After a week of sharing her wonderfully colourful and dynamic drawings and paintings with Caspian Arts Foundation, Alyâa Kamel speaks with us about her life as an artist and how her time in Egypt during its revolution in 2011, gave birth to her latest exhibition which is on show at the Tafkaj Gallery in Geneva. Currently working on her upcoming exhibit in Cairo, Alyâa shares her views on an artist’s ability to shed light on humanity and its place in society, where otherwise it would be obscured or not fully accepted and she feels this ability to respond to the ongoing change within the region, through her work.
This is something that is setting the tone for Middle Eastern contemporary art today: pushing the boundaries and barriers that co-exist within societies, overcoming taboos and basically driving the region to its next level which is connecting to a more global stage, connecting to the West and widening our language and also our vision.
NM: Thank you for the interview Alyâa. After we spoke, I visited your website and watched a clip where you mentioned that you don’t paint or create your work through any rational or logical process. What I am assuming is that you paint from your emotion and inspirations. Is this true each time?
AK: Yes it is true. My Art is a pure emotional process that flirts with thoughts, to give birth to a painting or a drawing.
NM: What motivates you before you go and start a new series of works?
AK: My motivation is Life itself and how it vibrates in me.
NM: Do you ever sit in front of a blank canvas without having any idea of what is about to come?
AK: Yes it has happened several times. Usually it means I have to do something else.
NM: I’m interested in your “social red carpet” works. When we spoke, you briefly mentioned the inspiration coming from the revolution in Egypt, as you were there when it happened. What were your impressions before putting paint onto canvas and was it an immediate connection?
AK: Humanity at its full power that was put into the brush, and then into the colour. An unbreakable link between all human beings
NM: It really shows the connection between arts and political events taking place and how artists truly play a role. Artists really put themselves on the line!
AK: An idea or a feeling expressed in all its nakedness is always risky in a society that makes sure that all stays in a fuzzy shadow. An artist transforms darkness into light. A lot of people will try to find the switch!
NM: Do you look at art as a tool to bring about change and the social norm, especially in a region that is undergoing conflict and change?
AK: Art is a way to unleash inner emotions into the world. First the beauty, second an understanding and finally the beginning of a series of thoughts that will lead to a strong desire of change.
NM: You were studying for some time in London, how did you find living in such a creative and dynamic city?
AK: Living in London and being in an art environment was a great opening of the mind and soul. It gave me a lesson in freedom and also in evolution.
NM: Do you have any message of hope to aspiring artists who are living in the Middle East and who would really benefit from living abroad and align their hopes and dreams with reality?
AK: The Middle east has a lot to learn from other countries and other countries have a lot to learn from the Middle East! You have the chance to bring these worlds together, bringing a wider knowledge, an extra definition to a multicultural world that needs to move forward.
NM: It relates to this case of artists struggling to find their voice in most parts of the region. Do you feel a greater responsibility to your work as you live outside and enjoy the freedom that you can use in your work?
AK: As an artist and a human being I feel responsible.
NM: Do you ever use any other mediums in your art?
AK: I use acrylic, watercolor, ink, sands, crystals….
NM: Can you share with us one of your personal favourites and tell us why you love it?
AK: The mural that is exhibited in the gallery Tafkaj. The people waiting for the changes to take place, they are slightly moving (so there is visual movement) … and the change of the political situation; despair leading to hope.
NM:What are you currently working on?
AK: I am working on several projects but getting ready for my Exhibition in Cairo.
To visit Alyaa Kamel’s website click here.