“Give her an art book and she’d live, carefree, in a cave for days.”
A Syrian born in Tokyo, Rawaa Talass has the heart of a philosopher and wanderer; you can tell that much within 10 minutes of browsing her Facebook profile.
With a background in Mass Communication and History, Rawaa got wrapped up in the fiery arms of art and fell in love when she saw Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a pearl earring’ in The Hague. Another defining moment was her visit to the Prado Museum in Madrid that encouraged her to learn more about the world of art and museums.
The love affair has only grown more intense and intimate since that chance meeting in 2011. In 2013, she made the leap headfirst into the art world by founding aRTproject.
aRTproject, a Facebook blog, is dedicated to art appreciation, the history of art and photography, and women in art and features fun art tid bits and scintillating sneak peeks into the lives of artists, curators and art historians from around the world.
With the shared objective of spreading the infectious love for art we harbor, B-Change has partnered with aRTproject to give you a blend of daily art content: interviews, daily ‘Art Of The Day’ posts and more. Look out.
Currently living the dream, she is pursuing her Master’s in Art History at the University of Kent in Paris.
B-Change caught up with the beautiful [inside and out] lady for an interview with some very interesting answers to some curious questions:
1. If you were to have an art party, and could only call 5 guests [dead or alive], who would they be and why?
Almost impossible to choose! But, as of now, I’d like to invite John Singer Sargent, Johannes Vermeer, Camille Claudel (I would have also liked invite her partner, the genius Auguste Rodin, but that might lead to tension in the room), Frida Kahlo, and Tracey Emin.
It would be an odd mix, but I love their work.
2. Why focus on women in art?
When I was in university, I took some classes about women studies, such as women in film, women in politics. In my history minor, I was always interested in learning about women’s important contribution to various fields of society.
On aRTproject, I made it a priority to post about the historical and contemporary role of women in art, from literature to painting.
Historically, women have been incredible avant-garde thinkers, painters, sculptors, poets, photographers, teachers, writers, art collectors, revolutionaries, innovators, and heroes. I hope we can remember and honour that.
Take a look at Rawaa’s extensive collection of women in art photographs here [They all have fascinating and inspiring stories].
Most importantly, I felt that in recent years, there has been this surge of blogs and websites that deal solely with a woman’s exterior. It’s all become about the outside look – fashion, make-up, shoes and so on and personally, without meaning to offend any fashion bloggers, I think it can be a shallow and very limited way of viewing and understanding women.
Women, as history shows us, are much more captivating and inspiring than what they wear or the size of their waistline. I’m not saying a woman should be sloppy, but a woman has much more to offer than her appearances, she has her mind, intellect, innovation, ambitions, and thoughts about the world and its affairs.
3. What do you think of the UAE youth’s current level of knowledge about art?
I’m happy to see that there is a young and blooming art scene in the UAE – you have the contemporary art galleries in Dubai, the various museums and biennale in Sharjah, and the upcoming major museums in Abu Dhabi that will hopefully encourage people to visit and learn more about art and history. The UAE has not typically harboured a museum-going culture, but that will probably change with the new museums and nurturing art scene in the country.
I personally believe there is a limitation of young people’s knowledge of art history, and perhaps this has to do with education and lack of interest in visiting museums.
Look out for aRTproject content on B-Change: interviews, ‘Art Of The Day’ posts and more.