Student merges scenes from his childhood into his paintings

Student merges scenes from his childhood into his paintings | Pro Club Bd

Junior Kareem Moumina spent his childhood in Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, using the unique locations as inspiration for his large-scale landscape artworks.

Surrounded by half a dozen of his own massive canvases, it’s hard to believe that University of Miami junior Kareem Moumina didn’t have formal painting classes until three years ago.

But aside from taking a few drawing classes in high school, painting was something he did for fun as a kid.

Then, in the summer before college, Moumina tried some of his sister’s oil paints and created a birthday present for his grandmother – a still life of roses.

He enjoyed the experience so much that Moumina enrolled in an intermediate class in painting, where he met Brian Curtis, associate professor of art.

Moumina soon became enthusiastic. Since then he has created more than 40 large format landscape paintings depicting the vibrant tropical wildlife of the Philippines, where his mother grew up.

“The more you paint, the better you get. Doing these projects in class has motivated me to keep improving,” said Moumina, an economist.

He’s also earned the respect of his teachers and classmates, receiving the Art Department’s painting award last spring for one of his 72-inch landscapes titled Summer Birds.

“He’s a wonderful child prodigy and in the two years that I’ve worked with him his work has evolved so dramatically,” said Curtis, who has become a mentor to Moumina. “I was this wonderful spectator watching someone with very prolific talent and energy.”

Raised in Saudi Arabia, his father’s homeland, Moumina developed his unique style during his first painting class, when Curtis introduced his students to various 20th-century artiststh Century and then challenged them to create works inspired by the masters. Moumina was quickly drawn to French Post-Impressionist Henri Rousseau’s jungle scenes because they reminded him of family trips to the Philippines. This prompted him to create a series of landscapes in which Moumina merged some of the colors and terrain from his childhood in Saudi Arabia with the wildlife of the Philippines such as peacocks (his mother’s favorite bird), monkeys, as well as bright flowers, plants, mountains and waterfalls.

Kareem Moumina surrounded by his paintings.

“Painting is a way to share my multicultural background — the tropical climate of the Philippines and the mountainous deserts of Saudi Arabia really translate into my art, and I strive to perfect a composition with those two cultures,” Moumina said.

Painting also became an outlet for Moumina to relax.

“When I paint, I lose track of time,” says Moumina. “I forget everything when I paint, that’s why I like it so much.”

But he also works diligently to improve his craft. For the past semester, he’s often spent 12 hours a week, including most Sundays, in the studio. During the spring of his freshman year, Moumina was living at Hecht Residential College and would often wake up and paint in his room. Some students on his floor sometimes watched him paint for hours.

“He creates that kind of energy around him that people are attracted to,” Curtis said. “He is a special and unique person.”

Two friends even made a documentary about Moumina’s involvement in painting and boxing called Master of the Two Canvases. Moumina is also hoping to play college football, having played alongside Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke in high school.

“I truly believe that sports and the arts allow us to express ourselves physically, emotionally and intellectually and connect with each other around the world by breaking borders, cultures, languages ​​and barriers,” Moumina said in the documentary.

And now that Moumina has dedicated himself to painting, he plans to continue it for a lifetime. That summer he even took a course in Italy to improve his painting.

Though he’s sold 10 paintings, Moumina isn’t focused on marketing his talent — at least not yet. In the future he would love to open a gallery with his sisters, but for now he’s just trying to finish college and enjoy painting.

“For me, painting is something I won’t stop doing,” he said. “I’m really addicted to it, so I’m sure I’ll do it until I’m older. The more you paint, the better you become.”

To see Moumina’s latest work, visit his Instagram page @kareemmouminaart.

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