HABIBI OF THE WEEK: 20-Year-Old Egyptian Artist Habiba Hany El Kholy

A young, shining star in the Egyptian art universe, 20-year-old Habiba Hany El Kholy has been on our emerging artist radar since she began sharing her colorful sketches and evocative paintings on Instagram during the pandemic. Following the passing of her grandmother, El Kholy began using her diary as a therapeutic outlet to process her grief and heavy emotions, pouring her heart out by painting intuitively and, unbeknownst to her at the time, setting the foundation for her journey as a beloved artist in the Egyptian art community. Her stirring works strummed the heartstrings of the community. Her distinct energetic splashes of colors, swirls of pigment and abstract musings called on us to embrace mindfulness, channel our inner child and mediate on the experience of life—gentle reminders we so badly needed during the height of the pandemic.

Through her art, El Kholy gives us a peek into her comfort zone, showing to the world a vulnerable and intimate side of herself that once lived only on the papers of her diary. The young artist’s journey began with painting photographs she had previously taken or still life paintings and landscapes, experimenting with different pastels and paints. Each and every painting is a reflection of herself and her state of mind at the time. In her art, she found a whole new world of self-expression. The artist firmly believes that art is a mere extension of the self, meaning that whatever her state of mind is, it will most definitely reflect in the art.

El Kholy’s art spans the full spectrum of human emotion while also placing a heavy emphasis on intersectional feminism. She dabbles in the world of abstract art as well, showcasing her brilliant versatility and wide web of interests. As her artwork continues to increase in reach and popularity, El Kholy has transferred her work to new mediums, with her iconic “breath” painting finding a home on shirts, notebooks, tapestries and more.

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