Friday, May 18, 2007

Neda K. Doany

Please help me in welcoming Neda to Scrapiteria!


I am lucky to live between two cultures: I reside in Austin, Texas; and I spend a third of the year in Beirut, Lebanon, where I grew up.

Although I have always been drawn to art, and especially collage, I was never formally trained in it. I earned a few Masters degrees in Sociology and Communication, and a doctorate in Speech Communication from the University of Texas at Austin. A major illness forced me to re-assess my priorities, and I decided to “retire” early from college teaching and devote my time between taking care of my family and pursuing my love of art.

As far as I can remember, collage was my medium of choice. I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old, I cut images from a very valuable gilded Persian manuscript in my father’s library of art books. If memory serves me right, my curiosity about collage was peeked, although my young ego was bruised because my parents were more concerned about some old book than my own artistic expression.

Since that time, I have always had an affinity for paper collages. Its versatility and unrestricted nature suited my impatient temperament. Collage was fun and led me to unexpected journeys. As contemporary collagist Susan Krieg likes to describe it, collage is an organic form of art: "Every time you add something new to a collage, it reassembles itself and responds back;" collage is “a conversation between the artist and art.” Conversing with my collages, I felt empowered and alive…

The most powerful memories I have are the ones associated with creating collages in times of war. In the early 80’s, when I was still living in Beirut , my native country was reeling under an incredible siege by the Israeli army. Amid the atrocities and horrors, I remember sitting in a safe corner of our house and creating paper collages by candlelight (yes, by candlelight – since all electrical power stations were bombed into oblivion). Although we had no electricity nor running water, no hope for a better tomorrow, let alone surviving another day, there I sat. In my bedroom, on my bed, with the atrocious whistling of exploding bombs over my head, there I sat. I sat with my French Marie-Claire fashion magazines spread out on the floor, scissors in hand, and a half-empty jar of rubber cement next to me, cutting, tearing, and pasting images upon images. In the building stairwell –turned into an ad hoc shelter – I sat. Huddled next to my younger sister Rima, praying that the hundreds of 3,000lb-bombs hurled from the monstrous F-16 jets would somehow miss our family, there I sat, clutching my tattered magazines. I sat in the bomb shelters, next to crying babies and weeping mothers. I sat and I cut. I sat and I pasted. I sat and I dreamt. I cut images, shapes, colors of vibrant red and azure blue as if I wanted them etched in my memory for fear that I would never see them again.Collage was my medium of choice. Long after the war ended, and decades after my “Persian experiment”, I am still creating collages, almost every day. I create because I am moved to do so. As I said earlier, I was never formally trained as an artist. I do not think of myself as one. I am guided by my artwork, I do not guide it. My collages are ephemeral memories of a time and place in my life. It does not matter what I create. What matters is to simply create.

My art is not necessarily ennobled by lofty ideas nor does it pretend to be a medium of social change. My art just is. It is art (with a lowercase “a”) which guides my life vision. I do not think about my art. I just create. Just as German philosopher Martin Heidegger spoke of “dasein” as being in the moment, I think that art – in whatever shape or form-- is very much necessary for the temporal coherence of being and doing.
To exist is to create. I create art. I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones.

8 comments:

Neda said...

Thank you very much for letting me participate in your wonderful group.My very best to all of you.

d'Chef said...

!Hello &Welcome Neda

Twice Told Lori said...

Hi Neda, welcome to the Scrapiteria :) Love the fun parrot collage :)

wastedpapiers said...

Great start to your collaging here with us Neda! Looking forward to many more.

Arty said...

welcome Neda and waht a moving introduction...welcome.

dianeweb said...

Hi Neda

Thank you for directing me here to read about you. I am always fascinated by your sharing your stories - thank you!

I will check back here again.

~ Diane Clancy
www.dianeclancy.com/blog

Punwit said...

Welcome, Neda, and nicely written intro. With bird-headed people (human-bodies birds?), you are amongst friends here...

Fast Eyes said...

Fascinating intro - wow, interesting life. Great collage too. Welcome!