Webster Athens Student in International Art Exhibit Highlighting Perspectives from Migrants to Europe

May. 23, 2019

Webster Athens Student in International Art Exhibit
Sally Talal

Webster University Athens senior English Literature and Psychology student Sally Talal is participating in an international art exhibit through Perspectives Art, an Athens-based group of artists from the refugee, local and international community who come together to promote integration and solidarity through their work and community-based activities.

Perspectives Art, in cooperation with the London-based magazine, Shado, is presenting the three-city touring exhibition titled, “Creative Connections – Linking Cities through Art.”   

Talented artists from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia, and Greece are participating, including Talal, who is from Iraq. The exhibit opened in Athens May 11 and 12 and will then travel to London and finally Amsterdam.

The aim of the exhibitions is to publicize and promote the artists’ work to a wide, international audience, highlighting issues for those who have been through migration to Europe, and providing a space for each artist to present their own perspective. The cities of Athens, London and Amsterdam were selected to host the artwork and will connect in discussions around art, community and inclusion. 

Webster Athens caught up with Sally and asked about her artwork.

Creative Connections
"Creative Connections -- Linking Cities through Art"

When did you begin painting?

By nature, I have an artistic desire to create and I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment that nourished that artistic side. I remember as a child making my presents, building houses out of sofa cushions or constructing a table with shelves and drawers etc. I first picked up observational drawing when I was 6 years old and fell in love with painting later on. I began to pursue my art more seriously in the year of 2012, when I sold my very first commissioned piece.

What type of artwork do you do?

I love to experiment and develop new techniques with different mediums and consequently, my work varies from piece to piece. Overall, my art revolves around textural Abstract Expressionism. It is interesting for me to see once the creation is complete, how much my emotions and unconscious has been relayed onto the painting, from a psychological standpoint.

Talal painting

How does your artwork reflect you? How do you feel about your work?

Art has continuously been a positive influence in my life. It has helped guide me understand my own identity and self-concept, allowing all of my emotions within to be stroked onto the blank canvas before me and echo the inner voice of my soul, which is quite cathartic.

Art carries an immense power to trigger change. Every creation is a silent message to the universe. A silence where minds enter another utopian world in which all external ‘powers’ are muted. I believe that every being is born an artist, but as Picasso said, “the trick is to remain one”! This means that if each individual allows his/her creativity to manifest itself, we could have a world where our mind, body and soul can co-exist in an equal balance of synchronization.

What inspires you to create your work?

I find inspiration in all of my surroundings or from within. Nature, people, strangers, emotions, a conversation, meditation... The most unexpected or simplest moment can trigger an uncontrollable spark of inspiration within me.

Are there any pieces that you are particularly fond of?

All of my pieces are a part of me and so I am fond of them all. Nonetheless, I identify with each one of them on different levels. That is due to the different experiences I was going through whist creating the piece. Selling my work definitely evokes a bittersweet feeling as I have to let go of the painting, but I also feel pure bliss knowing that it will be appreciated in someone else’s home. That my creation spoke to them and it will be a part of their daily lives.

Talal 

Where have you displayed your work? And when did you begin showing your work?

I have displayed my work in two group exhibitions, so far. First in Victoria Square Project and the second at Vryssaki Café in corporation with Shado Magazine London and Perspectives Art group. This is an ongoing 3 city exhibition. The art works are currently in London and will be exhibited on 1st of June. Later that month, the exhibition will move to Amsterdam.

The aim of the exhibition is to switch up perspectives on those who have been through migration to Europe and to provide a space for each artist to take control of their own narrative – Connecting cities through Art.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a commissioned Abstract painting. I am excited to see how the piece will turn out as the client described his vision for the painting to have ‘Red, vibrant passion’. I am using a Fluid Art Technique in order to allow the painting to evoke movements of uncontrolled passion.

What are your future plans?

At the gallery

I feel that I am walking on the right path thus far. I would love to continue be surrounded by inspiring individuals, bring creativity in every aspect of my life and partake in more exhibitions. The process and people you meet along the way is truly enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.

Something that has been on my mind for a while is to create a new art series that links my studies of literature and psychology along with my art.

My aim is to reach out to people through my work, to send a message and make an impact.

How does it feel to participate in this international art exhibit? What do you think about the message the exhibit is trying to portray?

The mere fact that there is a whole exhibition dedicated on the issue of migration makes me feel proud and grateful to be part of it. It means there are those who care about the struggles of migrants and creates an inclusive feeling of belonging. I myself left Iraq with my immediate family in the hope of having a better standard level of living and seize opportunities that help me grow.

This exhibition is yet another opportunity and it is wonderful that it gives me a platform where my voice is heard through my passion. I believe the message of the exhibition is to give emerging artists a platform to narrate their unique story… every story is different because every individual is different too, so the way they perceived perhaps the same experience will not be the same.

Where can one see your artwork, website, photos?

All of my artwork is available on my Instagram account: @Sally_tal. People can also contact me via e-mail: sally_talal@hotmail.com. I have also been contacted for commissioned pieces or to purchase one of my works via word of mouth, acquaintances or through my Instagram page.

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