Mellanöstern och Nordafrika Tidningen
Published On: Tue, Dec 30th, 2014

Salma Al Gamal – born to be an Artist

Salma chose to be an artist because it is what makes her truly happy. Ever since she was a child she was convinced that art is her destiny as it pleases all of her senses either by creating or observing. Through her artistic creations, Salma knows how to deliver a message to the world.

When Salma is sketching on white paper pads she seemingly disappears into another dimension, and when showing what she has created only two words spring to mind: perfection and precise symmetry.

– I couldn’t imagine myself to be anything other than an artist, Salma says.

Art is very important to her and it is always on her mind even though it doesn’t show. Salma’s goal in life is well expressed by the Chinese philosopher Confucius:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

–That is exactly what I am aiming for.

Salma Al Gamal, WOW - Women on Walls in Cairo, Egypt. Photographer: Mustafa Hisham

Salma Al Gamal, WOW – Women on Walls in Cairo, Egypt. Photographer: Mustafa Hisham

Salma is 19 years old and lives by the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria in the North of Egypt. She is studying Interior Design at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Alexandria University. She has also studied Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at Indiana University in the United States, where she travelled in 2014.  

Her artistic path took off on the account of her parents as early as by the age of four or five, and there is no period of her life in which art has not been powerfully present.

Nowadays, she mostly focuses on Fine Art, but in early 2014 she participated in a graffiti project called “Women on Walls” in Cairo with Swedish artists such as Mia Gröndahl and Carolina Falkholt.

If you were able to travel in time, which artist would you have liked to meet?  

–Salvador Dalí.

What would you ask him?

I would ask him what it feels like to be the representative of the whole movement of Surrealism and how he accomplished this with regards to all the historical and artistic changes that he witnessed. Also, what he thinks is the key to success which made his art beautiful as he mixed quite irrelevant elements and things.

In what way did you devote yourself to the Arts?

– I have continuously participated in various workshops. I never stopped creating art and, above all, I chose the faculty of Fine Arts. I have worked hard in studying business planning so that I can eventually start a business that is art related.

Salma mostly enjoys painting. She likes the feeling that arises as she dips her brush into colours and spreads it on the painting sheet, especially when she paints on surfaces larger than herself. Salma feels a sense of liberty as all of the thoughts and feelings that overwhelm her are released onto a bigger space and can finally be measured through artistic means rather than piling up inside of her and not coming to expression.

Why do Fine Arts appeal to you the most? 

– Because it is one of the few things in life that make me feel happy when I am practicing it. I feel happy when I create; I feel happy when I paint and I feel happy when I make art as a means of delivering a message.

Salma does not like to limit her art or to label it. She experiments with different materials, subjects and forms.

She would like to make illustrations, graffiti, paintings, henna tattoos, clothing designs and all kinds of drawings.

Which qualities are the most important for an artist to have?

– Determination and creativity.

Leonardo da Vinci is one of Salma’s greatest artistic role models. She finds him to be among the most astonishing people of history. She appreciates his art and sketches, from both of which she tries to learn.

– What amazes me about him is not only his art, but his entire persona; he was an absolute genius in many fields.

She says that da Vinci really captured the heart and soul of his era and delivered it in many ways with art being only one of them.

She would have liked to acquire his ability of multitasking and the way in which he focused equally on each field he invested in. He was an engineer, an architect, a scientist, a musician, a mathematician, a botanist, a writer and more.

Salma is also inspired by Frida Kahlo and how she went on with her artistic life despite her emotional scars and physical inabilities.

– Her paintings are simple and understandable yet very expressive of the sorrows she experienced in life.

The Artist Salma Al Gamal. Photographer: Mustafa Hisham

The Artist Salma Al Gamal. Photographer: Mustafa Hisham

What kind of people, do you believe, are drawn to a life as an artist?

– Those that cannot live without art; people who believe in art and in themselves as artists.

When it comes to Salma, she prefers to work alone. She is a perfectionist and likes to create according to her own rules, but she admits that teamwork is beneficial as well. It generally depends on the type of project one is intended to accomplish.

What has been your greatest challenge as an artist?

– Honestly, overcoming fear of judgment and rejection. It has taken me a long time to heal from this.

Which piece of art is your absolute favourite, and why?

– Gustav Klimt’s Beethovenfries. I am greatly fascinated by this painting because of its inherent spirituality, details and colors. It is these specific things about Klimt’s work that usually capture me, making him one of my all-time favorites.

How many languages do you speak?

– My mother tongue is Arabic. I speak English fluently and some French, too!

What are your plans for 2015?

– I have no specific plans or limitations. I have many ideas concerning art projects all of which I hope to fulfill by the end of 2015. I would like to have a internship in the summer at an art school abroad. I usually do not like to limit myself, but I plan to acquire remarkable skills as well as experience in the coming year.

Salma’s web pages: and



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