WHAT IS A DUET BUT A LOVE SONG? FACT’S ANUSHAY TAIMUR KHAN GOT A TAD BIT EMOTIONAL AS SHE SAT DOWN WITH HANADY AL-OTHMAN TO TALK ABOUT HER FIRST MOTHERSON ART EXHIBITION WITH AHMED AL JUFAIRI. A SHOWCASE THAT REFLECTS DEVOTION AND AFFECTION BETWEEN THE PAIR, ILLUSTRATING THE PUREST FORM OF LOVE BETWEEN A PARENT AND CHILD WHEN THEY SHARE A CREATIVE PASSION…

Hi Hanady! Congratulations on your first exhibition! How was it for you to start this journey in the art world with your son?
I didn’t expect this reaction from everyone, honestly. Everyone was so encouraging – I think I feel this way because this is my first time exhibiting. It was Ahmed who was pushing me since the past few years. I know he inherited this gift from me but, he was able to study and learn the rules of art. Yet, he taught me that there are no rules for art; it’s just what you feel. You just have to take it out and put it on a canvas. He was the one who set the date, he got me everything and asked me to go ahead. I loved the concept that came forth of a mother and a son doing something together – I did it to encourage him.

How did you come to choose the concept of this exhibition?
2019 is the cultural year between Qatar and India. Because we have a talent in the family and my daughters also love Indian inspired designs, we just wanted to do something to join the celebration. When Ahmed told me that it will be about the cultural year, it was difficult to focus on one concept and create different pieces. India, for me, is a whole world of art, culture and history. I couldn’t imagine putting it into two or three canvases. I focused on what I loved about India; Holi. It was all about colours for me. I started my journey at a mosque from India and Doha, and then, I went ahead with experimenting with colours.

How was the reaction when you first told everyone about this exhibition?
I started working on this exhibition without showing anyone my work. My mother was so surprised, my father was so happy and everyone was so supportive! Even the comments on my Instagram were encouraging that it makes me think; where have I been?

Why didn’t you consider having an exhibition before?
When I was born, I think I was born with a pencil in my hand. I like to draw everywhere; I always have a pen or a pencil near me and I always doodle. By the time I got into university, there were no options for an art degree. The first time that art was introduced as a subject, I was already into my field and I didn’t want to waste those two years and begin again. So, art was just a hobby for me. Then, life happened. I got married, I had kids. Ahmed, being my second child, always followed whatever I did. Whatever I did on a piece of paper, he did the same thing. All I did at that time was to encourage him to go for arts. Even though I was told that there is no future in this industry and that engineering and business dominate the ‘real world’ but, I stood my ground and wanted the dream of my life come true through him. When he pushed me to do this exhibition, I went ahead with it because I did it for him, not myself. I still say that my art has mistakes that his canvases never have because I am a beginner. It’s still never too late.

What other plans do you have for yourself as an artist?
I have a lot of things in my mind. But I feel like I need a break to get it all penned down and go in the right direction. I don’t want to begin at the top and then fail. I want to make sure I sustain the level of excellence I can offer and I just want to keep doing better. Now, my son is pushing me for something else! I keep telling him I’m too old! I have grandkids! He just doesn’t listen and simply asks me to take care of myself and wants me to pursue this line now: ‘Let your dream come true’, he says.

What is your message for women who want to pursue a career in arts?
It is never too late for anything. After my daughters are married, Ahmed has graduated, and my youngest is busy with his university life, I think this is the time that I should give to myself. That’s what Ahmed told me, ‘Now, it’s your turn to live your life. You lived your whole life for us and this is the first step of your new life.’ I hope I keep painting and don’t stop after this. ✤