"I realize that many people might never read what I write in a painting, but I like knowing that if they do, they might find something interesting, like the text in one painting describes how to raise caterpillars, another describes aphrodisiac recipes from around the world. When I’m working on a painting about something deeply personal like family secrets, the text happens organically – I’m feeling, thinking, painting."
Countries in the Middle East vary a lot. for instance, there is a great difference between Dubai and Afghanistan, but professional women are oppressed all over the world in many ways. I myself have faced a lot of obstacles being a woman artist, yet I knew that women can do everything men could do. The more men have told me, "you can't do that," the more I had to prove them wrong. I had to hold it up for all women who looked up to me to be brave and courageous. We defend our artworks with our fists and our crazy courage. When you have guys that disrespect you, you're gonna have to teach them a lesson, otherwise they are going to keep walking all over you. I'm sorry, but that's the way it is out there; it's not easy. But this also reflects views of the art world in general.
But there is another type of book banning – a banning by omission, rather than commission – that goes unnoticed. Marketplace censorship, the de facto banning of books by independent presses that don’t have advertising budgets, or distribution deals with one of the few book distributors who have a virtual monopoly on distributing to bookstores and libraries.
Many American friends might be even surprised to know that despite a big public outcry about US drone attacks and high civilian casualties, a large number of Pakistanis don't blame or hate the American people. They understand that Americans are as much victims of this present 'war' as we are. This understanding, this acceptance, is born of the deep spirituality permeating most of our society.
This was no student vandal...much worse. This was the work of one of my colleagues.
Freedom of expression. It's a basic human right guaranteed to each and every one of us by the United Nations. But does this freedom in reality truly exist?
Just as every element in a dream can be seen as reflecting a different aspect of the dreamer, so also Kelly Rees feels that fantasies can work the same way.
Political philosopher, Hannah Arendt defined artworks as “thought things,” ideas given material form to inspire reflection and rumination. Dialog. Sometimes even discomfort. We know that art matters. But the question posed by modern philosophers such as Roger Scruton, of Oxford University, is, How do we want it to affect us?
"Honesty is dangerous. For my work to have honesty and candor: Dangerous... What we are aroused by can be very surprising... There are somethings we know that we are aroused by, and that we consider “proper” or consistent with our self image. But watch out! Surprises happen!"
"Children need their mothers. I feel lucky I lived a year with my birth mother in prison. We bonded and I know this helped better prepare me for life. The down side, the trauma of our separation, after that year together, took its toll. She had a long sentence ahead of her."
~writer, Deborah Jiang Stein