• Looking back / Looking forward

    As we are moving forward to the next Building Bridges exhibition, which will open in Yangon on July 18th, we are here looking back at the experiences of four artists whose works were part of the Building Bridges shows in Kolkata, Delhi and Bangalore...

     

    Ashok Vish

    "The balancing act of what is the 'right thing' to do is the essential dilemma of being human. In the [Indian ancient] epics, it is the gods who negotiate this fundamental human confusion like the dilemma of choice. In my works..."

    "The most exciting aspect about the Building Bridges project was taking part in it with thirteen other artists, fro other parts of the world, while all communication took place virtually...  Interacting and exchanging ideas with so many different artists was eye opening..."

     

    Kate McElroy

    "I was playing with the position of the hands...... What are the hands saying...  some of them look like they are  reaching out, some maybe are giving, or longing, and some look like they are defending or protecting.  It captures for me the contradicting human emotions when it comes to try to connect with people..."

    "From the beginning [of the Building Bridges project] I saw the value of sharing ideas and showing the process of your thinking..... Working on this theme has opened up a lot of questions for me, and I feel I have sprouted a wealth of new thinking that will continue into my practice..."

     

    Sarasija Subramanian

    "... biodiversity exists in a 'third space', and that space is where humans and nature meet, because that relationship, and the way they mutually begin to adapt to one another, is where biodiversity is...   at the edge of cities, at the edge of civilizations, when  communication  starts to happen, that's when the changes happen, right now. That's what is urgent today, to be protecting, archiving and saving..."

    "The primary aim is to invite the viewers to perceive the work at different levels and points of entry. Since the works themselves in a way or another address the drifts and connections between science, myth, histories, and present the images that weave through...

    One of the most interesting themes that was recurrent in both the blog and the conversations was the one of home, belonging, cultural drift and displacement..."

     

    Vishal Kumaraswamy

    "I am using the cinematic elements, which are sound, visual, space, ... to sort of distort the viewer's experience, and the viewer's experience is linear, is coherent, it kind of dictates how you are supposed to behave in the cinematic space...

    "The need for an open dialogue between emerging artists has never been greater and the generosity of thought  is something that has definitely made a mark on my practice. Using toxic masculinity as an example, as well as a metaphor, for oppressive behavior and the need to conform, 'Man Up!' references some of the discussions with artists on the Building Bridges blog."

     

    Many thanks to Ashok, Kate, Sarasija and Vishal for the interviews!

    We are looking forward to seeing your works again in Yangon!

     

    Note: Interviews by the EAS Team.  Video editing by Ashok Vish.

     

  • ‘Can Art Heal?’ We asked artist and art therapist Einat Moglad | Tel Aviv, Israel

    We follow up here to a conversation on art as therapy started last Summer with the interview of Italian art therapist Paola Loomis. This time Victoria Ayala interviewed artist and art therapist Einat Moglad, who lives and works in Tel Aviv. She openly talks about her experience, her practice, the challenges as well as the rewards, with some advice for the young artists who want to pursue this profession.

     

    What led you to become an art therapist and how did you choose a specific psychological framework?

    EINAT:  I did art all my life… constantly, from when I was two years old. During high school, I was struggling with a lot of issues, and all I could do basically was make art. It was really lucky that I could study at an Art High School, so half of my week was dedicated to the arts and this really helped me to pull through. I really noticed how I was going through a sense of healing, how I felt much better, how I was going through a process and was having a weird dialogue with what was coming up on paper. I was an intuitive artist, and even more so during that time, and I just thought, well I love art. I really enjoyed learning it in the intellectual sense, but the practice was incredibly important to me, it was life saving.

     

    What it the difference you see between an artist and an art therapist?

     

    After High School in Israel you go to the military. I also volunteered for a year before my drafting and I always kind of asked myself, “well, what will I do when I get older? And what will I learn?” And somewhere I learned about art therapy and I’m like “whooooaaa”, and more than “what is it?” it was “this is a profession!” It showed me that my experience was not just a fluke or even ‘my thing’. It is a real thing, and people practice it. You can give it to others and help people go through an amazing journey using art and it sounded so amazing.

    The moment I learned about art therapy I wanted to know what I needed in order to become an art therapist. I needed a Bachelor’s degree and I could go through Art or through Psychology and wondering what will be my path I thought, “I can go through a degree without ever even doing art, just learning from textbooks, that’s not my way”, and even though Psychology is an amazing field of study, I really took Art and Art Education, which also had a lot of Psychology.  
    I enjoyed doing the art in those four years, and whatever courses I need to take. I did my Master’s degree on the way, so a little bit more courses than I had to, and close to the end of my bachelor, I just went from school to school, saying  
    “I am going to be an art therapist, I don’t know which one of you can get me there” (laughs). It was always about the arts as a matter of healing. It can’t be anything else and visual art really is…. my whole life is visual arts. It’s kind of weird but it’s quite amazing at this point, I feel very much at home with my profession.

     

    And some advice to those who want to become art therapists:

     

    Don't miss the rest of the interview with Einat. More on the methods, techniques, tools, as well as on the personal choices and experiences that make art therapy an amazing profession.

    Click here to listen to the whole interview.

     

  • ‘Can Art Heal?’ The interview with Einat Moglad continues here | Tel Aviv, Israel

    Victoria Ayala continues the conversation with artist and art therapist Einat Moglad, starting with a question on the variety of approaches to art therapy practices, and moving on to discuss the choices of mediums, the different environments, populations, and ending with a more personal question about the therapist experience with her patients...

     

    We are very grateful to Einat Moglad for her time, for such informative replies to our questions and a great insight into the art therapist profession.

     

    Special thanks to Victoria Ayala who conducted the interview!

     

    Note: The persons who appear in the images are not actual patients and have provided consent for sharing their pictures online.

  • Asmaa Elmongi in conversation with Engy Hassanen | Egypt / United Arab Emirates

    Egyptian artist and EAS contributor Asmaa Elmongi introduces here Engy Hassanen, whose artworks are filled with deeply personal symbols, mapping out emotional and mental landscapes.

     

    Closest to old caves’ paintings, in a natural raw state, Engy Hassanen creates unique, mysterious symbols and depictions that show very personal emotions and thoughts. Hassanen points out that art represents for her a survival mechanism, as it is tied deeply to her identity.

    From the exhibition "I Have No Intentions To Explain Myself" by Engy Hassanen

    Hassanen is interested in drawing human as well as animal figures, as they represent existential themes, which help her to manifest and manage an overflow of existential panic. In her most recent show, titled “I Have No Intentions to Explain Myself", she tries to be as direct as possible by depicting authentic creatures in enigmatic scenes. She is telling us that she exists and expresses her thoughts.

    Goats in Hassanen’s paintings refer to the duality of a docile, scared animal, which can also be a symbol of evil. “Goats are animals with horns, and horns are something very natural and organic. The way horns grow is the same as trees grow. That’s how I was reflecting on why I chose goats specifically, as I depicted goats in my most recent project and I am working on this again...” said the artist.

    “Goats are kind of symbols of evil, and what appears so scary and evil can actually be a creature that is very frightened.”

    As Hassanen tells us in her own words, through her paintings she expresses that what is apparent to the eye can be very different from the inner feelings or thoughts.

    From the exhibition "I Have No Intentions To Explain Myself" by Engy Hassanen

    During her studies in Art and Design at the American University in Dubai, Hassanen has learnt how to make a well finished artwork, which is actually something that she dislikes. As an act of rebellion against the clean, finished works demanded by design, she uses large, torn pieces of kraft paper on which she works directly.

    “I really enjoy this, as it gives me the freedom to do whatsoever I want on the paper...” she says.

    Hassanen, who is inspired visually by Francis Bacon and Jean-Michel Basquiat, has mentioned that she is very passionate about the visceral way Bacon creates his artworks, as the way he is not restricted or afraid in his depiction of the human figure.

    From the exhibition "I Have No Intentions To Explain Myself" by Engy Hassanen

    The young artist, yet very mature in art, is taking things step by step to develop her concept as well as the technical aspect of her work. She explores different compositions, and sometimes she takes a step back to find out what can be approved and what needs to be improved. Her living at present in the United Arab Emirates is a motivation for her to develop her art practice, as the themes to which she gives expression can be introduced here to many people of different cultures and nationalities.

     

    Engy Hassanen is a visual artist and a designer who graduated from the American University in Dubai (AUD). She received her BFA in Visual Communication and Graphic Design from the School of Art, Architecture, and Design in 2018. She has been on the Dean’s Honor list and is the winner of the “Outstanding Graphic Design Student Award”.

     

    Asmaa Elmongi is a visual artist and a former museum curator who graduated from the Painting Department in the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University, Egypt, in 2012. She is a Masters’ student at the same university. Currently she is working and living in the United Arab Emirates.
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