Maha Al Asaker: In search for art – A Dreamer, a Photographer!

Maha al-Asaker moved to the United States/New York 4 years ago to study photography in the International Center of photography. When she completed her studies she decided to stay there and work in the photography industry as an “artist”.

“Art is a visual message. Each artist is concerned about an issue and she/he is trying to express it with art, either by sculpture, paintings or photography; any form that will help the artist raise a question or a concern”

Maha said that she has visited New York before with her family, and she knew back then that she will return to this vital and dazzling city because she had found in it her dream and passion.For Maha, Art is a visual message. Each artist is concerned about a personal issue related to different matters, and to express it in his / her own way, he / she turns towards art to say what he / she wants either through photography, sculpture, paintings or any form that will help the artist raise a question or a concern and try to find answers and solutions.And because she is a photographer, Maha totally believes in the famous quote “A picture is worth a thousand words” and she doesn’t consider this quote an old one! From her point of view the picture is an alternative way to express the word we find hard to say: “I believe that the picture is another form of expression, it can be metaphorical or completely real, like the words, and it has the ability to freeze memories, and document parts of the life, and here lies its strength.” Maha’s photography journey debuted when she held a camera for the first time in her life. Before that, she was lost in a strenuous search for herself. After studying industrial engineering and working in the investment field, she realized that she doesn’t want to spend her life in this field. She wasn’t happy back then and wasn’t satisfied with the work routine that never filled the emptiness inside her. Maha fell in love with photography the first time she held the camera. Then she moved to London to join a fashion related photography course. After that she opened her own photography studio in Kuwait and worked on personal and editorial photographic projects all along 6 years. She worked as well with fashion magazines for a full year before travelling to New York to study and work.

“When I saw my career path as a photographer down the road in from now, I loved it! There are many opportunities and excitements.”

Maha says about the message behind her photographic projects “My work is usually related to cultural identity and my personal projects are the voice that expresses my feelings especially that I am very bad at using words to express what I am thinking about. So I resort to photography to bring out all what is trapped inside me. I consider my work a white page on which I draft dialogs and write notes that help me understand myself and the world around me. There is always a question that preoccupies my mind: who am I and who would I be if I was born in another country? Will my way of thinking differ?
I constantly try to know how well culture and differences can change our perceptions and change us. What inspires me at first is my curiosity, the questions I always find in my head about the world and myself. I think that knowing oneself good is the most difficult goal a person can achieve in life because we constantly change and evolve according to our life experiences and experiments. And every time I feel that I finally know myself, I get surprised that there are more things that I do not know! I am also inspired by the work of other artists. I am keen to see and follow art in all its forms when I stop being creative”. Maha recently participated in a joint work that was displayed in New York’s streets, in collaboration with the artist Abe Jr Lincoln who wanted to shed the light on the importance of women involvement in politics in the United States. The campaign’s title was Resistance is Female and the idea came from the famous quote “Resistance is Futile”.

Women are recently proving their presence in various campaigns and initiatives, and when the voice of truth and humanity needs a person to express it, the woman will be the first to take this initiative. As for the work published by one of the Kuwaiti newspapers for Maha, it was entitled “The woman of Maha al-Assaker”. And when we asked her about the identity of this woman, Maha replied: “I started this work when I wondered about how the Kuwaiti woman looks at herself and her environment. I questioned many women about social customs and traditions, men and women around them, their opinion in equality and other things. And I have enriched this work with pictures of women who shared with me their own perspective of themselves and the way they wanted to appear.”

“Although I am focusing on the art side now, I will always jump to shoot fashion with the right team. I love the collaboration with the stylist, hair stylist and Makeup artist to create a vision. The process starts with an idea, then a mood board and communication with the team. The planning process is long, but full of excitement. My favorite moment is when I am in the studio with my team to make it happen” 

Quick questions to Maha:

– Your favorite kind of art?

Sculpture and videos

– A model you would like to work with?

My Mother, she is a very shy woman who rarely allows me to take pictures of her.

– A dream you would like to achieve?

To travel the world, to move from a country to another so I can be able to see everything

– Countries you would like to visit?

Morocco, Mongolia and Tibet

– A project you are currently working on?

I am currently working on the expansion of a project that I won’t talk about right now since I am currently in its early stages.

– A final idea?

“Follow your dreams, and when you have obstacles in your life, this is the time where you should take a picture!”

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