She was born in Damascus on 1975 from a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother and like the interview says, she began to paint at the age of 4. Her art has something special in the way she manages to recreate the human face through a well thought color pallet, in this way influencing the viewers emotions without the use of external or additional elements as is the case of other contemporary artists.
1. How did your life as an artist began? Tell us the first things that influenced you to go on this road.
I can say that it started since childhood. I started painting when I was 4 years old; I used to paint on the floor, the walls, the furniture…etc. I never had a problem to paint in my house, I was always encouraged by my family, I believe that the freedom I had in my family’s house helped in making me evolve into an artist. When I was 14 years old I knew that I will become a painter for the rest of my life.
2. How much did education shape you? Did you have a teacher, a mentor so to speak, to look up to?
I studied at the Department of Painting in the University of Damascus where I graduated in 1998, but I do not believe that education gave me a lot, I worked hard by myself, I read many books, painted many paintings and tried a lot of techniques, those things shaped me more than my teachers did.
3. How would you describe your works, what motivates you and where does your inspiration come from.
I am inspired by everything around me, especially people and mainly the ones I love, also the music gives me big inspiration, I always paint listening to the music I like. I got married recently with the man who I always wanted and today he is giving me a lot of support and inspiration.
Her individual exhibition "Love 2009" held in Kuwait in December 2009
4. Is your art understood in the way you want it to be?
If I meant to communicate a specific idea with my art, it would have been easier for me to write it down on the wall, but I don’t mean that, what I want or better wish is to put the viewer in that state I felt when I created the painting or when I looked to it done, actually I don’t want to put him in my same state, as I personally see my painting, feel it, different each time I look at it, and each time it takes me to a different world, I want my painting to take the viewer to unlimited places, worlds and states, I want it to move his imagination, to touch his senses and to penetrate his consciousness.
5. What are the main themes and how do you feel people react to your work?
There are always new themes, but humans are the main interest of mine, people are reacting in a great way to my paintings till today, I am satisfied.
6. Beside creating art, what other things interest you?
I like to listen to music.
7. Does an artist express a national/cultural identity or is he a ”global citizen” expressing the universal characteristics of humanity? How do you see yourself in this regard?
I don’t believe in geographical classification in contemporary art, I barely accept some classifications based on art movements, art for me is one, global, not influenced by any of the artist’s identities and nevertheless it is very personal.
8. What role does an artist have in a society?
I don’t think an artist can change the world, he can’t stop a war, but he can do a lot of things to make life nicer but moving the feelings and the imagination of the people, by touching their subconscious.
9. Do you believe artistic creativity is something you are born with or do you get the taste of it with time and practice?
At “Sara Shamma 2007”, held at Art House, Damascus, Syria.
(I would like to add that Sara Shamma is the first artist to participate in what I hope to be a long series of artist interviews. More about her you will be able to read in the next issue of Awil-um Magazine which will be out at the end of this month.)