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Saudi Artist Maryam Al-Suwaidan Fusing Japanese Animation with Nostalgic Charm

Maryam Al-Suwaidan, a Saudi artist deeply captivated by the enchanting world of Japanese animation, stands at the forefront of the Kingdom's emerging art scene, infusing her canvases with delightful characters reminiscent of childhood nostalgia.

Her fascination with Japanese art traces back to her formative years when she meticulously replicated characters from video covers and comic books, igniting a passion for creativity and imagination within her.

Drawing inspiration from the chibi art style, characterized by its endearing and exaggerated depiction of characters, Al-Suwaidan embarked on a journey to delve deeper into the intricacies of Japanese culture, prompting her to learn the Japanese language during her high school years. This linguistic endeavor not only allowed her to explore new artistic territories but also helped her better understand the similarities between Saudi Arabia and Japan in terms of ethics, values, and culture.

Guided by her mentor, artist Shoa’a Al-Dosary, Al-Suwaidan honed her skills in illustration, crafting intricate compositions that blend detailed characters with surrealistic backgrounds, drawing inspiration from the compelling storylines of animated films that fuel her creativity.

Her creative journey finds resonance in iconic Japanese animations like Miyazaki Hayao's masterpieces, such as "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle," renowned for their meticulous artistry and profound storytelling. These cinematic marvels, alongside works by other Japanese animators, serve as a wellspring of inspiration, propelling Al-Suwaidan to explore new techniques and the diverse world of Japanese art.

Despite her admiration for Japanese art, Al-Suwaidan doesn't lose sight of her Saudi roots; she incorporates elements of the region's customs and culture into her work to give it a unique character. Her work strikes a chord with viewers, bringing back fond recollections of childhood dreams and innocence. It also acts as a bridge for cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.

For Al-Suwaidan, art transcends mere aesthetics; it is a potent tool for social commentary and interaction that gives creators the ability to share their viewpoints and deeply engage with audiences. Through her expressive creations, she seeks to foster empathy, spark introspection, and kindle a sense of shared humanity, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries.

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