Meet artist, Bruha Eve
We spoke to expressionism-surrealist artist Janet Eve Te de Jesus a.k.a 'Bruha Eve', the first Filipino artist to successfully mount her first solo art exhibition in the Middle East.
She started her career as a US Army contracter and model, and has always had a passion for art. We had the fantastic opportunity to chat with her; an expat woman who pays tribute to all overseas workers.
Why do you paint?
Freedom. I often suffer from anxiety and depression due to inability of understanding things the way it is and how it’s affecting me emotionally. My artwork is a summary of things I can’t fathom, curiosity and a representation of my crazy mind. By just looking at my paintings, you can tell when I’m perfectly fine due to the burst of colors or just wanna burn the room with people inside. *Evil laugh*.
Who are the influencers in your paintings?
Women. I’m self-taught and [it] feels empowering. We get inspired by different things and discouraged by so many reasons. However, I do applaud modern and dark art subjects, how the character evolves in the story and how it influences the creator/artist. Every creative has their own way of stimulating the viewers mind. I personally provoke. I love a challenge. I like change and am still looking for my own style.
What is your favourite medium and style?
Acrylics! I love its versatility when you’re adventurous with it. It’s water-based as well and fast drying. I love working mostly with my hands so it works perfect. I like it dirty and it doesn't make me itch like oils.
Your paintings are very surrealist – you step away from realism to portray almost a feeling, what message do you ultimately want to send?
Yes. I consider myself as an expressionism-surrealist. I portray emotions of a timely event/subject, random things that interests me and capturing it’s unrealistic approach. Realism is boring anyways. I like to wander and tap people’s thoughts.
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Why did you move to Kuwait and how did the move influence you as an artist?
Overcoming recession and survival at first, then finding my own personal peace. I always consider myself a floater. I feel alienated anywhere regardless where I stay. Moving to Kuwait revived the artist lost for years. I knew there was a place that could bring out the best and worse out of me. Living in the Middle East away from the comforts of our liberated ways, culture differences and experiences contained in thoughts are truly overwhelming. It had to be expressed somehow, some way. The whole experience changed me. Reborn? Yeah, maybe.
We read somewhere that you were a prodigy at the age of 2 – how did this affect you when you were growing up – was there added pressure?
Not really just odd. I always feel disconnected, untamed. I don’t consider myself a loner because I can converse with strangers all day but I know I get bored easily. It was hard growing up feeling empty and different from others. Through painting, I’m entertained. I found happiness and leverage to wander off. No limits, just the freedom of truly understanding the way how artists are born.
Can you describe life in Kuwait for a female artist, what are the challenges?
Understated. Ask me again. To be an Asian female artist? Horrifying, lol! I’m expected to act a certain way and get paid less than than the normal rate. As most of the workers in the Middle East are Asians and most of them consist of Filipino women. I break stereotypes. I always stand out with my rainbow colored hair not caring from where I stand. Every day is a challenge. There’s just too much monopoly and segregation in the country, as per color of my skin is a concern. So this means, I have to be extra creative to get the financial freedom I deserve and work harder. So, I do exhibitions when I get lucky and sell designer bags and gold jewelries on the sides.
You were the first artist from the Philippines to exhibit in the Middle East – have you seen a rise in the popularity of female artists since?
First Filipino woman, yes. In all honestly, NOT really haha! But I made quite an impression to people who know Bruha Eve and they recognize what a Filipino woman can do. .
SEE ALSO: Check out Kuwait's entertainment scene, from clubs and societies to expat groups!
If you could meet anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?
Van Gogh. I would hug him and tell him that I adore him. When I’m feeling down, discouraged for not selling anything or unable to acquire any paying creative job, I just think of how lucky I am to be thought the lessons of his life. Believing that there’s HOPE. It’s all about sacrifices. Just holding on what’s dear to us- our art. It will pay off some day.
Have you found the people in Kuwait accepting of you and your art?
Let’s put it this way... I used to be discriminated for wearing Ed Hardy skulls jumpsuits while walking around the mall. After 10 years, I was able to show unearthly death exhibition painting skulls etc. at a show at Bayt Lothan called Kreate
using Florescent paint. I do believe that Kuwait is changing and the society is accepting of foreign artists like myself. Although I’m lucky enough to be hired doing some private interior designing projects here and there, so yayyy! I’m still thinking to try my art somewhere else where I can be appreciated as an artist regardless of my race.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy selling stuff and sing karaoke. I can be a good saleswoman too, haha! Me and my husband currently run @Vagabondluxury, an online store on Instagram selling designer goods. I also like feeding stray cats along the beach four times a month.
What is your fashion style?
When I was a teenager, I used to dress like a thug... My streetwear was influenced by living and hanging out the streets of Tampa, Florida and always considered myself a black girl. As I’ve matured I dressed occasionally and still shopping in supermarkets wearing pajamas. It varies! Bottomline is, I go by the mood and stopped caring what people think of me. I am Bruha Eve and I do as I like.
To see some of Bruha Eve's artwork, visit www.bruhaeveartworld.com or find here at @bruhaeveartworld / @beartist22 on social media networks.