Colourful cartoon figurine depicting a woman in a cultural Qatari dress
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In Conversation: Abdulaziz Yousef

7 July 2014

In this 2014 interview, artist and illustrator Abdulaziz Yousef discusses his motivations and his impact on the local community.

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What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity to me is anything that is out of the ordinary. Creativity means that I’m producing an artwork that is not expected of me and a type of production that exceeds my capabilities.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love the fact that I’m unleashing these crazy ideas in my head every day through visual art! This definition is a reflection of my thoughts to the audience.

How are you getting close to local audiences?

I get close to the local audience by introducing ideas that make them curious and drive them to know more about my work and concept. People can view my work and projects on Instagram and on my website.

Would you consider your approach to be innovative?

I have a message to deliver to people, which is introducing a new type of cartoon or exploring beyond the box that the newspaper gives me. To me, it is a challenge and an innovation at the same time. It’s a new method that I am using to connect Qatari spirit with Qatari comic and cartoons and to deliver them to the world! It’s not just comics and cartoons or a childish game. It is fully considered, and we are drawing it, building it and finding ways to advance it. Cartoons are no less considered than any other form of art.

How are you helping communities develop their own creative skills?

A creative person doesn’t need me to help them to be creative – they need me to motivate them. I’m motivating people around me to explore their ideas and what they have inside them. I want to become the first individual who breaks barriers and the existing cold surroundings to help motivate others! I’m changing the usual way of thinking about art in our community, and I aim to become the first ‘different’ individual by creating a safe environment that will motivate people.

What inspires you?

I want to express myself. My main mission is to deliver a message to the public.

We need to move and innovate, and leave behind all the clichés.

Abdulaziz Yousef, Artist

What impression do you hope to give of Qatar today?

We need to move and innovate, and leave behind all the clichés that we are doing towards ourselves as artists because this is actually affecting our local art scene in Qatar. We want to keep up with the global art scene because art is not just a square with some colours on it - art has a message and this is what I am trying to reach out to.

What legacy do you hope to leave?

I would love to leave the legacy of having the first Qatari style comics and cartoons that are taught and applied in the GCC region and for it to be attributed to Qatar.

What excites you most about Doha's cultural sector?

The cultural scene in Qatar is tied to other aspects because Qatari society is showing an evolution and development faster than many other communities. Five years ago, we were a different society. Today, we are a totally different one! In terms of culture, I’m seeing modernity happen, I’m seeing artists expressing themselves, I’m seeing out of the ordinary, and I’m seeing unstable movements to reflect the artistic outlook of the reality we are really living in today.