From painting beautiful flowers in her kindergarten classes, she has won the 2015 intercollege art contests. “….and it was only my second painting ever!” she adds explaining how that moment proved to her that she can do a lot more if she is dedicated to it. The 23 year old discovered her talent for art at a young age; however, she decided to give full attention to education and earned her diploma in Math. Lul Gafre, now teaches at a Junior School in a provincial town.
Today, we have here with us this young passionate girl who is dedicated to become one of great artist of our time while giving a 100% to teaching.
- -How difficult is it to teach students who are almost your age?
I teach at the Atkelezan Junior School. As it is a place which is a bit distant from the city, there are students who are a bit older for the level. However, they have the will to learn and become better no matter who teaches them. I had the feeling that I would be troubled by students who are as old as me or even bigger physically, but no.
- -How did you get to art?
When I was in the kindergarten, I used to draw some good pictures which indicated that I have the talent for art. I remember my teachers called my mother to tell her to support me to be good in art. My mother then started to get me in to art courses and motivated me to work hard on it. I feel like it is because of her persistent support and drive that I am where I am today. She told me to work hard on it, to upgrade my skills through any means. By the time I was in elementary school, there was an art course conducted by both the UNICEF and Alliance France, in which I participated for almost two years. I also took numerous crush courses but soon after I stopped since I wanted to focus on my studies until I joined college. Soon after getting into the EIT College, I took another course at the Satreb Art School before participating in the intercollege festival art contest where I came to be the winner.
- -What was the painting about?
It is a painting that took just too long to complete. I had the idea and sketched it back when I was in Sawa, but, it was never finished. I added details and ideas at it until I finally presented it on the festival in 2015. It was a painting that reflected the unity of the diverse ethnicity and religion of our country titled “unity in plurality” translated as Whdet bzuhnet. I was happy not only that it was the time that gave me hope that I can be good in art or that my family had the moral to motivate me even more in the profession, but it was only my second painting ever. It proved to me that I can do well if I work on it. I was even more interested and motivated to be involved in art.
- -How do you manage both your professions since being a teacher and an artist are two different things?
To be honest, I am not as involved as I want to be in Art since I have to teach and I am away from home for the week. Teaching is not an easy job, it makes a person busy. Starting from preparing the lessons to the exams and correcting. Also, math is all about the mind. It needs dedication as well as constant practice. That is why I don’t find the time to exercise painting as much as I would love to. Nevertheless, I do my best to be active. I love being an artist and it doesn’t take me much time to adjust to it even after being away from my brushes for a long time.
- -What type of Art do you follow?
Realism and Byzantine, definitely. Realism is the type of art that captures and reflects reality. It is the type of art that people understand easily, and this makes it easier to pass on your message. Byzantine also is a type of art where proportions are not of much concern, it mostly focuses on eyes to express feelings. For instance, if you see the paintings in churches, closely they sometimes paint God with big eyes to reflect that God can see everything and his innocence. Also, one of the people who inspired me to be an artist is Michel Adonai; he mostly works with realism and byzantine. Actually, my 2015 intercollege winner painting was a byzantine.
- -What do you think is the reason we don’t have female painters?
Yes, we luck the number of female artists especially in painting. I think one of the main reasons may be that there is no awareness in our society. Certainly there are many talented artists, they even try to get into the profession for a short time. However, when they get married, they tend to become stay-at-home moms giving up all their dreams. It is sad, I’m sure they could have become great artists if they had the support. People even tell me that I am going to be just like the other artists but I plan not to.
- -The exhibitions you have had so far and the feedback you get from the audience…
I have had numerous exhibitions with groups. But I haven’t had a solo exhibition and I hope that I would get to see that very soon. I had some great feedback which included some great critiques and advice. It is nice to be part of a group of professionals who would share their talents. Discussing with artists, sharing ideas is one way to upgrade your skill and work for a much better outcome.
- -What do you think should be done to improve the standard of art?
Well, I think that we have talented artists who started from scratch. We don’t have many art schools that can produce a number of professional artists. It would be helpful to establish good art schools even at college levels for the talented artists’ dreams to be realized. We do have the potential, but potential alone isn’t enough to upgrade the standard here. I think that art should be supported with education.
- -Anything at last?
I hope to have an exhibition of my own soon. I would also like to thank my family and friends for all their support and I wish to make everyone proud. Again, I wish that more female artists would flourish so that our number as artists would grow.