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Archive for the ‘Illustration’ Category

“Post adolescent” art on display in two Taiwanese museums – picture feast

Posted by artradar on August 5, 2010


EMERGING ARTISTS TAIWANESE ART MUSEUM SHOWS COLLECTIONS

An exhibition exploring the theme of “post adolescence” is presenting 72 works by younger generation Taiwanese artists, those between 25-35 years of age, in an effort to reveal their art creation processes and society’s influence on them.

Aptly titled “Post Adolescence“, the exhibition recently showed at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (NTMoFA) and is finishing up at Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, an institution managed by the Taipei National University of the Arts.

A partnership between these two art institutions, “Post Adolescence” is in part a way to showcase NTMoFA’s Young Artist Collection Program, started in 2005 and which now holds nearly 500 pieces by “post-adolescent” Taiwanese artists under 35 years of age. According to the museum’s website, the program aims to “cultivate young artistic talent, elevate and develop contemporary art in Taiwan and promote cultural industries.”

“Post Adolescence” is seen by Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts as an attempt to define the characteristics shared by artists in this age group:

The highly motivated generation of younger artists demonstrates novel art works using [the] special visual language of comics, aimless/purposeful cacophony of voices, or Internet-based technological devices.

The works of those artists embody innovative and surreal themes, reflecting their generation characteristics – passionate yet rebellious – and presenting an alternative form of art in Taiwan.

Many of the artists exhibiting works in the show have won awards – this is one of the criteria for inclusion in the Young Artist Collection. Standout participants include: Cheng-ta Yu, Kuo I-Chen, Su Hui-yu, Huan Wei-min, Chen Wan-ren, Wang Pei-ying and Wang Ting-yu. Cheng-ta Yu and Kuo I-chen featured in the Taiwan Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) and Su Hui-yu was nominated for the Taishin Arts Award.

Lo Chan-Peng, 'Youth Diary of the Strawberry Cell Division 3', 2008, oil on canvas, 194 x 194 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Lo Chan-Peng, 'Youth Diary of the Strawberry Cell Division 3', 2008, oil on canvas, 194 x 194 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Wang Chung-Kun, 'sound.of.bottles #3', 2009, kinetic installation, 200 x 180 x 180 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Wang Chung-Kun, 'sound.of.bottles #3', 2009, kinetic installation, 200 x 180 x 180 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Chen Ching-Yuan, 'We Catch the Land!', 2008, screen printing and acrylic, 270 x 550 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Chen Ching-Yuan, 'We Catch the Land!', 2008, screen printing and acrylic, 270 x 550 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Hua Chien-Ciang, 'The Divine Series', 2006, gauche, 200 × 60 cm (four panels). Images courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Hua Chien-Ciang, 'The Divine Series', 2006, gauche, 200 × 60 cm (four panels). Images courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Kuo I-Chen, Survivor Project《41°N,74°W》, 2007, digital print, 87 x 240 cm. Image courtesy Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Kuo I-Chen, Survivor Project《41°N,74°W》, 2007, digital print, 87 x 240 cm. Image courtesy Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Wang Liang-Yin, 'Pudding of Consciousness', 2005, acrylic on canvas, 130 x 194 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

Wang Liang-Yin, 'Pudding of Consciousness', 2005, acrylic on canvas, 130 x 194 cm. Image courtesy of Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts.

KN

Related Topics: Taiwanese artists, museum shows, museum collectors, emerging artists

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Posted in Acquisitions, Anime, Artist Nationality, Cartoon, Collectors, Computer animation software, Design, Drawing, Electronic art, Emerging artists, Events, Illustration, Installation, Kinetic, Manga, Museum collectors, Museum shows, New Media, Oil, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Taiwan, Taiwanese, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Xu Zhen takes on Middle Eastern identities and cultures as the new artists’ collective alias Madeln at the Ikon Gallery, UK

Posted by artradar on June 16, 2010


MADEIN ARTIST COLLECTIVE CHINESE ART UK GALLERY SHOW

Seeing One’s Own Eyes is the first European exhibition by MadeIn, a new artists’ collective founded in 2009 in Shanghai by Xu Zhen (b. 1977, Shanghai), often heralded as one of the most important and renowned conceptual artists to have emerged from China since the 1990s.

While the work is all made in China, Madeln impersonates a fictional group of Middle Eastern artists, creating a kind of exhibition in disguise, “an exhibition of an exhibition.”  The use of this technique enables Xu to play down his personal identity.

Derived from “Made In”, two words that refer to manufacturing (with country of origin not specified), the name Madeln also phonetically translates into Chinese for “without a roof ” (‘méi d˘ı∙ng’), suggesting an openness to the collective’s work.

Through a range of media including sculpture, video and mixed-media installation, Madeln presents clichéd images of the Middle East, as a war-torn part of the world, associated with the oil industry, death, violence, human suffering and religious conflict. By raising issues of cultural perception, the exhibition encourages us to take a clearer view of current affairs in that region of the world.

The most recent work titled Hey, are you ready? (2009–2010) comprises of three large white sculptures made from polystyrene, one of the many by-products derived from the distillation of oil. These objects form neat, crisp packaging for the protection of loaded symbols including mosques, crescents, oil barrels and Kalashnikov rifles, revealed by negative space.

Spread (2009), a series of wall hangings covered with cartoon imagery, deal explicitly with the geographical politics of Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Europe and the USA. Key political figures and scenarios are starkly drawn and exaggerated to billboard proportions, provoking and highlighting the often unconstructive and negative debates that are encountered in this area.

'Spread' by Madeln (2009) Mixed Media on Canvas, Courtesy the artist and ShanghART Gallery

'Spread' by Madeln (2009), mixed media on canvas. Courtesy the artist and ShanghART Gallery.

In Perfect Volume (2009) the toe-ends of combat desert boots create a circle on the floor representing a row of absent soldiers as imagined casualties. This references the eternity and infinity of the circle, and is further depicted in the piece Machine for Perpetual Motion (2009), a model of an oil pump, constructed meccano-style but made from razor wire. The energy needed for its movement is blatantly taken from an electrical socket.

The illusionary installation Calm (2009) is made of building debris, a carpet of bits of brick and rubble that is still at first glance. Slowly it reveals itself as animated, gently moving up and down as if it were breathing like the survivor of a bomb blast, trapped and awaiting rescue. This notion of destructive power also features in the low-level floor-based installationThe Colour of Heaven (2009), where mushroom clouds from atomic bomb explosions are placed under assorted glasses.

'The Colour of Heaven' by Madeln (2009) Glasses, painting Courtesy the artist and ShanghART Gallery

'The Colour of Heaven' by Madeln (2009), glasses, painting. Courtesy the artist and ShanghART Gallery.

The title of this exhibition refers to a verse in the Koran, “My way, and that of my followers, is to call you to God, on evidence as clear as seeing with one’s own eyes” (Sura 12, verse 108). Freely translated it is an opportunity for to reflect, a consideration of how we see – by “seeing one’s own eyes” – as much as what we see.

Seeing One’s Own Eyes” is a collaboration with S.M.A.K. (Belgium) and is on display at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, until 11 July, 2010.

Two other articles regarding Xu Zhen’s Madeln and “Seeing One’s Own Eyes”, when the show was on display in other international locations, are:

RM/KN

Related Topics: Chinese artists, venues – UK, gallery shows

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Posted in Art as meditation, Cartoon, Chinese, Conceptual, Consumerism, Events, Fact and fiction blur, Found object, Gallery shows, Illustration, Installation, Middle Eastern, Political, Sculpture, Shows, UK, Video, War | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

First New York exhibition for celebrated Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak

Posted by artradar on February 24, 2010


THAI FEMINIST ART

Pinaree Sanpitak, artistic chameleon and feminist artist, will hold her first New York exhibition, Quietly Floating, at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in March this year.

Quietly Floating Quietly Funny, 2008

Sanpitak is a prolific and celebrated Thai artist who takes her inspiration directly from the female form.

The exhibition will feature a series of large monochromatic paintings of breasts and cloud forms, a number of drawings on paper expressing the same imagery, and an installation of large aluminium mirrors.

Dark and Sweet, 2008

These works, created during a 2008 artist residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in California, USA, build on an earlier series of works titled Breasts and Clouds, started in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2006.

“The form of clouds came about in a hot studio in the summer months of Bangkok in 2006. Later a friend told me that there’s a word in Pali/Sanskrit called Pa-yo-ta-ra which means beholder of water and giver of milk.” (Pinaree Sanpitak, artist statement)

Over the Blue, Breasts and Clouds, 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok, 2007

A versatile and prolific artist, Sanpitak has worked in an abundance of mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and performance. In 2005, she even delved into the culinary arts with her Breast Stupa Cookery series.

Breast Stupa Cookery

Sanpitak has been a powerful voice in Thai art since the 1980s, contributing a strong female presence to her local art scene.

Many critics and art writers contribute the formation of her artistic style to the birth of her son in 1993. However, it seems she has been working with abstracted female iconography since the late 1980s.

She has held solo exhibitions in Asia, America and Europe and has participated in major biennials in Australia, Italy, Japan and Korea.

Quietly Floating will show at New York gallery Tyler Rollins Fine Art from 4 March to 17 April this year. The gallery will host an artist talk on Saturday 13 March from 2 pm.

KN

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Posted in Feminist art, Gallery shows, Illustration, New York, Painting, Sculpture, Thai, USA, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Animamix Biennial – an alternative biennial pushes aesthetic of comic art – interview curator Victoria Lu

Posted by artradar on February 16, 2010


ANIMATION ART BIENNIAL

The Animamix Biennial is unique. The first was held in 2007, organised by Victoria Lu, an experienced curator and the Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai. This years show, also curated by Lu, spans four galleries: the Museum of Contemporary Art (Taipei, Taiwan), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai, China), Today Art Museum (Beijing, China) and the Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou, China).

Animamix Biennial, 2009-2010, MOCA Shanghai

It presents art that develops or embodies the Animamix aesthetic, artwork that combines the styles of animation and comics.

The term “Animamix” was actually coined in 2004 by Lu when she became aware of the emerging stylistic trend while curating Fiction.Love at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan.

Fiction.Love, 2004, MOCA Taipei

Animamix is now entering the mainstream, pushing the artists who have developed this style into the spotlight, artists such as Takashi Murakami (Japan), mixed-media visual artist Trenton Doyle Hancock (U.S.A.) and Brazilian painter Oscar Oiwa. As the style encompasses a broad range of mediums, and is often brightly coloured with bizarre narratives, it has an inherent ability to attract attention.

Animamix Biennial, 2009-2010, Guangdong Museum of Art, China

Always interested in exploring emerging trends, Art Radar Asia spoke briefly with curator Victoria Lu about the Biennial:

On Animamix as an artistic trend

The Animamix Biennial was inaugurated in 2007. Since then, has this art direction become more recognisable to mainstream audiences or does it still sit on the fringes?

This answer is rather difficult to define. If I judge by the growing numbers of Animamix direction artworks in the international art fairs, I can say yes. The Animamix direction is growing internationally.

Is this style popular internationally (for audiences, dealers and buyers) or is the popularity restricted to the Asian region?

There is more Animamix kind of artworks available in Asia market for the moment, so I believe Animamix art is more popular in Asia. But there are more and more artists in Europe working [with an] Animamix direction.

On the Biennial

Why did you want to start this Biennial?

I am tired of the current international biennials. There are a group of curators [which have been] leading the conceptual direction for too long. You will find [that] very similar artists list no matter where you go. So I want to try something new, something different. My concept for the Animamix Biennial is an ongoing evolution of art exhibitions and activities. This kind of biennial can really reflect the local art scene.

Would it be fair to say this Biennial is an Asian-initiated event focussing on an art trend that is becoming more globalised?

International biennials were started in Europe in the early last century. Now biennials are becoming more and more popular in the Asia, starting from the beginning of this century. Many cities in Asia are competing for the exposure of their art and culture.

Generally, how has the exhibition been received by critics and museum patrons?

My Animamix shows are very well received by audiences. So far we have also been well received by the critics.

Which artists have been well received by critics and audiences? Are there any “stars” of the Biennial?

I cannot say who the stars are. They are all important to me.

Animamix Biennial, 2009-2010, Today Art Museum, Beijing

The final leg of the Animamix Biennial, Dazzled and Enchanted – New Age Animamix, is now showing at the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, China. The show will close on 28 February 2010.

KN

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Posted in Anime, Beijing, Biennials, Body, Brands, Brazilian, Cartoon, Celebrity art, China, Conceptual, Consumerism, Curators, Emerging artists, Fantasy art, Guangzhou, Illustration, International, Interviews, Japanese, Manga, Museum shows, Pop Art, Professionals, Shanghai, Taiwan, Takashi Murakami, Technology, Toys, Urban, Video game art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Historic show documents development of Cambodian art – Forever Until Now

Posted by artradar on March 9, 2009


CAMBODIAN ART SHOW

In a unique documentary and historic show, Cambodian-based curator Erin Gleeson brings the works of  14 Cambodian modern and contemporary artists  to 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong. This post is the first in a three part series.

 Sopheap Pich, Cycle 2008

Forever Until Now – 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong to 25 April 2009

The ground-breaking show aims to provide an overview of the evolution of experimental and contemporary art in Cambodia and covers 3 generations of artists born between 1933 and 1988.

What prompted the exhibition? 

Dealer Katie de Tilly began planning the exhibition last summer when she took an exploratory trip to Cambodia  and was shown around by bamboo sculptor Sopheap Pich and  US- born curator Erin Gleeson who has been based in Cambodia for the last 5 years. Whereas Thailand and Vietnam have been receiving international exposure for some time, Cambodian contemporary artists are on the cusp of  interntional recognition. The work of Cambodian artists will be shown for the first time at the up-coming Asia Pacific Triennial 2009.

 Why is Cambodian art getting attention now?

Until a decade ago contemporary art in Cambodia simply did not exist but after the opening of the Reyum Institute of Art and Culture in 1998 and other galleries such as Java Cafe, more cutting-edge works began to emerge among the traditional works of silk weavings, silver and stone sculptures.

It has been over 30 years since the 1979 toppling of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot’s totalitarian regime. During the last decade Cambodia has enjoyed a period of political stability which has allowed an opening up to external cultural influences and a gradual blooming of the art scene.

During the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979 a dozen or so artists left the country to study abroad  but when they returned there was little art infrastructure to support their practice.

Despite an absence of government funding for the arts, international collectors are beginning to become aware of the significant changes in Cambodian art practice thanks to the activities of private galleries (from Thailand in particular), curators ( like Erin Gleeson who established the artist resoure centre Bassac in Phnom Penh last year) and artists themselves such as Sopheap Pich who was selected for the Best of Discovery section at Shanghai Art Fair in 2008.

The artists

The artists fall into three groups. The first group only – artists born in the 1950s or before –  are covered in this post.

The following artists born from 1930s – 1950s  were formative in the development of today’s Cambodian contemporary art because each in different ways appropriated new sources of inspiration. Grandfather of art, Svay Ken focuses on the immediate and everyday instead of the sublime whereas Vann Nath’s dark  heavy work reflects the experiences of terror and torture which Cambodia suffered during Pol Pot. Stylistic development is apparent in the comic art and illustration work of Em Satya while Duang Saree is influential for innovating the traditional motifs and representations in temple art into new forms which better reflect contemporary society.

 Svay Ken, Flood at the Wedding, oil

  • SVAY Ken (1933-2008) – painter – Known locally by the respectful title Lok Ta (grandfather), Svay was remarkable for turning away from traditional art practice glorifying ancient monuments and rural landscapes and depicting in his rough self-taught style the every day moments and objects of Cambodian life. His work as a porter at the lavish Raffles hotel led to sales of his art to tourists which in time evolved into international recognition. He is collected by Fukuoka Asian Art Musuem, the Singapore Art Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery. He will represent Cambodia in the 6th Asia Pacific Art Triennial 2009.

Vann Nath, Pray for Peace, oil 

 

  • VANN Nath (1946) – one of the most honoured figures in Cambodia he is one of 7 survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s secret prison known as S-21 where 14,000 people were tortured and executed during the 1975-79 Pol Pot regime. His jailors spared his life so that he could be put to work painting and sculpting portraits of Pol Pot. Vann Nath typically paints the dark and violent events he has witnessed.

 

Duong Saree, Kbach Tonle Sap 2, watercolour

Duong Saree, Kbach Tonle Sap 2, watercolour

  • DUONG Saree (1957) – Duong Saree is a renowned teacher and innovator of Cambodian Traditional Painting. Over 6 months in 2007 she completed the largest traditional painting in Cambodia (outside the Royal Palace Walls). What is interesting about Duong Saree’s practice is that she is evolving the traditional motifs of temple painting  – usually strictly adhered to – in order to better represent the contemporary world. In this show she innovates new forms for water to complement the five surviving representations of water found in temples.

 

Em Satya, Deadly Curse of the Diamond, Watercolour

Em Satya, Deadly Curse of the Diamond, Watercolour

  • EM Satya (1952) – a comic artist – Cambodian comics first appeared in the 1960s taking inspiration from the style of French and the colour of Indian comics. He is best known as “Nono” the pseudonym under which he drew caricatures and political cartoons for newspapers in the 1990s. His newest graphic novel Flower of Battambang (2006) is already seen as a contemporary classic.

This is the first of a three-part series on this show.

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New York’s first major show of Anime, Manga and Video Games KRAZY! Japan Society

Posted by artradar on February 15, 2009


Takashi Okzaki, Afro Samurai, Film Still

Takashi Okzaki, Afro Samurai, Film Still

 

JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY ART MANGA ANIME

KRAZY! The delirious world of Anime, Manga and Video Games March – June 14 2009 New York

The influence of these three forms of Japanese contemporary art and popular culture has been sweeping across Asia and around the world.  This unique traveling survey of contemporary Japanese culture was organised by Vancouver Art Gallery.

“The Vancouver Art Gallery is committed to fostering new and dynamic understandings of visual culture. With the exhibition KRAZY!, we seized a tremendous opportunity to forward the study of some of the world’s fastest growing art forms,” said Kathleen Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Despite the pervasive presence of these media, little has been done to assess the ties that bind them. By offering an interdisciplinary account in a major survey exhibition for the first time, we will illuminate their importance as a sustained cultural force.”

From the Japan Society website:

cosplay_party_21KRAZY! will be New York’s first major show dedicated to the Japanese phenomenon of Anime, Manga, and Video Games-three forms of contemporary visual art that are exercising a huge influence on an entire generation of American youth.

The exhibition, organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, will be presented in an environment designed by cutting-edge architectural practice Atelier Bow-Wow, featuring life-size blowups of popular figures from the worlds of anime and manga within an intriguing sequence of spaces that evoke Tokyo’s clamorous cityscape.

 Co-curated by leading North American and Japanese specialists, KRAZY! will give visitors a direct experience of new forms of cultural production and offers fresh insight into the interdependence of three art forms of the future.

Source: Japan Society website

  • Event details
  • Video  – Brief trailer describing how visitors can interact with the show – 6 movie theatres, a sound room, games consoles etc.
  • Krazy! Cosplay party event details  March 28 2009 – dress up as characters

Artists:

Anime:

Ichiro Itano (Super Dimension Fortress Macross), Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf’s Rain), Satoshi Kon (Paprika), Mamoru Oshii (Patlabor 2: The Movie), Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Makoto Shinkai (The Place Promised in Our Early Days), and Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game).

Manga:

Moyoco Anno (Sakuran), Hisashi Eguchi (Stop!! Hibari-kun!), Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkon Kinkreet: Black & White), Junko Mizuno (Pure Trance), Mamoru Nagano (The Five Star Stories), Hitoshi Odajima (Mu: For Sale), Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai), and Yuichi Yokoyama (New Engineering).

Video Games:

Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man) and Shigeru Miyamoto (Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)

Review links:

  • Popcultureshock.com – appears to be full press release for original Vancouver show May 2008, details of exhibits which have ‘shaped the history of contemporary visual culture’ and bios of 7 participating curators
  • Anime Today – preview of New York show, listen to Joe Earle director of Japan Society talk about it
  • Krazy! at Vancouver Art Gallery stretches visual vocabulary – May 2008 – Straight.com – comment on cross over of high art and pop culture, interviews Vancouver Art Gallery about their art mandate and how this show fits within it
  • Canadian Art – May 2008 – asks ‘is it art?’, information about artworks and several images
Click to buy catalogue of show

Click to buy catalogue of show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kuwaiti print maker Thuraya Al-Baqsami on identity, Kuwait art scene, writing – ART Interview

Posted by artradar on November 28, 2008


Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

 

KUWAITI ARTIST INTERVIEW

This is an abridged version of ART Interview’s talk with Kuwaiti print maker Thurayama Al-Baqsami who is considered one of Kuwait’s most outspoken female artists. For over three and a half decades, Thuraya Al-Baqsami has remained steadfast in her commitment to use the arts as a vehicle for intellectual transformation and social change.

Brief bio

Thuraya Al-Baqsami was born 1951 in Kuwait City. She received her academic training in Cairo, Egypt at the “College of Fine Arts” during 1972 and 1973 before moving on in 1981 to earn her Masters Degree in book illustration and design from the “Art College of Surikov” in Moscow, Russia.Thuraya Al-Baqsami received the Golden Palm Leaf award from the GCC in 1989 and in 1992. Her work on the book on the International Declaration of Human Rights, Liberte 98, was praised by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. In 1987 and in 1992 she received the first prize award from the Kuwait National Museum.

Collectors of Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout Asia, the Middle East and the United States as well as in Europe. Some of the museums that have collected Al-Baqsami’s work include; the Kuwait National Museum, the Bahrain National Museum, Modern Art Museum in Escobia-Macedonia, Contemporary Islamic Art Museum in Amman-Jordan, The British Museum – London, Bayan Palace-Amiri Diwan in Kuwait and the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing, China.

Interview abridged

Art Interview: Is there an art-scene in Kuwait?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: We have an art association, of which I have been a member since 1968. There is also the National Council of Arts. It is part of the Department of Culture that belongs to the Ministry of Information. We have quite a few artists but they tend to be female rather than male. We have painters and sculptors but I think I am the only print maker. We also have video artists and computer artists now. I think the level of art in Kuwait is okay for such a young country. But since we don’t have art colleges it is developing more slowly than in Europe or America.

Art Interview: Are there modern art museums in Kuwait?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, yes, we have a museum of Kuwaiti art. You could call it modern because it’s only 30 or 40 years old.

Art Interview: Have you always done the type of art that you are doing now?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: No, I’ve changed. I try to discover myself through my art. I started making experimental art. I built upon this step by step. I like to change every 2-3 years, not dramatically, but step by step. When I work with a media or a subject and I feel that I can’t take it further then I move on. Sometimes to loosen up I’ll work abstractly but I like people and I want to see them in my work. So much of my work centers on portrait and figurative art.

Art Interview: How has your writing affected your art?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: I have six published novels, two books for children, a book of art criticism, a book of poetry, a book about my experiences in the war in Lebanon and another one with funny, satirical articles. Writing is part of my personality. It takes up much of my time. But people know me more as an artist than as a writer. Writing is a big challenge for me and I feel it will continue to be a wonderful part of my future. I am trying very hard to establish myself as a good writer. Writing is very important for me because I have things inside of me that I cannot put into paintings. Painting is different than writing. Writing means paper, information, and feeling to me. It means good language; you can do it in a corner, on the bus or sitting in the park. Painting, on the other hand, means technique and composition to me. Sometimes I mix the two together. If I have an image in my head I’ll often I write about it and sometimes I’ll do a painting based on my writing.

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Art Interview: Would you consider them as illustration?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, they are illustrations of what I feel. Sometimes I feel that what I write down would be too difficult to tell in a painting. I live in peace with these two forms of expression: writing and painting.

Art Interview: Do you write in Arabic?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, I write in Arabic, in my own language. It is a difficult language and at the same time it is very, very rich. It is a wonderful language to write in.

Art Interview: Do you illustrate your poetry?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes. I illustrated my poetry, my short stories and the children’s stories that I wrote. My poetry is about love and women and human relations in Arabic society, which are very complicated themes.

Art Interview: Is it possible to buy these books? Have they been translated into English?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes. Yes. Arabic literature is very difficult to get in North America but Europeans can get some of my books translated into English over http://www.amazon.co.uk

Art Interview: Do you think that your choice to be an artist was a difficult choice or did it feel very easy and natural?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Becoming an artist was very natural for me. Since I was a child I knew that I wanted to be an artist. This has made life easier. One of my daughters is also like this. Since she was a kid she also wanted to be an artist. These people don’t suffer the same as some people do because they know from the beginning on what they want to be. Some people even finish university and get a job and still they don’t know what they want to be. This was my decision from the beginning: I want to be an artist.

Art Interview: What about your identity in Kuwait? Is it typical that Arabic women artists have the opportunity to exhibit internationally as frequently as you do?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: No.

Art Interview: It is unique then?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, I’m unique.

Art Interview: What is it that drives you to do this? It’s a lot of work.

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, it is a lot of work but as I told you my husband plans my schedule for me since he is my manager and I usually agree with time frames.

Art Interview: Is the relationship between you and your husband atypical for the Arab world?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: For an Arab man my husband is very unique. Usually Arabian men are very selfish and they don’t like having their wives in the spotlight. My husband is one of the rare men who shows his strength by allowing freedoms that others would not. For example, many people have the wrong idea and they ask him how he could let his wife stay alone in another country. But he trusts me and he trusts that I am doing something good for my future.

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Posted in Feminist art, Human Body, Identity art, Illustration, Interviews, Kuwaiti, Middle Eastern, Museum collectors, Profiles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »