Khaleejesque is a thriving lifestyle and culture magazine that revolves around everything new, exciting and beautiful in the Arabian Gulf countries when it comes to the continuously evolving cultural scene.(fouz -at- khaleejesque.com)
I met Fouz whilst establishing http://www.artkuwait.org with a friend Irina. As they say first impressions last. We conversed for three hours over coffee at the One café in Marina Mall. It was a nourishing and lively conversation of art and culture in Kuwait. We spoke about our struggles of working with certain sectors of art in Kuwait and our triumphs of overcoming boundaries set by external political and social issues. I have admired Fouz’s strength and perseverance in the art world of Kuwait and was impressed by her drive and passion to succeed. Fouz graduated from AIS as an IB Visual Arts student in 2004 and continued to focus on the arts in Kuwait and the Gulf region. Fouz initiated a successful Blog which has now grown into a quarterly magazine publication. Her time with our DP Visual arts was priceless, extremely inspiring and driven by passion and vision.
Founder of Khaleejesque magazine, Fouz al Sabah, visited the Mrs. Hani’s DP2 class on Monday April 27th. She spoke to the students about her ten-year journey from graduating AIS in 2004 to being the publisher one of the Gulf’s most influential cultural magazines covering the arts. With a staff of ten, a large and growing stable of freelance writers, illustrators and editors, Khaleejesque is now a growing brand in its own right. Fouz described the difficulties involved in creating first a website then keeping it running while she was getting her masters in London, and then turning the website into the glossy coffee table art magazine that today survives entirely on ad revenue. She explained how the editorial staff selects annual and monthly themes, and the competitive process of becoming -and staying on – as a Khaleejesque intern. Her message to the students was simple: Struggle is good. Anything that comes without effort will teach you nothing. And get ready: graduating from AIS with your DP diploma is the easy part. It was, to say the least, an education.
Below are the responses from our students after the visit, expressing the experience of having Fouz speak to them life as an artist after school, life as a innovator after school and just an all round passionate person.
From the visit, I have learned several things that helped me understand the meaning of challenge. Ms. Fouz’s visit opened my eyes to what it means to take opportunities, even if these opportunities are disguised as obstacles. She said a sentence that I will probably never forget, “If it’s not a challenge, you’re not learning from it”. I can definitely relate to this sentence, and connect it to my experience in art over the past 4 years. Back in grade 9, Mrs. Hani told us from the very first day about her very high expectations of us and of our work. And because she set such high expectations for us, we had to go out of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves. But, without this challenge, I would have not been able to grow and develop as an artist and even as a person. I am now glad that I took that challenge, and took DP Visual Art which is definitely another challenge, and now when I look back at my achievements and how much my art has developed and changes, I appreciate the difficulties I went through. Thank you Ms. Fouz for your visit, and thank you for inspiring us, and enlightening us with experiences you went through, so we can be motivated and encouraged. Hanan Abdullatif
Fouz Al Sabah was one of the few people I look up to as a role model of what my future holds for me. I believe having her there with us and for her to open about her struggles, made me realize that there is more to life but you have to be determined on achieving what you really want. Also, as i slowly began understanding her, i realized that this woman never lost faith to what she believed in; which is her magazine. Although, Fouz Al Sabah did not major in Fine Arts, she never stopped pursuing art in her career to keep her happy. It was an experience that taught me to explore and widen my horizons because in order for people to appreciate my art as much as i do, i have to show it and show my growth throughout the years of becoming an artist. This inspired me to create a blog that i will upload weekly about my development as an artist, and for me to reach out random opportunities that connect to art. I want to thank Fouz Al Sabah and Mrs. Hani for pushing me to go beyond and strength my artistic abilities. Rozali Abouchakra
The meeting with Fouz was entirely inspiring and eye opening. The two years I spent dragging myself through DP, will actually be worth it and the skills and discipline I acquired during the last two years will be with me for the rest of my life. DP art is more work ethic than anything else, and I admit to dropping the ball towards the end, and I do regret it, I wish I had put in the same amount of effort in the last project that I had put in the very first, but I got lazy, and I didn’t think it mattered that I finish strong. Fouz re-molded that work ethic back into me, through her words and experiences. She said the same thing that’s been said to us over and over and over again through the last FOUR years, but hearing it from someone else, someone who’d lived through the work and the ups and downs of the DP course, made it more real. I was very grateful for the opportunity to meet Fouz and listen to her story and the making of her magazine and how it grew from a simple online blog, to a high quality publication. It was inspiring and at the same time it scared me to think that if I really wanted to do something, I can do it and succeed in doing it. Ensaf Al Matouk
Art for the past two years has been a journey for me. It has been a challenge in my life. Art defines me and I always wanted to perfect it. I know that’s not possible because nothing is perfect but at the same time perfect for me is different than perfect to someone else. I learned so much about myself, things that never crossed my mind. I have to admit, I thought I was crazy half the time, and drove my parents insane with all my crazy thoughts too. Because of such an experience I was able to become so ambitious, that my mind just creates all these new ideas all the time. In my life, all I want to do is fulfill every single dream I have, even if it’s near the impossible. Having a conversation with someone who has experienced similar situations helped me feel normal. It showed me that the things I’ve gone through are okay and in the end it’s really going to help me mature in life. My struggles will help me become stronger so that I can face upcoming situations in my life. More so, I’m inspired to truly let go and be free with my ideas and creations. I’m inspired to put my ideas into actions and not be so afraid all of the time because even if I fail once, I will have endless opportunities to try again. Also, I think confidence is a big key for achieving things in life and learning to love and accept every struggle you go through. I’m thankful that at this age I’m able to have motivation and support from others because I think everyone needs a little push in their life every once in a while to really make their dreams into realities. Yasmine Hdbaid