She may have only been working on it in the background till now – in-between the full-time job that is raising two daughters – but there’s absolutely no hiding Noora’s persona; she is truly an artist, through and through. Warm and fiercely intelligent, she’s not a small-talk kinda girl, much preferring to get into the substantial depths of what makes her tick.
So what is that, exactly? She clearly has a lot to say, be that visually (“I love painting using my hands,” she explains of the powerful green-hued piece standing behind us), or during our conversation that spans everything from family, politics, sacrifice and legacy. Zero fluff, zero filler.
“If I see something political that’s going on, I want to try and make that shine… not try to bring out the darkness.” It’s an honourable intention – and one that today carries ever-increasing significance, so we’re happy to hear that now is the time the world is finally going to get to see Noora’s messages of hope.
“My two girls are my world, and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot for them, especially my career, but now I need to put my best foot forward and just get on with it,” she says matter-of-factly. “I really want to do an installation… something sentimental to my region and my traditions. I always go back to that. It’s my identity. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t even know how to create my work or my character. It’s everything to me.”
Character is something she references a lot; clearly top of mind as a mother shaping two young girls in 2019. “I want to give them a little bit of what I got from my parents,” she says, “But a little bit of me as well. It’s more about encouragement, self-love… things that are more adaptable to the time that we’re living in today.”
Parents are the life-force of the Habtoor siblings; a defining theme throughout every conversation. “After my mum passed away, it took my sister and I a long time to wear any of her jewellery pieces. One of the memories I have of my mum is never asking permission to borrow a watch or a ring. Sometimes I even lost them…” she remembers. “I always found them again, though!”
A symbolic note to end on, perhaps, from a Habtoor finding her way back to her life’s calling.
Photography by Eva Kruiper
Styling by Anna Castan
Words by Olivia Phillips
Hair and Make-up: Sharon Drugan. Videographer: Augusta Quaynor at MMG Artists. Digital Direction: Elizabeth Kelly Photography Assistant: Reymund Ronald Lozano at HotCold Studio. Fashion Assistants: Anna Smolenko, Joyce Gereige and Zach Nouri. Producer: Elle Hutchinson. Producer’s Assistant: Brian Timmer