Interview with Mona Boghdady

Mona Boghdady, Kealah is a student at Österlenskolan för konst- och design and comes from Cairo, Egypt.

Why did you apply for this particular course?

I came to Sweden two years ago for a street art project. Mia Gröndahl was the organiser, she is a Swedish journalist who lived in Cairo for fifteen years. We’d been doing a project for empowerment of female street artists called Women on walls. She was a good journalist and she collected funds for the project to happen and we joined her in Cairo, Alexandria and Amman. She invited me and other artists to paint here in Sweden, and that’s how I came in contact with the school. I knew about the school and I applied this year for the second year. And it´s been great.

What are your plans after the course?

I would like to work as an artist, of course. I have applied to other schools and it has been my purpose to apply to a preparatory school, because I’ve heard that my chances to succeed are higher if I get accepted to a preparatory school. If I get accepted I will go and I have also applied to another konsthögskola, and if not – I was a pharmacist – I will go back to pharmacy because that was my income.

Street art sounds very interesting, tell us a little bit more?

I started to get in to street art after 2011, because in Cairo there was a big protest and revolution going on and many artists started to paint on the walls as a protest. Graffiti back then was not a strong subculture in Cairo, most of them were painters starting with sprays, plastic paints or oil paint. It was mainly to document what was happening in the squares with gunshots and people getting killed. Because there were no trials for the victims, people used graffiti in a way to express their emotions. I became one of them and drew graffiti about women’s rights and about women being attacked in the streets – so that’s how it started. Then, I also joined festivals to paint. It´s an amazing tool because it´s so direct, you can see it without any medium, so it´s a kind of artistic media. 

What is your tip to others who want to become an artist?

I recommend them always to seek and explore new artists and new media. Go to galleries, go to art cinemas to get inspiration. Because that is also basically what happens in school. I get further inspiration from seeing teachers who give me advice and give me more direction. The main part, and the first role and person an artist has to explore, is her or himself. Just explore all the time.