Rawan Al Adwan: Creativity in a Time of Crisis
How has this pandemic affected you and your creative output? How are you adapting to the new realities?
Art is a great tool that allows me to reflect and indirectly share my views without barriers. The confinement period allowed me to contemplate, and more deeply observe the beauty around me. It has added richness to my paintings in terms of colour, content and composition. I grew up in Jordan, a land with a plethora of ancient art, including Ain Gazal, where some of the earliest statues in human history are found, to the ancient Safaitic rock art, which I reflect on it on my own artwork.
While the lockdown gave me the chance to create new work, it has reminded me that the smaller things in life are actually the biggest things in life - spending more time with my children, home schooling them and enjoying long walks and talks. It was also a time where I focused more on staying in touch with family members in other countries. Overall, it has been a good time to “recharge our batteries”. However, my life as an artist didn’t change drastically as I continued to paint. This experience has taught us all to be patient and to appreciate the value of freedom. It has also made us humbler, as it has reminded us that we are visitors on this planet and that while the planet doesn’t need us, we need it!
Please share any insights you have learned from this “lockdown/self-isolation”? Also, is there a special role you feel artists can play in response to the pandemic?
Artists are storytellers, and their artwork reflects the feelings and emotions that exist during any great event, be they positive or negative. Through our artwork we can engender positive feelings at this time, such as when depicting the great work done by our front-line health workers. We also allow people to reflect on the great loss so many have suffered in our world. By painting, we are capturing a moment in time and telling a story. I do want people to remember the old saying: “Prevention is better than a cure,” as we all need to take better care of our health and our planet.
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?
On the negative side, as artists, we lost the opportunity to interact directly with our patrons and to display to the public our new work in galleries. We have not been able to sell our art directly. However, on a positive side, the emergence of new technology allows us to share our work through virtual tours, and interact with interested parties through video applications and social media.
This crisis will initially bear quite negative consequences, both psychologically and economically, with many people suffering. At the same time, my hope is that in the post-Covid-19 era, we will have an increased empathy towards others, and that many more will value good health and relationships above material goods. As humanity continues to progress, it will continue to seek and look for unique pieces of art that reflect some of our greatest battles, including the battle with Coronavirus in 2020.
Rawan Al Adwan was born and raised in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and currently resides in Switzerland. Her art draws its inspiration from her Arab heritage and Bedouin roots. She obtained a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts at Yarmouk University and held solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the Middle East, Europe and North America. Working mostly in the mediums of ceramics, painting and mixed media, she was honored in 2019 by the Ministry of Culture in Jordon for her artwork that contemporizes the ancient Safaitic rock art that exists in Jordan, ancient inscriptions and drawings on basalt volcanic stones created by the Safawi people that inhabited the desert in 500 BCE.