A self-taught artist, Amira Behbehani has exhibited across the globe in the 16 years since she first began to paint. Amira grew up surrounded by art – her uncle is Jawad Boushahri, a renowned Kuwaiti sculptor and owner of Boushahri Gallery – and she uses her childhood growing up between Kuwait and Iran as inspiration for her pieces. Amira also uses her art as a way to shine a light on important social issues, such as peace. In 2011, Amira became a member of UN-supported non-profit organisation Peace One Day and helped Kuwait to become the first Arab country to celebrate Peace Day on 21 September, 2012. In 2013, she was also appointed as a peace ambassador for the Worldwide Peace Marker project. Then, in 2015, Amira became a member of and participated in a group exhibition for Abolish 153, a women’s group working to remove Article 153, which covers honour killings, from Kuwait’s penal code. “Through art I can express myself, especially when it comes to causes that need society’s attention. I want people to be aware of the cause and learn that art and creativity is a way of expression,” Amira tells Bazaar of why her participation in these events is so important.
Amira’s love of art also translates into her personal style. “I look for simplicity with a twist and refined, sharp cuts. I collect clothes, but it’s not only something I use to cover myself, rather it’s a piece of art that I need to protect. When I look at a piece, I think about how the designer reached that point, how they saw things, and question what it is exactly – is it to be worn or looked at? The way designers combine materials gives an essence of their soul.” As a result, it’s Japanese designers she favours. “My fashion icons are Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Emanuel Ungaro and Paco Rabanne, for one very simple reason: they are creators of, not only fashion, but art. I also like young designers that impress me with their designs, it’s not the name that
I follow, rather it’s the art behind it.”
Shopping “three times a year in Beirut, Kuwait and London”, the mother of two says she doesn’t make a wish list but simply “goes with the flow” when it comes to purchases. Overseas, she “likes visiting vintage and up-and-coming designers’ stores as they are what I miss here in the Middle East.” When it comes to dressing, Amira believes that it’s not necessarily about the clothes that you wear, but rather how you wear them. “Creation and creativity make a woman stylish. I think every woman is an artist in her own way, but I love it when
I see a woman that knows how to put things together, like a jigsaw. She knows it well, you don’t need to guide her, she guides you.”
Amira Behbehani wears Natasha Zinko dress, A. F. Vandevorst shoes, Maria Haskell earrings. all her own. Photography: Ethan Mann. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair : View.14 Beauty Lounge - Kuwait