Hameed Ismaeel Khaz'al was born in January 1951 at Al Sawaber, a place
in the Shark district of Old Kuwait town, in the dawn of a great new day in the
history of Kuwait.
The rich flow of oil revenue was beginning to pour into the country, thereby
making possible the dream of Sheikh Abdulla Salem Mubarak Al Sabah, the new
ruler of Kuwait (1950-1965), to transform his little sheikdom into a model
welfare state in which his people would had enjoyed the bounty of the land and
lived a life of comfort and dignity engendered by free education at all levels,
free health service, comfortable housing and golden opportunities of new jobs
In such happy circumstances little Hameed grew up nurtured by all that was going
on around him, making good his opportunity in life.
His farther, Ismaeel was a hard working man, a lorry driver commuting from
Kuwait to Al Ahmadi and vice-versa carrying goods for the KOC Oil Company. After
that he engaged in taxi business. In becoming a police officer he was
transferred to Al Ahmadi, the newly born oil town where thousands of workers
from the Arab world and other countries were living in shacks while the housing
project was underway.
The family of Hameed, like the rest, lived in those frugal surrounding for a
while with no electricity but water in quantity
By the miracle of water the city of Ahmadi slowly emerged into a pleasant place
to be living in, reminiscent of a typical rural English town with neat houses
and private gardens, quiet streets and roundabouts, greenery and tall trees
everywhere .By then the family of Hameed had moved to Sabahya and eventually
settled at Fehaeel, an old fishermen town which was gradually being transformed
into a prosperous new city.
At the time his family was at Ahmadi, Hameed was about two years old. There were
many youngsters around he could play with, but his great delight was the day his
father brought home a puppy. From that day his favorite pastime was playing with
his dog and when she bore puppies he was yet more thrilled looking after them.
Part of the household were other animals, Hameed loved them all. . Hence he was
extremely upset when in returning home one day he discovered that his father
killed one of his pigeons. Heart broken, the whole day he would not touch food.
Although the shock wore off with time, the memory remained indelible in his
mind, affecting his philosophy later in life
When the family settled at Fehaheel. Hameed was of school age. His first school
was that of Othman Bin Affan. At the intermediate school he discovered art,
which became his lasting passion.
Incidentally his introduction to art did not come from his art teacher, but
rather from his Arabic teacher. A talented man, whom loved drawing pictures of
the subject he was teaching to children , especially when dealing with poetry.
His method was so effective that Hameed fell in love with art and with poetry.
Indeed the primary purpose of education is not simply to impart information, but
to create a state of mind that ennobles the individual by its refining influence
on the mind of the student.
Hameed's first attempt in drawing was by imitating his teacher using his same
means and method. From that early beginning art became his passion and the
career of a lifetime to which he gave all of himself, first as an art teacher in
which he graduated in 1970, then as an accomplished artist and art critic.
He began his career teaching at the elementary school for boys in Sabahya. After
five years of teaching he felt he had to expand his art education. In 1975 he
left for Cairo, attended the College of Fine Art and in 1981 he graduated with
Bachelor degree in painting.
At the College his instructors were the most renowned Egyptian painters of the
day, among them were Hameed Nada, Kamal Al Sarraj, Mohammed Ryath, Ahmed Nabeel
At his return home Hameed taught at the secondary school for boys in Sabahya,
after which he was appointed Director of the artistic activities at the
educational department of Hawalli.
During that time, for the period of six years, he was also working at the daily
newspaper " Ray Al am "as an art critic. After which he continued on the same
line of writing at the daily newspaper 'Al Amba', while contributing with
articles on art at various Arabic magazines.
With Dr. Adel Al Mosri, Hameed took part in writing a book on the Art movement
in the region, sponsored by the UNESCO.
From 1982 Hameed Khaz'al has been a member of the Kuwait Plastic Arts Society
Board. Chosen as its secretary in 1983, he held the position till 1999.
His other memberships are at the Kuwait Journalists society, at the World
Journalists organization, at the IAA Paris and at the Cultural Committee of the
GCC States .
At the time Hameed was studying in Egypt he adopted the pointillism technique of
painting from which he deviates in 1981 with the painting "The Journey".
Using the more ponderous swing of the brush he gained a greater freedom of
expression which he had been striving to achieve for sometime.
The Journey is a congruous composition expressive of the artist yearning to
break away from the hold of the technical influence that held him captive,
preventing him from taking flight into the region of unbounded creativity in
which he yearned to be free to do violence to forms, distorting and
reconstructing them in order to enhance their inherent emotional value.
In " The Journey" the artist ventures into the unknown. It is his first flight
to freedom from all academic concepts, and as his mental horizon widens and
expands the experience is exhilarating, in spite his mind is still being
captive, reluctant to break away.
"The Journey" is an epitome of the struggle of mind over matter, in which the
human brain is but an instrument in the greater purpose of creativity.
After this work Hameed Khaz'al swings into greater freedom of expression,
conveying through symbolic forms his concern for humanity .
Although the works of this period betrays the Surrealist influence, they are not
surrealistic images of dream but rather an interpretation of the sterner realism
of life . Hence closer to Circulism in which the hard reality of human events
are brought forth and expressed in the created form imbued with dramatic import
Interpreted through the philosophy of symbols conductive of careful planning and
forethought the works of Hameed Khaz'al may take two months of pondering before
he takes to the brush making his idea feasible.
Indeed true art is a form of organized knowledge that is living and useful, it
is a knowledge of things which when brought forth by the creative insight of the
artist, it becomes a generative force of great emotional value.
In "Critical Point ", "Dilemma" and other outstanding works of the eighties the
artist is using his knowledge creatively to abolish the static form in the
symbols he chooses, thereby imparting to them a rhythm and dramatic
concentration of energy conductive of deep emotions.
The emerging form is frightfully true and of higher-pitch intensity, which while
it shocks us, it makes us pondering.
As a creative artist Hameed is centered on mankind and its dilemma. His
philosophy explains the peculiar psychology of his symbolism, by which he
attempts to capture the moods and needs of changing social conditions, as if by
an act of will he were to live in the future while presenting his creative point
of views on the present.
Incidentally a change came upon his style after the liberation.
During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait Hameed remained inactive as an artist ,
after hearing that one of his friends fled the country when he was told to
produce a portrait of the Iraqi dictator within one week. Fearing the Iraqi
would had come to him with similar request Hameed obliterated his identity by
After the liberation his views on life were revolutionized and that affected his
style of painting.
A true artist is the reflection of his time; although no physical harm came to
him during the invasion, what Hameed heard and felt was traumatic to his
sensitive soul .The effect of that experience was further stressed by the
cultural and social decline that followed in the aftermath of the invasion
,causing his style to change abruptly.
His symbolism in now verging on abstractions somber and dark, reminiscent of his
state of mind, of the feelings and emotions he is experiencing in his honest
concern for the negative element that has been seeping through society affecting
culture and every other development in the country .
On this period many outstanding works have been produced ,which Hameed plans to
exhibit in his first personal show.
Hameed Khaz'al has taken part on scores of collective exhibitions held in Kuwait
and abroad In Kuwait he joined those held by the Kuwait Plastic Arts Society
since he became a member in 1982 , and those sponsored by the Ministry of
Education since 1980.
Abroad he joined the collective exhibitions held at Cairo, Damascus, Shariqa,
Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Muscat, Tunis, Madrid, Barcelona, Sofia, and Moscow.
Tokyo, Havana, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Ankara, Warsaw, Dhaka, Beijing, Beirut, and
He represented Kuwait in the Contemporary Art exhibitions at Madrid, Barcelona
Muscat, Sofia, Havana, Tokyo, Seoul, Dhaka, Salala, Riyadh, Mehris, and at the
Kuwait Cultural week in Lebanon.
Many of his works are in private collections in Kuwait and abroad.
By Lidya Al-Qattan