My experience in Saudi Arabia began with a very warm welcome. I was asked to produce an individual mural in four/five days but I ended up working with a brilliant crowd of Saudi and Bahreini graffiti artists instead – we collaborated in the production of a massive wall.
Both the welcoming atmosphere and the energy created with the other artists dispelled any of my misconceptions about Saudi Arabian culture. I was extremely impressed by the quality and precision of the artists, and their dedication to the tradition of graffiti was inspiring. I was also very happy to see that girls were involved in the graffiti art scene. They displayed just as much dedication and talent in their art despite, or in spite of, the unorthodoxy of spray painting in a niqab!
Although most of the artists had chosen American-inspired graffiti names, I was excited to feel their desire to work closer to their roots. Arabic graffiti still has so much to offer the world and to see young Arab artists taking on the challenge of mixing modern experiences whilst still anchored in cultural and religious traditions is exhilarating. This trip was very eye-opening and I did not expect to leave this project with so much to reflect on and so much positive energy to carry me through to the next adventure.