Painting the pains of children caused by war

Even at first glance, the art either repulse or nauseate. It was after all tackling a serious topic and it put front and centre the many atrocities experienced by children from around the world because of war. For many artists around the world, art should carry a message and trigger emotions otherwise, the art would have been pointless. Twenty-four-year-old Omani artist Majda al Gadedi is no different but despite Oman being a peaceful country, she can’t help to be affected by the things that are happening to children in different parts of the world. With her brushes serving as her weapon, she went to work to convey her message and disappointment.
The result was seven paintings collectively she referred to as “Baby F***” that detailed the reality of wars and how it affects children. Through her work, Majda wanted people to know of the deep impact of war and how it’s the children who suffered the most.
Using wood and oil as her medium, her artworks were dominated with greenish hue communicating the decay that seeps through.
Majda explained that the green gradient that dominated the scenes was to show “the sense of gloominess of the imaginary scene.”
“It also communicates the atmosphere of war and its impact to the soul,” she said.
Watching the painting, one will almost believe that Majda herself has been to a dark place and came out alive to tell her story.
In one of the paintings, hands tied with strings hang alongside knives and the babies heart. The baby, a picture of pain and suffering, has stitches on his head and face while baby bottles were filled with blood. What appears to be a woman, perhaps the mother of the child, trying to force the child up from drowning while she herself has sunken to the bottom.
Perhaps, needing to be seen as a series with each painting a separate yet somehow connected story, it is followed by another painting of a baby barely out of the water while a giant mechanical foot is trying to step on it.
“These [paintings] were painted in naive art or childish art form. They weren’t drawn or rely on fixed foundations but depended on absolute spontaneity as they were made,” Majda explained.
Majda added that the techniques she used is keeping up with postmodern art trends that to her, is appropriate especially that she is drawing fictional scenes in dramatic fantasy style.
Majda shared that seeing the babies in these different forms of suffering will make everyone relate well especially the mothers.
As she said, these are mirrors of reality. For many of those fleeing their countries because of war, the dramatic scene of a mother trying to raise her child from the water while she herself is drowning is definitely happening.
“They are painful and scary to watch but the story they are telling are scarier because they are actually happening to millions from around the world,” she said.
The collection took Majda almost two months to complete and she likes to think of it as a “combination of children’s literature (by introducing the story) and a visual art (through the oil painting).
The artworks were presented during the special exhibit conducted by the Department of Art Education at Sultan Qaboos University for students from the 2012 batch.

RUQAYA AL KINDI