“Even from home, you can create a beautiful world in your mind, The beauty of art comes from within, and Covid helped me realize that.”
Mohammad Nael, 17, is one of those who have reached Phase 2 of the selection process. He took his inspiration from Japanese anime. His use of oni masks, which represent demons and played a prominent role in Japanese mythology and folklore, lends an obvious darkness to his work. Death is also apparent, along with themes of weaponry such as Japanese swords and poignant female portraiture.
“The current pandemic is making people scared of death and suffering since it’s a virus,” Nael explains, “and in the Japanese culture people who wore the oni masks were feared by the public,” believed to be demons. “The oni mask usually resembles death and suffering and punishment, so I think it’s similar in a way,” he says.
Nael has been prolific during the pandemic, producing 60 or 70 paintings and drawings since March. “Even from home, you can create a beautiful world in your mind,” he says. “The beauty of art comes from within, and Covid helped me realize that.”
Mohammad Ahmad Al Gahaf, 18, says art is bound to reflect reality. “There’s no doubt we live in strange times, and to me, strange times resulted in strange artworks,” he says. “Art represents the imagination,” he adds. “I hope that artists who feel like the world is so different and that they can’t adapt to it, can get inspired to look deeper within themselves. I’m sure they will find beautiful worlds to portray.”