Young artist Esraa Zidan has hit the local art scene with a resounding splash. Her exuberant paintings have a commonality; larger ladies. Not larger than life; just cheerfully chubby, delightfully rotund, pleasingly plump. Rubens would be in his element. Egyptian Artist Esraa Zidan
The immediate and positive response to Zidan’s work has been a validation of her decision to relate her own personal journey. In an age where plastic surgery and digital enhancement have created ‘ideal’ clones, it takes courage to step outside of the mold. Zidan has done this, with creative energy, undisputed talent and self-celebratory humor.
CWM: Although your paintings do not mirror the common Instagram ideal, their success sends a clear message. Did you expect so many people to relate?
It was because of Instagram and all its unrealistic beauty standards that I started thinking that I was not beautiful myself. I considered plastic surgery here and there in order to become beautiful. Then after doubting myself for long time, I started a collection of paintings that portray women in a very different form than on Instagram. The most important point is that I portrayed them feeling happy and satisfied!
The feedback I got was overwhelming. I could hardly believe the amount of positive messages I got from women telling me how much they were suffering to accept how they looked, how desperate they were to be categorized as beautiful by so-called Instagram beauty standards. Only then did I decide to go on with my collection, I want every woman to feel accepted, satisfied and confident about how she looks.
What advice would you offer anyone facing self-image issues?
The only fact I know is this, if God wanted to create us all looking exactly the same, He would have done it. We are supposed to look different; we are supposed to be unique. And the world will see you as beautiful only if you start seeing yourself as beautiful first.
In today’s art industry, how can young artists receive support for their work? Egyptian Artist Esraa Zidan
To be honest, it is not easy at all to get noticed as an artist in Egypt. You need to make a phenomenal effort or have good connections. As for me, I didn’t have either. But what got me the needed attention was the audience who sincerely liked my artworks and kept asking galleries about my paintings. Then the galleries started noticing me.
But from my side now, I am trying my hardest to give support to young artists and to help them become noticed, to shorten the path so they can start to live completely for their art.