Opinion

Neglect toward artists

March 21, 2018
Neglect toward artists
Sahoub Baghdadi

Al-Watan newspaper

EVERY human being is born with one talent or another gifted by God. People can either develop these skills or ignore them. The neglect of talents may occur from individuals themselves, their families or the community at large. An individual's negligence will take the form of not trying to refine and develop a skill by practicing it regularly.

The family's negligence may be in the form of total disregard to the demands of a talented child or failure to provide him or her with moral and material support to implement new ideas. The community may neglect such children by not providing them with safe and secure places to practice their talent. The worst form of negligence, in my opinion, is to discourage the talented people in different ways and to put obstacles in their path of creativity.

I had full confidence that one day I would become a painter. I did not neglect this talent nor did my parents, who gave me moral and material support to develop my creativity. When I reached the fourth grade of elementary school, I decided to draw cartoon characters. Later, I focused on painting portraits. On an unforgettable day I went with my parents — God may protect them — to buy a box of high quality pencils, which my father offered me as a reward for my excellent performance in school.

When we asked the salesman at the stationery about the pens he asked me, "Is it for you?" I answered in the affirmative. He then said: "O Baba, you are too small to use these pens, you won't know how to use them."

Then he took out another box of color pencils, and said, "Look at this, it's very good and you will definitely love it!"

"No, it's very bad," I told the salesman in angry tone.

I was upset with him even though I knew he wanted to help me and took my hand to color a picture like he did with other children. Thank God, my father trusted me and bought the color pencils of my choice.

After reaching home holding that treasure box, I began drawing a portrait. It took several hours for me to complete one. I stayed up all night without sleep to prove that I am capable of using those pencils. The result was amazing.

Dear reader, you may think the attempt to destroy my talents ended at that stationery store. Unfortunately, I had to face many more obstacles. I took that portrait to the art teacher at school, who used to commend my talents. I showed her my work during the break. She said to me: "Beautiful drawing". But she did not hide her suspicion that my sister had done it.

I told the teacher that I didn't have sister and myself I drew it. But her answer was more depressing. She said: "Don't lie to me."

The teacher's words made me cry the whole day. I have been repeatedly summoned to the office of the school manager to give a written undertaking that I would not paint anything outside the period for arts, especially portraits.

During that period I heard many sermons from teachers, who advised me not to draw portraits that imitate the creation of God because if I did, I would end up in hell. Does a child know his or her drawings would take them to the hell fire? Why do they always mention the hell but not the paradise even once?

I was going through an internal conflict after people started praising me for my good scores in science subjects. They were the same people who blamed me for practicing my hobby. When I reached university I left art once and for all and turned all my energy to writing in a desperate attempt to put an end to prejudices and all these unnecessary sermonizing. When I recall those events, I do not feel miserable because our society has reached the height of awakening.

I have forgotten my wounds from that period, which carried a lot of contradictions and anxieties for everyone, especially artists including actors, singers, painters and photographers. We are now in a golden era of creativity with the formation of the Entertainment Authority, which gives top priority to arts. Every artist should make use of this opportunity to develop his/her talent.


March 21, 2018
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