Transcending Boundaries

Bahrain Confidential explores the mind of Geneva-based Bahraini artist,  Farah Monfaradi.

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

I usually have deadlines for client art works to be delivered. At present I have been commissioned by the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) to create a unique art piece for a charity auction, where the proceeds will aid the displaced children refugees in camps in Lebanon. A great motivator as this is a subject close to all our hearts right now.

I have no lack of motivation in my artistic career. There is always something, whether its an exciting new project or idea, or preparing for an art exhibition or meeting a deadline.

Which artwork do you most identify yourself with?

I identify myself with every piece of my art, it comes from me and is a part of me & my life experiences. I have a lot to say and love to use the power of words and texts on canvas. At the moment the piece that resonates the strongest is entitled SOLACE. It is a huge “wall” of art. It is a deeply spiritual work that unites us in our suffering. We have all suffered at some point in our lives, and this art work is about RELIEF. The words are taken from Surat Al-Inshirah where God promises us after suffering there shall be relief. It is a wall of prayer and hope. A work that transcends borders, religions, race & cultures.

What does art mean to you?

Art for me is a form of self-expression, it is my therapy, my pleasure and my compulsion! If I have something to say I need to expel it either on a canvas or in another form of media. I feel compelled to bring awareness to events around me, whether on the news, social media or in daily life, through my art. I pay homage to my middle-eastern heritage that is so deeply imbedded in me, as well as expressing my liberal European upbringing through my art.

How has technology change your artistic process?

For now, I use very little technology in my art process. I would say at most I use photoshop in my photographic works. But generally, I am “old school”, practicing paints, gels and textures on canvas; using the artistic skills of gold-leaf work (gilding); and restoring antique frames and flags for use in my art.

Can you describe your artistic process? How do you know when an artwork is finished?

In every art series the process is similar, I am affected emotionally in some way by a topic and need to create around that emotion or thought. For example, my latest series using crocodile skulls is entitled “This is not a handbag” was inspired by a scandal involving a large fashion house and their “alleged” cruelty to crocodiles in the killing process to use their skin. I try to honour these magnificent creatures in their deaths.
(No animals are harmed in the making of my art).

With the written canvases I never complete the canvas with words and always leave a space, as I feel no “story” is ever finished. With my flags in the process of solidifying the flag to create the effect of floating in the wind, I look at the way the wind “blows” on that day and when I find it pleasing I stop. My flags are unique, and the wind never blows the same way twice! There is always a danger of over-working any art piece, but for me knowing the art work is finished is aesthetic and instinctual and this applies to all my art works.