Most of us become victims of sensationalism when it comes to knowing the stories of people who come from war ravaged countries. We end up labeling people and issues that concerns them in bigger brackets and generalize them. Therefore, we at Guts For Change are making a conscious effort to tell inspiring stories of people who come from conflict zones with a broader perspective. The attempt is to learn from these inspiring people who with their tremendous work have been able to prove that however challenging an environment is, good work and perseverance always bears fruit.
Today, we bring you a conversation we had with Malina Suliman. Malina Suliman is one of the few artists from Afghanistan whose powerful artwork has been able to open the various layers of emotions that wraps the society. Malina mostly projects her thoughts and ideas through paintings, Street art ,performance and sculptors or installations. She studied Fine Art in Pakistan and is currently pursuing her Masters at Dutch art Institute in Netherlands. Her artwork has been gaining appreciation across countries as she portrays the contemporary issues of our times. Below you can read our conversation:
1.What inspired you to become an artist?Can you tell us how your journey of being an artist began?
Malina:Being an artist or practising as an artist, its something that I have had a passion and interest in since childhood. Art is something that instinctively draws me rather than the other way round. Therefore, art for me is something that I can feel in myself since childhood. The content and the form of my art is determined by my social situation and general social and political environment in which I find my self in.
2. What are the most common mediums you use in your installations?
Malina :At the moment my works involves various mediums and art forms such as: performance, conceptual, video art, voice records , installation and graffiti. it depends on situation and environment then I select what is fit to practice.
3. What kind of stories mostly inspire your work?
Malina: Globalization is the greatest non-fiction that inspires me the most. More specifically, it is the global restructuring in terms of global economy, political organizations, disappearing social and humans right, and many related issues and themes that unfold right before our eyes.
4. What do you think of opportunities available for Afghan artists?
Malina: I feel that for Afghan Artists the opportunities are very low or non-existent, especially for Afghan women. In some large cities there may be a gallery for the entire population. In many instances there are no gallaries or institution that can attract, encourage, sustain current and future artists. Therefore, the opportunities to show case your art work is virtually non-existent. So what we have today in Afghanistan are private foundations with meagre resources that are attempting to support Afghan Artist. Also many artist lack the funding and resources nor access to prestigious international organization or contemporary museums to develop concept and show case their talent. They say internet is a leveler, yet even here most artist are disadvantaged by the slowness and cost of access to internet. Finally access to mass media is impossible, most are interested in sensational news such as Taliban, war on terrorism etc.
5. Can you tell us about any of your favorite artwork?
Malina: One of my new work that is called Living Art Piece its going on at Van Abbe museum, its a conceptual art work based on a contract and letter performance and videos. It’s about the museum capturing moments of the “Living Art” as a novel concept. Giving back value to the human and the value of living art piece is not determined by economics but a value system based on emotions, histories and relationships. Creating relation between the museum and communities, creating a space for dialogues between the museum and public.