Linda Touby served as an Art Ambassador to Kuwait City, Kuwait in December 2006. Some of her most important contacts were with female art students as she shared her experience living and working as an artist in New York City. She was well received and her visit made headlines. Because of her excellent instruction and demeanor, Touby was invited to the homes of many of her Kuwaiti contacts and has bridged the gap between the United States Embassy and many audiences at American University of Kuwait, the Women’s College of Kuwait and elsewhere.
Kuwait City, Kuwait
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic)
ANCHOR: A very good morning to you. TOUBY: Good morning to you. ANCHOR: Welcome to Kuwait.
TOUBY: Thank you, it’s been a wonderful experience.
ANCHOR: Thank you. So this is your first time to Kuwait?
TOUBY: This is my first time to the area and, of course, to Kuwait.
ANCHOR: And how did you like it so far?
TOUBY: I love it. I loved it as soon as I got off the plane. I was a child in Florida so when I got off the plane, I thought I was home.
ANCHOR: (laughs) With all the sand.
TOUBY: With all the sand and the beautiful palm trees and the beautiful water. Of course I didn’t see the sky at night, but when I woke up in the morning I saw the sky, it was very reminiscent.
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic to camera) (to Touby) Can you please tell us about your visit to Kuwait and the artists or Art in the Embassies program?
TOUBY: It’s a program that I’ve actually taken part in before. And it’s a wonderful program. What it is is that they bring your work, the American embassy brings your work to their ambassador’s residence. And the paintings, mine are 6, are on exhibit there for the period of the time that the ambassador is in the country. So right now the paintings will be on exhibit for probably another year. They’ve been here for two years so far.
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic to camera) (to Touby) So how do you think that program will make cultural interactive with the USA and the hosting country?
TOUBY: Well it’s been done before in other countries and it’s been done before here but I think the wonderful part of it is that through culture we’re able to exchange our experiences and our ideas. So that when my work is here, the students, the art students, any of the Kuwaiti people can come to the embassy I believe and make an appointment and see the things the ambassador has chosen to keep in his residence. But also for Americans they come here also and they experience Kuwait and the beautiful things that the Kuwaiti people have.
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic to camera) (to Touby) Is it for sale?
TOUBY: Yes, of course.
ANCHOR: It is?
TOUBY: Yes, it is, and the ambassador can always connect people to one of the galleries that represents me in the States. Also there is more information, there are CDs with pictures of my work and pictures of me working and there are catalogues and the embassy has all of that.
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic to camera) (to Touby) You have been here since Thursday? TOUBY: Yes
ANCHOR: So it’s been a weekend and now it’s Sunday and you have also more four days?
TOUBY: Yes, I have a lot of appointments. I’ve been to visit a number of schools and I’ll be going to Gust to see some of the students and I’ll be working with some students on field trips and I’ve also been going to galleries and seeing some of the artists’ work and exchanging ideas and catalogues and other things with artists and art patrons here in Kuwait. Also there are many Americans and Europeans here and so the experience has been completely rewarding and fulfilling for me.
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic to camera) (to Touby) How is your first impression about the art in Kuwait? TOUBY: I was quite surprised.
TOUBY: Because I had no idea. I mean, I’ve seen Persian art and I’ve been to various countries and seen the art in Istanbul and Turkey and I’ve seen art in Morocco. But the art here is modern. The artists are quite well educated and the artists that I’ve met and the art students that I’ve met have wonderful ideas. The colors are beautiful and I feel like we have something in common, maybe because of my background and where I grew up, but somehow or other I feel that there’s a link there. I was really surprised.
ANCHOR: (Speaking Arabic to camera)