Inspired by her Moroccan and British heritage, Wadia Boutaba's paintings are colorful, vivid, and filled with deep meaning. Wadia has always loved art and says she's "still learning everyday". She got her degree in Textile Design but went back to her first passion, art. Wadia's art often symbolizes feminism and is inspired by her community and everyday society.
We had a chance to talk to Wadia about her beginning, struggles, and successes in life and here's what she had to say.
Tell me more about your beginnings and the struggles you faced balancing between two cultures…
Growing up was very confusing as I felt I had a foot in two cultures that were completely the opposite and finding balance was something that could only be learnt through life experience and could not be taught. I am still learning everyday but the only difference now is that I can make choices and it is okay to take different roads as long as you are moving forward in life. I have always had a love and connection to art. I studied art at school but went on to do a degree in Textile Design. It was only during my late 20s that I went back to art.
Where do you you usually work from?
I am now working at home. I had a studio before but for me getting ready to go out to the studio felt like I was going to a job and. I like to have my paints, sketch-books and canvases within reach so no matter when I feel the urge to paint or express myself, I can just do it at home. I have to balance being a painter, wife and mother.
What inspires you to create your art pieces?
I am inspired everyday and I have a million projects that I would love to work on. I see art as a way of expression, not just about my own personal expression but also from what I experience and observe in other peoples lives. At the moment, I am inspired by women, especially women in our culture. As a mother, I now know how rewarding and challenging it can be. As a child I remember listening to the older Moroccan women in my community and taking in the conversations they shared. Many of the women came to England to for better lives not only for themselves but to also support their loved ones back in Morocco. I get inspiration when thinking of how difficult it must have been to leave their roots behind and even though women have great strength and will, deep down they can be fragile and be carrying so much inside them. I am also inspired by the region as a whole and find many similarities in North Africa and the Middle East. In recent times, I have seen a shift in society and that women are becoming independent and equal.
What approach do you use when creating your art?
At the moment I enjoy painting though I don't believe you should be restricted to one medium in art so I am looking forward to using other ways to develop my thoughts and observations. My paintings are full of color, matching the vibrant colors of Morocco. I use color to symbolize hope. Sometimes I can plan a painting but more often than not, my work is inspired mainly by how I feel, what is going on around me, and what is happening in the world.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I am quite happy to see where this will take me. I have never had a plan to go somewhere with my work. I have enjoyed everything that has come my way. To be honest with you, if you were to tell me 10 years ago that I would be having this interview I would have laughed in disbelief. I am humbled to know that my work is collected worldwide and that people are connecting to my paintings.
I believe that it is really important to stay true to yourself and not be anyone else but yourself. My journey in art is a long one and will keep going. I am happy to witness a true uprising in North African and Middle Eastern arts and it is a great feeling to be part of it. I am not the kind of person to compete as I feel everyone has a voice and everyone should be able to speak. I enjoy the success of other artists. Witnessing the amazing achievements in the region is an amazing thing. I really am proud to be part of this movement.
For me, just having my work appreciated and talked about is a reward in itself. If I can inspire one person to think, question or indeed follow their dreams, then this is enough for me. For as long as I love what I do, I know only good things can happen.
– Fajer Al Farsi
Images courtesy of www.wadiaboutaba.com