• Renu Thomas

Why Make Art?

I spent about five hours at an art exhibition a few weeks ago. It was well arranged and

represented, but the majority of work displayed for sale - albeit aesthetically good - were poor imitations of popular artists. They lacked originality, and quite frankly left me feeling quite flat.


Interpretation of the art is usually left to the viewer, but meeting artists and hearing their stories is what I enjoy. To know how they developed their interest in art, their life experiences, their training or lack of it, their interests, and world views. I met quite a few artists and showed interest in their work. Some of them had rather interesting stories, but they did not necessarily translate into their work. There were a couple of sculptures and paintings that caught my eye.


They appeared cannibalistic and the artists seemed to enjoy my look of discomfort as I

examined them. Their pieces would perhaps never be the choice to adorn my walls, but I

certainly gained from meeting the artists and viewing their work.


A young chap stood out not because of his work, but because he did not seem to want to

engage. After my efforts at asking leading questions all I got was that he liked cars. Oh and no - cars were NOT the main feature of his work. I couldn’t help but think that he and a couple of other artists who showed promise could benefit from a few sessions with me, to support them in distilling their thoughts and finding their stories.


Having said all this, I must say I was very impressed by the work of two women and they are

really the inspiration for this post. Their art drew me in from across the room and I was happy to

view them up close and spend time with them in admiration and silent dialogue. The artists were

eager to give me a short tour of their work and spoke with conviction, passion, and a lucid

manner. They clearly spoke from the heart and I was intrigued.


Samar Kamel’s series of paintings ‘La Vie’ was relatable scenes from a circus and I was enamored by the one with the girl clown seated on suitcases.


The other exhibit was by Ghia Haddad. I liked three of her themed series entitled “Don't Skirt the Issue”, “The Three Queens” and “Women on the Edge”, each with three pieces.


Samar and Ghia have clear narratives examining the cultural attitudes toward women and carry powerful messages in the current social context. A friend commented that they are museum-worthy.


These ladies are using the power of art to facilitate change and transformation, or as Ghia put it – “I believe I can change the world, one picture at a time”.


I make art because I enjoy it. I too have attempted to copy the style of other artists en route to finding my own and I focus on what I can do. Although I start with what seems like a clear plan, my pieces develop quite organically and tend to evolve from the original plan as I progress.


Whatever be your reason for making art, keep going. Enjoy it. Dialogue with it. Put your uniqueness into it. There really is no wrong way, there's just YOUR way.





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