Text: Ara Barzingi
Being a creative person is liberating but being creative in your profession requires the ability and the willingness to constantly grow with art, designs, music, fashion, literature, films, and even new technologies and politics. As well as a piece of knowledge about our pioneers and classics. It requires curiosity and the willingness to continuously learn.In my profession, as an Art Curator and Art Director, I’m aware of my responsibilities in what and who I am representing. It’s like you have a stage and you choose who you would like to perform on the stage and who and what you would like the audience to see. You also have the power to support investments in minorities and emerging artists.
For a project I curated this past fall, I made sure to create a space with diversity for the client and their co-living space. I fell in love with the photographs by the young, British artist Grant James Thomas who captures beauty and fashion in a very unique way and reflects diversity in his work in a very smooth, unforced way.
We also picked 7 pieces by the artist Tishk Barzanji who is a Kurdish artist based in London. In his illustrations, he creates a surreal world. If you follow him on Instagram you will enjoy reading his captions just as much as you enjoy the artwork. Art always educates, whether it’s the technique of the tool, the storytelling, or the philosophy.
What’s also very important to me is to bring good energy into spaces. I seek conversations with artists. Art studios are very intimate spaces. Art doesn’t always carry a message but it does carry spiritual energy. Most of the time we feel attracted to art which reflects us and speaks to us or we simply find ourselves being attracted to the artist’s energy.
Lately, I’ve been intrigued by North African and Middle Eastern artists. In the future, I’m planning to create more experiences representing this emerging, contemporary art movement. Some of my favorites are Ali Cha’aban, Hayv Kahraman, Ismail Zaidy, and Mous Lamrabat. You can clearly see the dynamics in their works and the culture they live in.
My latest project as a Creative Director is a short film called “/ləv/” which will be released in June 2020. Love covers many different layers, being in love is not just a state of feelings for a moment. It’s a journey we go through and it goes through us. For this short film, we created a visual and emotional dictionary of how love looks in expressions and gestures in its different states while having a dialogue about it with the actor and my close friend Taylor Selé. It’s an independent project which gave me the opportunity to work with some enormously talented friends and creatives. I preach to every creative: If you can’t find opportunities, create them yourself! There are endless opportunities!
The film does not have a political message at all but in these intense times, I feel even more the importance of creating an authentic representation of black men and having pure and free dialogues about their emotions and thoughts, since the image mainstream media is representing is misleading and manipulating.
For the future, I seek to curate spaces where different art genres come together, visual art, performance art, film, fashion, literature, music, and dance, just like we did with Curves & Dots at ENVSN 2019 - a show representing female artists of color with a performance by the violinist Iymaani Abdul-Hamid. I can never imagine myself not creating, as I wrote in my journal last year “I am addicted to the process of creating. Experiencing something physically growing out of thoughts and visions and being created
Grant James Thomas:@grantjamesthomas
Creative Director: Ara Barzingi
Photographer: Deniz Alaca
Stylist: Vickee Yang
Tishk Barzanji: @tishkbarzanji
Ismail Zaidy: @l4artiste
Hayv Kahraman: @hayvkahraman
Ali Cha'aban: @alichaaban
Mous Lamrabat: @mouslamrabat
Taylor Sele: @thetaylorsele
Iymaani Abdul-Hamid: @iahviola
Photographs by Grant James Thomas
By Aly Cha’aban (left) and Ismail Zaddy (right)
Creative Director: Ara Barzingi Photographer: Deniz Alaca Stylist: Vickee Yang
“Curves & Dots” for ENVSN 2019