Khalid Al Najdi is an up and coming Kuwaiti artist who showcased his first solo exhibition titled Social Anxiety, last month at Artspace, Kuwait. One look at his paintings and there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Khalid is one to watch out for.
We get up, close and personal with Khalid about his art, inspiration and life on canvas.
Khalid has been experimenting with art for as long as he can remember. “I was a very shy kid. Interacting with people made me nervous and that’s basically when I found art. It was easy to express myself on paper through drawings. I suffered from social anxiety for a long time and so it should come as no surprise to anyone that, this handicap is in fact the subject of my first exhibition. After all, if it wasn’t for my social anxiety, I would have never discovered art!” said Khalid about his first tryst with a passion that is now his profession.
Although he has been painting for a long time, it is only recently that Khalid finally agreed to having his own show on the insistence of Sarah Chouari, the owner of Artspace studio and curator of the exhibition.
The exhibition takes social anxiety as its central subject, where all the paintings are the artist’s interpretation of what a certain mental state would look like, were it to be expressed on canvas. While Khalid is most comfortable working with charcoal on paper, the exhibition also sees him experiment with acrylic on canvas.
A self-taught artist, Khalid also has a degree in business. “I only started taking art seriously about three years ago and a lot of the credit for this goes to my friends and family who constantly encouraged me to pursue my passion. Now that I have decided to take up painting full time I think I would like to pursue a degree in art. I think it will help me better my techniques and grow as an artist.”
With an intention to explore the art world in New York, Paris and Italy, Khalid says the Kuwaiti art scene is at an evolutionary stage at this point. While not everyone here recognizes art as a legitimate profession, people are in some ways opening up to it.
In every painting that Khalid does, you can almost reach out and touch the subject’s mood. From anger and sadness to narcissism and nervousness, each of his works uses color to express the dominant feeling. A little known fact about his work is that each character portrayed in his paintings is based on someone he has met in real life. In that way, one could say his paintings are a profile story on the people he has interacted with.
Khalid someday intends to open his own gallery where he can provide a platform for novice artists like himself. For that and for creating art that continues to provide people with a mirror to the human mind, we wish Khalid all the very best.