Qais Al Sindy: Creativity in a Time of Crisis
How has this pandemic affected you and your creative output? How are you adapting to the new realities?
The pandemic has two contrasting affects that have impacted on my art. The good part is that staying home has provided more time to create art. The pandemic has also provided unique inspiration by opening the doors of my imagination, to contemplate the universe and travel inside the human-self. The negative part is that I have lost some of my motivation. With anxiety and uneasiness, and with the pandemic’s progression, it has become increasingly difficult to focus on my own work, especially when I think that the virus has affected my source of income. In such a challenging time, we look out our windows, toward a future whose horizon eludes us due to the darkness of the unidentified present - waiting for the dove carrying an olive branch, to announce the flood’s receding.
Please share any insights you have learned from this “lock-down/self-isolation”? Also, is there a special role you feel artists can play in response to the pandemic?
I think that art in general is the most vital method to convey a message. Art has a greater influence on people, even than politician’s speeches during this crucial time. That is why art created due to this current condition may carry a message of hope and good to people, as opposed to simply words and promises. And as the breakdown of our normal structures of security has left a vacuum, it is a good opportunity to fill that space with creativity.
How do you think this will affect artists, the art world and how people interact with art? How do you feel this crisis might reshape our societies in general?
I imagine that the most important thing to think about is how can we prepare for the post-coronavirus era? Everything around us will be reshaped accordingly. I believe strongly that this virus has united us as human beings, showing us that we really are not different than each other, and that we need to start accepting each other and loving each other. Art is the great vehicle to transport such ideas, and the artists have a renewed responsibility to communicate these ideas effectively.
Qais Al Sindy was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1967 and has a BSc degree in Engineering (1989) as well as a BFA (2000) and an MFA (2004) from the Academy of Fine Arts at Baghdad University. In Amman, Jordan, where he lived for four years, Qais taught "Art in Architectural Engineering" at the University of Applied Science. Beginning with his first major exhibition titled “Letters Don’t Burn,” which was about the burning of the Iraqi library, he has exhibited around the world on themes related to humanity, culture and civilization, winning numerous distinguished awards. Qais is of Chaldean Christian heritage and now lives in San Diego, California. He is one of the participating artists in CARAVAN’s “Abraham: Out of One, Many” exhibition.