This Kuwaiti Artist Portrays the Love between Friends in her own Way

‘It was my mission to capture the joy of being in each other's lives.’

By Sekka

Photos from top left to right: ‘Duet,’ ‘Heaven is a Feeling,’ ‘Heaven is a Feeling 2,’ ‘Letters,’ ‘The First Time I Met My Best Friend,’ and ‘To the Best Years of My Life.’ The photographs form part of the Portraits of Love Series by Dana Dowmut. Images courtesy of Dana Dowmut.

Love sits front and centre in one of multi-disciplinary artist Dana Dowmut’s latest photography series. Inspired by the excitement and comfort of a lifelong friendship, the Portraits of Love Series came to life after the Kuwait-based artist met her friend Aidha Badr, an artist herself.

‘I met Aidha on her work break a couple of years back. We met at a cafe and sat on the same side of a bench,’ she recalls. ‘She pulled out a zip lock bag of loose granola from her pocket. She grabbed a fist-full and insisted we share bits of it from her palm.’

‘We have been friends since. Something feels transcendental being in the presence of a friend like her,’ she says. ‘It was my mission to capture the joy of being in each other’s lives. She paints me. I photograph her. We don’t live in the same city anymore, but we pretend we’re tied together with an invisible string. I selected the photos that felt like the moment I took them.’

The Basil by Dana Dowmut features an Arabic dialogue about the past between her and her grandmother. Video courtesy of Dana Dowmut.

Using photographs, music and dialogues as a medium, the artist pays tribute to the special moments in life.

‘My work embodies the relationship between women and memories, both mine and of others,’ she describes. ‘I’d like my work to become a memoir of my life in the long run.’

A selection of the photos in the series have been exhibited in the artist’s only online exhibition titled Head to Bleeds, which was initially launched to raise funds for families recovering financially from the effects of the pandemic in Kuwait.

The artist is currently in the middle of creating a body work titled The Wind of Love is a Basil, which is inspired by conversations she had with her grandmother.

The Wind of Love is a Basil Series by Dana Dowmut. Images courtesy of Dana Dowmut.

‘The work involves the traditional practice of creating handmade reed boats around the Gulf region,’ she explains. ‘The creations are accompanied by piano ballads that embody each unique conversation. The process is filmed and accompanied by music and dialogue between my grandmother and me, as well as a short movie about young friends reminiscing about their memories in Kuwait.’

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