I could not pick up a brush following the Beirut port blast

I could not pick up a brush following the Beirut port blast

Libertas, liquefied acrylics on cotton canvas, by Monica Moughabghab

Arleb by Nabad interviews self-taught artist Monica Moughabghab, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Economics while having a deep passion for arts.

Arleb by Nabad – What is the experience that has influenced your work in the arts and culture field the most? Which subjects or themes are you working on?

Monica Moughabghab – My art is a reflection of me. Every event that happens in my life has an impact on my work. Lately, the overall situation and hardships in Lebanon, specifically after the Beirut port blast, have slowed down my creative process and stopped my art flow for quite a while. 

The theme I value the most is freedom. I think it is very relevant to our circumstances today, breaking the chains that hold us back from change and development. However, my art is abstract and could be interpreted in a multitude of ways. It is a reflection of both the artist and the viewer, and is mostly not based on one subject or theme.

Arleb by Nabad – What is your creative process like? 

Monica Moughabghab – My creative process depends on my emotions. The urge to paint hits mostly unexpectedly, and the challenge always remains in the mixing of colors, finding the right density and the right proportions, until it feels right to my eyes and to my heart. 

Arleb by Nabad – What was the impact of the Beirut port explosions (August 4, 2020) on your work as an artist/creative enterprise? 

Monica Moughabghab – The blast has thrown the whole country into deep grief. I was no exception. I could not pick up a brush, whatever I would paint felt wrong and dull. I had to stop painting for a while, allow grief in and allow myself to feel it. 

Arleb by Nabad – What are, according to you, the roles of arts and culture in social, economic, environmental or political change? 

Monica Moughabghab – Arts and culture are drivers of change. In fact, arts are a reflection of culture, and are deeply embedded into it at the same time. No one could imagine a world without art, in all of its forms. It would be dull and empty of colors and beauty. There is no real change that happened in history without intervention of the arts. It is the most powerful way of expression and change. 

Arleb by Nabad – What are, according to you, the main challenges/obstacles facing artists/creative enterprises in Lebanon nowadays? 

Monica Moughabghab – Art in Lebanon counts mostly as a hobby, a secondary discipline that is not as important as others, and is often put aside and forgotten. Its value is blurred and its power is reduced, when it is in fact equally important to all other disciplines and immensely powerful. That is the main challenge artists face, it puts their survival and the continuity of their art at great risk.