page 8 // volume four, issue two
ARTBEAT: RECLAIMING COLOUR
by Nadia Janjua
Earlier in February, I exhibited a new series of paintings entitled “The Taking & The Returning” at a one-night solo show in Washington, D.C. The series focused on a theme that explored a visceral reflection on what happens to the heart when we stop chasing the temporal world, and seek the constant one. This spiritual theme was expressed through the language of color and texture, with the occasional inclusion of English and Arabic phrases. Accordingly, the conversations amongst the crowd that night were centered on the power of color versus the power of words — whether one supersedes the other in conveying a message clearly, or if they mutually assist each other. This led me to contemplate the origins behind the heavy usage of color in my art to express concepts. As a quiet person who found her voice later on in life, I always had an active inner life full of experiences being translated into color. I would often choose to express and articulate myself through colors, rather than words. What I discovered in this process was that colors truly challenged language to encompass them — in other words, there are more sensations we feel from color, than words to describe them.
“With Me is My Lord” detail, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 20”
“Everything Else is Just A Means” detail, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 20” “The Heart is Only For God” detail, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 20”
(left) “Empty the Vessel”, Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 20” (right) “Best Laid Plans”, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36”
“The Taking & The Returning No.1”, Acrylic on Canvas, 10 x 20“
As infants, we are born with a keen sensitivity to light and color; as adults, that sensitivity dulls, unless we choose to reaffirm it. Quite often, colors become dismissed as merely cosmetic, when, in fact, colors have the potential to allow us to profoundly experience every sensation from ecstasy to despair. Within every color lays a story and an experience waiting to be unraveled. For those of you who have a tendency towards minimization of color and a preference for black and white, I implore you to add just one little stroke of color in your work or living space, and see if that doesn’t bring you some sort of healing and comfort. When we become open to it, our lives truly compel us to be moved by color.