I have always wondered why there is such a lack of creatvity and imagination in Kuwait and many parts of the Middle East.
Let’s take the advertising industry in Kuwait as an example. Is it any coincidence that most of the companies employ ex-pats (mainly Lebanese Nationals) to do their ‘creative art’ work?
I remember seeing the exact same scenario when I was Dubai, UAE. Each and every advertising company – from account managers to creative directors were lead by Ex Pats.
So what does that tell us? Why are we so relient on outside influences to shape our internal marketing needs? Where are the new breed of ‘pop-culture Kuwaitis?’ – the ones who we regularly see flashing their ‘creative dressing’ skills in Marina Mall and the like?
I believe that there are 2 possible reasons why there is a distinct lack of creativity (particularly amongst Kuwaitis).
1) De-Valuation of Creative Minds…..When you sit amongst family members, friends or co-workers – the typical conversation revolves around hardcore, traditional business. Ask any patriarch what they advise you to study at college – and you’ll get the same 3 or 4 answers. Business, Medicine or Engineering.
Whilst all those are essential and necessary components of modern day life – none of them are creative orientated jobs. Tell your family you want to study Art, Graphic Design, Advertising or Music and they will look at you with a blank, empty and un-encouraging stare.
2) Environment…… As I alluded to yesterday, there is a desperate lack of colour in most Middle East countries. Everything always has the same sandy stone tonality – and the weather is for the most part – predictably sunny. Artists need climates, colours, temperatures, scenery and most importantly ‘change’ to be inspired.
Is it any co-incidence that some people here also wear some of the most ridiculously un-colour coordinated clothes you are ever likely to see? Are the big huge flowery dresses or the ‘fruit and vegetable’ coloured t shirts merely a (subliminal) way to put some much needed inspiration into their lives? Of course it is.
We should promote creativity in Kuwait – not look down upon it. We should encourage self expression by promoting art / music and fashion. Creativity, afterall, lies at the centre of everything.
I would love to see a day when we see Kuwaiti designers take the runways of New York by storm, or Kuwaiti Musicians go on a World Tour promoting their new pop album…..let’s encourage growth and creativity rather than kill it before its even had a chance to shine. We need these people to help promote the image of Kuwait, its people and our future direction.