It was around that time that her family discovered that Nujood had developed a hearing impairment. But that did not deter her or her family from pursuing her dreams of becoming an artist. With her parents, Nujood temporairly moved to the United States during her college years to gain a professional background in drawing and painting. Over the years, she developed an art style that she describes as being akin to, “Piccaso during his Blue Era, and Salvador Dalí with his technical skills in surrealist paintings.” Her paintings, such as Mundane and 30x30x30, have been exhibited at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, Vaar Gallery and Athr Gallery. 

Synesthesia by Nujood Al Otaibi is part of a collection of works that explore how she experiences sound. Image: Courtesy of Nujood Al Otaibi.

More recently, the young completed an artist residency at Saudi’s prestigous Misk Art Insitute, where her work concentrated on depicting how she perceives sound, and the lack of it, in her artworks. “Living with hearing impairment encourages me to dig deeper into how things sound clearly in different areas like in a large field rather than in small areas like a living room. One day, I was swimming at the beach and I was not wearing my hearing aids and I noticed that I could hear everything that my friends were talking about. I was shocked as I didn’t understand how my hearing changed around certain places and that changed my perspective about how I perceive things around myself. Since then, I have tried to work around my experience and hearing impairment,” she explains. 

Mundane by Nujood Al Otaibi was among works of the Saudi artist that were exhibited in Athr Gallery. Image: Courtesy of Nujood Al Otaibi.

As for her future goals in Saudi’s blossoming art scene, Nujood tells us that, “I have a lot of exciting new things that I am currently working on, all that I can say is that I am tapping into different mediums of art. She adds, “I also want to represent Saudi on an international scale, and to encourage all emerging artists and those with disabilities to have a platform to express themselves through art.I would encourage the youth to believe in themselves and stay focused. The road is not easy and there will be lots of disappointments, and lots and lots of rejections, and that’s fine because it’s reality and we can’t control it; but the only thing you can do as an artist is to deal with what you do today and that’s it.”

To find out more about Nujood Al Otaibi, visit her page on Instagram.

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.