Fadwa Al Qasem
I Am what i art
Confessions. Art Journaling. Art. Writing. Poetry. Play. And everything life in between.
Who Do I Think I Am?
I like to introduce myself as an author and an artist, but that's only because these are words I think other people understand and can directly associate with images I like for myself. This does not mean I don't believe in myself as an author or artist, I just believe more that these are the vehicles I use to be fully aware and fully present in my life. They are the tools that allow me to taste beauty, enjoy beauty, perhaps even become beauty. They allow me to see more, to love more, to forgive more. But I wonder if, in introducing myself this way, I am not limiting and confining myself to these two words and whatever images they conjure up?
Who Do I Think I Am?
A huge rainbow with a larger than life spectrum of colors? Maybe. I just like the romantic sound of that. I am a woman, and just being woman comes with so many meanings of being. I am a mother, a daughter, a wife. Still, these are simply word expressions of me in relation to others. I am Fadwa. I could have easily been Salwa or John. I am Palestinian, white? Didn't choose either. Muslim? Not really.
Who Do I Think I Am?
I am nothing alone and part of everything together. I am a small grain of sand that gathers close to other grains of sand to become this earth. I am a contradiction; I make a difference and I don't. I bring joy, but I may have also brought tears. I spend too much time trying to know myself when the self is the hardest thing to know. I will become a part of this earth, but the earth will be here whether or not I am part of it.
Who Do I Think I Am?
I don't know. Beyond the adjectives, beyond the references, the labels, the titles, the names; I don't know. Do I need to know? To think I am? Something? Anything? It occurs to me that maybe this is what true freedom is; the not knowing, the being nothing. In this freedom, we no longer need to prove anything, defend anything, claim anything. And we are free from suffering and totally incapable of causing the suffering of others.
What do you think?
I'm too afraid to talk about my kids too much. Mostly because it's just so unbearable to have so much of your emotions, your thoughts, your soul roaming around the earth so far away from you. It's like having your heart wrenched out, like being that huffing, puffing oxygen challenged smoker every morning and every night. Especially every night. It's like a huge chuck of your life got amputated when your kids moved out.
The echo in the house is so much louder now. The fridge is always full. In the heavy silence I still hear their footsteps and their endless questions.
The sane and logical mum in me wants her children to be strong, independent, happy, able to cope with whatever life throws at them. The little, emotional mummy in me want to kiss and heal, hug away sorrows, tell ridiculous stories made up on the spur of the moment about how I knew Genghis Khan and tried to dissuade him from pillaging as we rode on big horses with long flowing manes. To be able to make my babies laugh and feel good about themselves and their lives. Faults and all.
The emotional mummy finds it so hard to let go. And so you will find her at night, late at night, crying at some stupid advert because it reminded her of one of her children. Or crying because one of them is feeling bad or is sick and she can do nothing at all to make it all go away.
I thought that being a working woman would save me some pain. I thought my hobbies would keep me distracted. Help me focus on the bigger picture. In the end, as it turns out, these things help only temporarily.
Despite the books, the exhibitions, the career, the truth is that I am a fully fledged, soft-hearted, air-headed mummy. My boys are what matter most to me. What I am denying is that being a mummy is sometimes so overwhelmingly painful.
Because writing is like dancing and I really love dancing. And because pages from my art journal sing when I fill them with words, marks and color.
I tried to keep things separate.
The contradiction that is life.
I am happy, so happy on a personal, very micro-level. I am so sad and angry on the macro-level. Walking this precarious tightrope between suicidal anger and euphorical, delerious happiness.
This is the world I live in. Fully aware how lucky I am that the latter always wins.
لماذا أكتب؟ لأن الكتابة كالرقص وأنا أعشق الرقص. ولأن الورق يغني حين يعج بالحروف والألوان..أمشي السراط غير المستقيم الذي يربط فيما بين السعادة التي هي حياتي الشخصية والتعاسة والبؤوس التي هي هذه الحياة.. وأعرف جيداً كم أنا محظوظة أن السعادة، في نهاية كل مطاف، هي التي تستقبلني
We reach this age; say 50 something. We think "Yay! I have age so I must have wisdom, too. There's nothing I don't know about."
We sit on our big fat ass and feel so very complacent and smug. We've spent half a century on this earth, but we believe it's more like five hundred centuries.
We know everything about everything there is to know. And if we don't, we have a story that will either explain it or shut you up because we are older than you and you should listen to us.
But how much we lose when we don't listen to people younger than us? I'm not talking simply technology here. The kind that makes us go silent when that little guy of ten asks us "What's gravity anyway?" And we just sit there.
We say nothing.
We look far into the distance - as if thinking, but what we're really thinking is that we have no clue.
Meanwhile, the little guy next to us pulls out his smart phone, googles "what does gravity really mean" and gets about 137,000,000 results in 0.54 seconds.
No. I'm not talking technology.
I'm talking of the wonderful young men and women who I've been meeting recently and who are opening my mind to seeing the world from a new perspective. Ten, fifteen, twenty years my junior, working on amazing projects. Giving me new insights. Exapnding on thoughts I may have entertained but stopped delving into.
They shake my status quos. Those things that I, despite all my efforts, have taken for granted.
They take me from an attitude of "they're still young, they'll learn soon enough" to an attitude of "teach me; I want to learn.".
They magically open paths least trodden right before my eyes, and I'm just hoping I'm still fit enough to follow in their footsteps.
The hardest part is realizing that no matter how optimistic you are, pessimists are also "right". And then coming to terms that there are no absolutes. Right. Wrong. Good. Bad. Even with the toughest issues, some people will still feel justified for their actions or beliefs. Words often lose their meaning in the face of actions.
Light shining through anything is an instant mood changer with a fast spreading ripple effect. Dent in the world? Start with your smaller world; many small dents, one next to the other, small enough so you can be persistent. So you can continue being persistent.
Sometimes you can even love the dark (for a while) because you know it's the biggest reason why light is so powerful.
Dear Juicy Creative Spirits,
If you'd love to receive inspirations and know what's new for you here
to keep your mouth watering and heart singing,
then please send me your email. I promise not to give out your emails, spam you, or hard sell you anything. xxx
Fadwa Al Qasem
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(c) Copyright Fadwa Al Qasem 2015