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Written by: Ashley Alleluya

Photography by: Rami Ilcappo

“Everybody is an artist, all you need is a spark,” my editor told me on Wednesday evening as I lamented my lack of artistic skill. We were standing outside Artspace waiting for an art exhibition titled ‘Hidden Talents of A Barista’ by up-and-coming artist Soos Farasheh. I wondered how a hidden talent presents themself once that spark has been discovered  I was about to find out.

Artspace in Salmiya is perhaps the perfect spot for an artist to display their work. It is a lively space, with the smell of paint wafting from every direction, artists of all ages and nationalities either scurrying across the space for more material or buried deep into their projects. This evening, we also had Majed Zane providing music that lent a party-like atmosphere to the proceedings, giving everyone who mingled something to tap their feet to. Once we made our round of hellos, we headed upstairs to take in all that Soos had to offer.

Covering all the walls of the top floor at Artspace, the exhibition was a display of Soos’s evolution as an artist. Through her first steps into the world of art in 2013, her experiments with different media of expression (knife art and doodling) and her eventual foray into abstract expressionism, you are treated to much more than a sample of her work. What you get is the journey Soos has undergone to find her artistic voice and nurture it until her work speaks in colors and textures that exude confidence.

Art is such a vulnerable platform that encourages you to share a part of yourself through a tangible medium. Soos makes excellent use of this vulnerability, pouring materials from her surroundings into her piecesto supplement her brushstroke. So when you stare at a painting for a minute longer than necessary, you begin to notice aspects that a quick glance would overlook – Lego bricks, glass shards, a floppy disk, nails and screws, a deck of cards, even an item of lingerie – all incorporated seamlessly into the larger picture to add textural depth and excitement to her canvases.

It was also interesting to see just how much of her work holds personal value to
Soos. Across the walls, along with her paintings, were stacks of color-soaked paintbrushes she has used, palettes that have been her playground, aprons, bags and clothing that have been part of her journey. This personal involvement clearly extends into her art. Soos has an obvious fondness of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (who doesn’t though?), and they feature prominently in a few of her works – they are the subjects of one of her initial paintings, as well as the main focus of one of her later signature piece, that a friend singled out as his favorite.

My personal favorite? I am actually torn between two pieces, each with their own distinct style. One lush in its use of color and actual paintbrushes called ‘The Forgotten’ and another, a deceptively simple piece that that is rich in meaning titled ‘Souls.’ I also became irrationally fond of a mini-selection of human-like animal portraits featuring a cow, a penguin and a hippo (and found myself relating to the moody hippo named Abu Gishta quit hard).

I walked out of the exhibition feeling satiated and inspired. Here is an artist without formal training who learned to channel her art in a language that is uniquely her own. Gauging from the vibe across Artspace, everyone present felt similarly. Though they had differing opinions on what their favorites were, we clearly agreed on one thing – this exhibition was a celebration of talent and creativity that comes from a fearless sense of abandon. Through this exhibition, Soos not only made it possible for us to take a glimpse into her world she also made it possible for us to believe in our own potential, should we choose to harness it. That, in my opinion, is her biggest achievement as an artist – and Soos Farasheh looks like she’s just getting started.

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