Ithraeyat: A Life in Sketches

The latest edition of Ithra’s magazine takes a closer look at veteran artist Kameel Hawa and his legacy. Here’s an excerpt of that interview.

Ithraeyat: A Life in Sketches

For the past 50 years, Kameel Hawa has been leaving his own artistic legacy on the ever-evolving art scene. With no formal education in art, he became one of the most prominent artists in the Arab world with the belief that art comes from the soul.  


Known for his innovative graphic design, calligraphy, and typography art pieces, yet it is his life-long love of sketches that is closest to his heart. 


In an exclusive interview with Hawa, Ithraeyat finds out more about his passions, philosophy, past and present, and hopes for the future. It also dives into his artistic mind to explore his creative process and to understand how he perceives and forms art. 


Q: What does art mean to you?

ANSWER: Art is a very deep aspect of human existence and human progress. From ancient times, and for thousands of years, human beings expressed themselves artistically one way or another in drawing, painting, writing, and later in poetry and all sorts of arts. So, art is a very deep aspect of human existence, of human expression. I think it saves the human soul when human souls are troubled by either the instants of nature, social strife, social conflict, politics, or war, etc. Art is a continuous companion of human well-being.


If it’s done with feelings, it is art.
— Kameel Hawa


Q: What inspires you as an artist?

ANSWER: What inspires me is beautiful form. A beautiful form that has a human dimension. What I mean by a human dimension, is that it's something that affects the human feeling. For me, art is feeling. I can give you a simple example: the birds on a wire; why does it inspire me or inspire other people? Simply because I think, first of all, it is beautiful and it makes you feel that this bird resembles you exactly like when you sit on a balcony or the shore of the sea, and you are looking at nature. 


You are contemplating, you are dreaming, you are thinking. Somehow you are relating to the bird on the wire. This is one-way inspiration taking place. 
I'm also inspired by the idea; it is one of my main movers. 

People sometimes realize what inspires them, but not always. For me, an artist being a painter, poet, or musician, is inspired by many things during the hours of the day. 


Creativity is the accumulation of impressions in the inner self of the artist. These impressions accumulate and create some kind of a collection of impressions in one place, and at a given moment, a catalyst in the self of the artist triggers his initiative to do a painting, write a poem, or write a musical piece as if he starts to pull the thread out of himself into whatever he is creating. This is how I describe the creative process.


For the rest of the interview, visit this month’s Ithraeyat Magazine at


For a PDF of the latest and past editions of Ithraeyat, visit


Caption for top photo: Kameel Hawa


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