What comes to your mind when you first see a picture of a chair, regardless how it looks and what colour or shape it reflects! When you first look at a painting, your eyes often deceive you. Your eyes can only take you so far in terms of the appearance of something. Though the eyes value the beauty of a painting or a sight much more than the mind and heart. It’s the eyes that first catches charm and prettiness of objects and people too.
However, still for untrained eyes, a painting is a painting; they don’t see the multiple layers behind the gentle hit of a brush on a canvas or a piece of paper. The eyes don’t necessarily see the hidden meaning and theme, which an artist is trying to mirror in his piece of art. Take these mystical illusive paintings by Halima al Balushi for example. We see drawings of different chairs; each with certain patterns of lines and shapes, reflecting various settings.
A chair is a chair as some might simply think of, however to Halima every chair narrates a story like no other. The colours, looks and feel, setting and patterns all together speak of one story and convey a unified message as the artist pointed out. However, the chance is also given to the spectators to interpret the story behind every chair painting as not every chair means a throne! They all look alike as chairs, but not all chairs are the same in terms of the purpose they serve.
Possibly, each painting of her communicates a diverse story or theme behind it. In fact, there is much more concept of thought to these paintings than what we think. This is where the similarity with philosophy comes in, so are the differently sketched chairs artworks that we are looking at here. Actually, she is connecting philosophy, which she studied over the years with her creative drawing talent. Her philosophy of life is being inspiringly narrated in separate stories of each piece of art.
Halima al Balushi is a philosophy graduate from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in 1994. As a distinguished talented artist, she has always been inspired by philosophy, which makes her artworks mysteriously unique, mesmerising and thought-provoking. “Art is just an inspiring branch of philosophy; both are expressive crafts. My artworks always serve as an opportunity to better help others understand their place within philosophy and discover different ways of life as well”, Halima expressed.
Though Halima was born as a talented artist who started sketching since childhood and school age throughout years of undergraduation at SQU, she stopped practice since 1997 for almost 15 years. Here personal life has taken much of her time and effort all these years. However, she resumed back in 2013 in full swing, thriving the arts march and inspiring other young artists.
All these years since she first picked up a brush, she made her ways to be a skillful artist, participating in different local and regional arts exhibition and competing with other artists. Over the past 9 years since she came on track, Halima al Balushi produced over 100 pieces of arts, reflecting her passion of art as a way of life. To serve the arts and artists, she recently started conducting weekly art session called “Chair & Lamp”, training participants and art enthusiasts on philosophical art, and could be approached (insta @halima_art).
Out of her passion of philosophy, Halima believes that an artist is a philosopher expressing thoughts and ideas in hopes of public reaction. A philosopher does just the same thing as s/he tries to address deep questions that can make the life of the average person make more sense. The artistic idea of a painter is the same as the philosophical question of the philosopher. They are both working on canvas; one strokes the brush, the other lets the pen flow.
Commenting on her experience with art and philosophy, Halima stressed, “I believe art and philosophy are synonyms in their creation. To me, thinking and expecting ideas to come out with a single grain of wisdom is art. In fact, art has a life of its own; it is a creation of the mind. The colours, patterns and details of everything surrounding us tells a story and inspires an artist, a writer, philosopher, a poet or someone else. Philosophy tries to figure out how we can better live and how we can navigate life with all its challenges, blessings and opportunities that people come across and experience every now and then”.
To interpret a work of art is to go beyond imagination. One has to try exploring the different stories, messages and concepts of paintings. Looking at a painting should be similar to reading a novel, where creativity, imagination and focus are required all time. As well, one has to maintain an intersection of philosophy and art in mind whenever observing a piece of art.