“ARE YOU HAPPY? OR ARE YOU JUST COMFORTABLE?” A RIDE INTO THE DEPTHS OF GHANEEMA’S Written by: UmJay M. Photography: Salman Moghaddam, Mohammad Bastaki and Fay Al-Homoud (Kingdome's team}
They say “only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet,” but walking up to the doors of ArtSpace on Wednesday evening felt like arriving at the gate to a portal into a parallel universe, compelling you to jump in. Feet first.
If there were ever a space transformed into the tangible mind of Ghaneema al-Qudmani, it is Digital Soul. Floating clouds, spinning rainbows, dancing dragonflies, all things bright, all things shiny, all things neon against a UV-lit void of darkness – you have arrived at Ghaneema’s first solo exhibition. In the weeks leading up to the opening, Ghaneema spent most of her nights at ArtSpace, working tirelessly with the ArtSpace team creating, building, gluing, hanging, painting, hammering all the little corners of her Digital Soul. While those who know Ghaneema know of her undying belief in unicorns, magic and all things pizza and rainbows, they also know of the depth and trueness of her mind and soul. The quintessence of the cliché; “what you see is what you get,” Ghaneema has no qualms expressing her truth in this life. Going against the grain that holds society together, she has long questioned the tightly-held value systems of culture, and their tendency toward blind submission to tradition. People no longer question. Is it because they no longer have the capacity for curiosity? For wonderment? Or is it because they dare not wonder? Or is it because they’re afraid of what they might find if they do? So much of why and how we do what we do with the majority of our lives is based on a foundation built long before we ever chose a college major. Like hopping on one of those airport-travelators, (not escalators, but the walking ones), we follow a pre-destined path down the big airport of life. You get off here or there; grab a coffee, pit stop at the restroom, buy a few things, get on a plane, do some stuff there, meet new people, reunite with old friends, but always returning to that one airport-travelator. Then there are those who would rather explore life on foot, through its deserts and forests, going places planes don’t go. Places they can’t go. It is in those remote places that people often realize the bigger picture of their story.
Digital Soul, a practical “walk-through” Ghaneema’s wanderings in life. The artwork combines elements of hand sketches, digital illustrations, text and color. Every piece carrying within it a personal journey of self-reflection. A Chalres Bukowski devotee, many of her pieces depict the story, the moment, the feeling or even the mere curiosity in contemplating his many literary works. Bukowski quotes and personal opinions, all delivering a message – a very loud, unmistakable message. While it’s easy to read her story in her work, and it is a story worth reading, she hopes that through her exhibition she can rekindle that same spark of curiosity in others.