One of the most unique visual artists hailing from Sudan is 23-year-old Abeer Abdelmonaim. You might have seen her artwork on social media, experimenting with makeup and body paint, creating looks that challenge confirmative beauty norms or ideals. Using her face as a canvas, her out-of-the-box looks are not natural, soft or simple in any way, but loud, artistic and bold, many of which are inspired by fluid or gender nonconforming looks.
The UAE-based visual artist currently uses social media to a platform for artistic expression. But beyond social media, Abdelmonaim is hired by fellow artists to create creative looks for their art projects and photoshoots. She recently collocated with UAE musician, Sultan The King, on his cover art for his latest single, “Bad Man”.
Like many Sudanese artists during the Sudanese revolution, Abdelmonaim used her talents to illustrate and highlight the events of the revolution – some of which went viral.
500 Words Magazines talks to the UAE-based Sudanese visual artist Abeer Abdelmonaim, also known as @bebo.bero on social media, about her career in visual arts and the inspiration behind her unconventional looks.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up in an artistic family surrounded by artists, fashion designers and musicians. In fact, my mother is a trained painter, Alumni of the University of Sudan. I remember watching her paint in her studio in our house while listening to Mostafa Sid Ahmed. Ever since, I knew that I will pursue a career in the field of arts. In 2018, I got my bachelor’s degree with honours in fine arts from the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Sharjah. In addition, I have a diploma in personal beauty from SHAW Academy.
How did you get into makeup and body painting?
I started learning about make up at a young age and as I grew older, body painting and makeup became another medium for me to create art. It was challenging since the human form isn’t exactly flat but that challenge helped to gain new perspective when it comes to creating painting and sculptures.
Your style is quite unique. What or who inspires your work?
My conceptual artwork emphasis on the human condition in personal, social and political experiences. I don’t necessarily limit my inspiration to specific artists and art movements since my art is very fluid. Few artists I relate to are: Basquiat, Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, Damien Hirst, Sasha Velour and Andy Warhol. Yet, I’m constantly searching and learning about new artists to expand my horizons.
You are quite fascinated by drag queens/artists and their makeup. Tell us more about that and why they influence your work?
Queer artists and drag queens have always influenced the art scene. Drag is a very powerful form of art. Every time a man puts on a dress and makeup it’s a political statement against confirmative society norms and gender stereotypes, which I totally support. A lot of my own art is about starting a conversation on issues the society won’t necessarily find amusing.
What type of products do you use? Paint or actual makeup or a little bit of both?
I use both make up and body paint. It depends on what look I’m trying to achieve.
Do you consider what you do as a hobby or more as a career?
It’s daintily not a hobby. It’s part of my career. It’s part of my journey as an artist and as for now, I’m enjoying creating art on the human body.
What are your goals as a makeup artist or a visual artist in general?
I have a lot of goals as an artist but when it comes to makeup I’d love to spear a project on Vogue magazine of my own photography in which the models are painted by me.
I’m still considered the underdog in this very competitive field but I genuinely believe that I have something new to bring to the table so keep an eye out on my Instagram @bebo.bero and Twitter @bebo_bero