Bouthayna Al-Muftah was interested in art since middle school, which is why she opted to major in graphic design. Her exposure to art in the undergraduate course allowed her to merge her artistic skills in her designs and she was able to create her own aesthetic and signature style. She always began with sketching her own designs on paper, and compiled them in the form of art journals and sketchbooks, which eventually took the form of art pieces. The AlRiwaq exhibition organized five years ago proved to be a defining moment in her life, because it introduced her to the community and provided her with massive exposure. Having graduated in 2010, she worked for a short period but eventually decided to become a full-time artist. However, Bouthayna had a specific goal in her mind because of her belief that one should love doing whatever he/she is involved in.
Bouthayna has always used ink and paper as the main medium of her work. She is very fond of using fingerprints and mark, and always adds something on her own in the artwork she works on. Her style has evolved from realistic drawings to a unique conceptual and semi-abstract style. In her artwork, she primarily focuses on the traditions, culture and history of Doha. She creates her artworks after conducting a thorough research, which involves talking to people and getting exhaustive information through collective memory. This is because Qatar does not have a well-documented history. Bouthayna refers to the past in relating with traditional songs, folklore and heritage, and incorporates them into her work from a contemporary perspective. This is her own unique way of archiving her country’s history. She remains committed to the study of typography because she believes it is very important for designing and writing in the given context. She does not believe in aping the West and asserts it is more important to understand one’s surroundings and culture and to create designs accordingly.
Bouthayna was criticized for pursuing a hobby that did not allow her to make a steady income, but such criticism made her stronger. She believes that the knowledge she has gained so far cannot be taught, and that artists should always be prepared to face criticism, without allowing their work to be impacted adversely. She is very optimistic about her future because the new generation understands and appreciates the simple ideas and deep-rooted concepts inherent in her works. In view of such acknowledgment and recognition, she gets further motivated to add more meaning to her art.
Bouthayna believes that the increasing support that the Qatari government has started giving to art in recent years will give a major boost to art and will help in enriching art culture in the country. For example, it is because of the Qatari government’s support that the Fire Station in Doha has become a prominent center of art and provides a major connection point for artists.
Piece of advice from Bouthayna:
“I remember being in that place when you’re young and you think you’ve got everything out of life, but there’s actually so much more you have to experience. Don’t let anybody put you down. At that age you are still shaping your personality and your life in general. But finding what it is that you love doing, continuing and having an optimistic mindset will definitely help you.”