ABOUT THE ARTIST
In Arabic, “Latifa or Lateefa” is a feminine Arabic (طیفٓةِٓل) given name, which means “gentle” or “pleasant.” Alajlan is a Kuwaiti visual artist and activist, currently studying Fine Arts (MFA) at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Most of her work is inspired by her native culture, surroundings, and reality; aiming to facilitate a conversation between the conservative and the liberal with a focus on women empowerment. Her work provokes our understanding of spirituality, sensuality, and order. Latifa Alajlan has a keen interest in the developments of artistic practices taking place in Kuwait and hopes to engage and contribute to its community.
As a Kuwaiti woman artist, Latifa Alajlan has always felt compelled to make work in response to the current social and political issues of the Middle East. She does so through abstraction. Alajlan uses gestural abstraction to communicate what her body, and more symbolically, what other women’s bodies, actively go through as they cope with their identity and their expected compliance with certain societal and religious norms in her native Kuwait and across the Middle Eastern region.
Latifa Alajlan draws with paint and graphite on top of linen, and then adds thick layers of stenciled patterns from the ornaments of mosques in Kuwait. The earthy materials used in her paintings are standard building materials and hearken back to the building of mosques and historical sites that symbolize the formidable patriarchy imposed by religious clerics. Using her hands and body, the sensual strokes and textures of her mark-making invoke the intimacy of the artist’s nature. Her artistic practice affords Latifa Alajlan ownership of her flesh in defiance of patriarchal control.
Image: Latifa Alajlan, Unbroken Fragments, 2022. Graphite, acrylic, and oil paint on linen. 38 x 28 x 1.5 inches (96.5 x 71.1 x 3.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and FLXST Contemporary.