“This work carries many memories which I experienced and enjoyed…. I can describe in a few words what I have felt by the miracle of this rich world, the dedication of these artists with full of passion and love for their work summed up in the following: psychological tranquility, relaxation, spiritual upheaval,” says Kuwaiti artist photographer Ebtisam
By Genc Mlloja
Senior Diplomatic Editor
“During my visits, I try and search continuously to find the common points between people of different cultures,” has said Mrs. Ebtisam Nasser Al-Houti, the spouse of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Albania, Fayez Mishari Al-Jassim when she greeted the participants in the launching ceremony of her photographic exhibition in Tirana on February 17, 2020.
“I wanted to share with you our national joys by highlighting the deepness of the fraternal relations and human, social and cultural values between the people of the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Albania” was the message of the artist photographer, Ebtisam conveyed at the opening of the exhibition entitled ‘Golden Hands’ an event which coincided with the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the Independence Day and the 29th anniversary of the Liberation Day of the State of Kuwait on 25-26 February.
The focal point of the exhibition was to shed light on the cultural aspect of craftswomen in Albania and Kuwait and their creative works, which reflect the distinctive and delicate artistic touches of them.
The exhibition was also an occasion to make public the photographic album compiled by the photographer, Ebtisam with a special collection of photos of the works of women handicraft artists from Kuwait and Albania.
Ebtisam, the psychologist and the photographer
After visiting the exhibition ‘Golden Hands’ in Tirana the interest increased to learn about the CV of the Kuwaiti artist photographer and the Embassy made available some highlights of her life and work.
Ebtisam Nasser Ibrahim Al-Houti was born in Kuwait in 1958 and graduated from Kuwait University obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Faculty of Arts. Her career includes many posts and the most important one was Senior Psychologist in the Psychological Counseling Unit at the Faculty of Education, Kuwait University, since 1995. Her passion for photography began in the Republic of Benin in 2011, when she felt enriched by the country’s stunning nature. Thus, the artist developed her photographic skills to cope with that nature and draw from its beauty.
During her stay in Albania with her husband, the Kuwaiti Ambassador, she held her first photographic exhibition in 2019 and released her first photographic book. Through a selected group of photos, she highlighted her experience with the Albanian people, reflecting on top of all the rare beauty of Albanians’ hospitality. The set of photos has shown that she has been deeply impressed by the peculiar amicable atmosphere surrounding her during a lot of sightseeing trips across the country which gave her the opportunity to meet people of different walks of life and enjoy the fantastic scenery in various areas of the country from the north to south, east and west.
As the photographic book of 2019 entitled “Albania, the bright smile of hospitality” was highly appreciated for its humanitarian values and fascinating scenery Mrs. Al-Houti has promoted the work as a tourist guidebook showing the wonderful potential of Albania in the field of tourism, highlighting particularly the most characteristic value of the local people – the hospitality (Mikepritja).
This photographic guidebook has become the first Kuwaiti book of its kind for tourism in Albania.
The main purpose of the new undertaking of artist Ebtisam accomplished in 2020 was to get comprehensive knowledge of the insight of the works of craftsmanship of Albanian and Kuwaiti artist women and display the cultural ‘world’ of craftswomen in both countries through creative works, which reflect their distinctive and delicate artistic touches.
Nine artist women from Kuwait and Albania, who were specialized in various handicraft fields and belonged to different ages and education, were selected to participate in the project carried out by Mrs. Ebtisam Nasser Al-Houti. The artists included the student, the employed, the retired, and the housewife, as well as single women, married women, mothers, grandmothers, and widows. All the participant artists were specialized in diverse handicraft arts.
Ebtisam’ s ambition has been to highlight the splendor and value of fine art created by these unique women with golden hands and to educate the youth on the importance of the different amazing types of handicrafts.
“The woman is capable to crystallize everything popping up in her mind and spirit in works which silently speak almost thoroughly on her creativity and are understood only by creative people who see beyond the apparent,” says Ebtisam Al-Houti, the author of the exhibition which is the second one held in Tirana. “It suffices to say on woman that even silence about her beauty is grace in itself. Hence everything that springs out of this beautiful creature is wonderful and attractive.”
According to her, the women see the details from a broad all- inclusive angle which is displayed in their creative pieces of art leaving you speechless as their sources are the deep feminine feelings and the penetration inside the artistic works.
Ebtisam’s impressions and feelings towards the Albanian and Kuwaiti artist women who participated in the project are deep, touching and unforgettable. “This work carries many memories which I experienced and enjoyed…. I can describe in a few words what I have felt by the miracle of this rich world, the dedication of these artists with full passion and love for their work summed up in the following words: psychological tranquility, relaxation, spiritual upheaval.”
The artist photographer, Ebtisam has a dream which she shares with us. “I hope to enrich the artistic career to achieve my goal, human progress, the spread of the beauty with all its words and meanings, with my full confidence: “God is beautiful and loves beauty!””
2020 theme … ‘Golden Hands’
Ebtisam’s first photographic project under the motto “Albania, the bright smile of hospitality” was launched in February 2019, and it has been a success as it was noted above. Through the selected set of photographs she highlighted her experience with the Albanian people reflecting the beauty and the feeling of the Albanian hospitality.
Amidst a warm atmosphere created by classical music played during the event of February 17, 2020, and in the presence of the participants among whom President Ilir Meta, who after being handed over the first copy of the photographic album ‘Golden Hands’ by the artist herself, thanked Ambassador’s spouse for the untiring promotion of Albania and for her artistic spirit. Mr. Meta took the occasion to appreciate the relations between the two people which continue to get better and better with each passing day.
Having had the opportunity to meet participant artists in the exhibition I was surprised by their modesty to speak of themselves but their displayed art pieces spoke a lot… However some of them did not spare words of gratitude to Mrs. Al-Houti who, as they revealed, not only photographed them but paid visits to their job places in different parts of Albania and Kuwait.
Artist Ebtisam, of course, could not hide her emotions as her ‘mission’ to shed light on the brightness and value of this special art was accomplished making possible its transmission to the younger generations as much as possible.
“My main thanks go to my beloved ones and all the ladies who accepted to be photographed and become part of the exhibition,” said Mrs. Al-Houti who lives in Albania since many years. But, of course, words of gratitude went to her husband, Ambassador, Fayez Mishari Al-Jassim, who, as she said, “has never let me down when seeking professional advice and practical assistance in overcoming the difficulties.”
72 photos in a book…
“Strong resolve comes in proportion to men of determination and nobel deeds come in proportion to magnanimous men”. The above quotation catches the eye on the first pages of the photographic book of the artist, Ebtisam, which I had the pleasant opportunity to receive from her with a warm autograph at the exhibition on February 17.
The table of contents of the 200– page book shows in detail what this photographic work offers to its readers in Albanian, English and Arab languages. The book is compiled in nine clusters which are as following: Visual Art; the Art of Carpentry; Art of Formulation of Jewelry, Trinkets, Copper and Metal Works; Ceramic Art; the Art of Hand-Spinning and Weaving Carpets; Abstract Art; the Art of Arabic Calligraphy; the Art of Making Glass Beads; the Art of Embroidery; and the Art of Crochet or Tricot.
The book contains a total of 72 photos of 9 artists from Albania and 9 from Kuwait. The colorful vivid photos show them in work process as well as their wonderful artistic pieces. There are also photos where they are shown together with the author of the book, the artist Ebtisam.
It is worthy to mention that the book carries information on the experience of the artist craftswomen, their handicraft specialities and work careers.
“Each artist carries a message that disseminates to the whole world ‘This is the product of my work, in which I put all my experience, work, effort, skills, feeling, scientific and professional history,’” it is said in the ‘Conclusion’ piece in the last pages of Ebtisam’s book.
The artist photographer is quoted as saying that she is hopeful that the project commemorates the featured artists with Golden Hands and documents their achievements.
If I put it in a figurative way the curtain of the wonderful ‘show’ displayed by this photographic book falls with the following wish of Mrs. Ebtisam Nasser Al-Houti: “I have now developed a desire to learn some of these professions and I look forward to advancing my career to reach my goal in human advancement and in spreading beauty in all its forms.”
Apparently, Ebtisam Nasser Al-Houti, the psychologist and photographer, has discovered in Albania its people’s exceptional hospitality and the magic of the work and spirit of women handicraft artists themes that became the inspiration expressed in her two photographic books: “Albania, the bright smile of hospitality” and “Golden Hands”!