Farhana Khan-Matthies: «To be original is not easy. There are thousands of paintings»

On Thursday, March 17, the art exhibition Creative Kaleidoscope was inaugurated at the Manzana Uno Espacio de Arte

On Thursday, April 7, the reporters of the German school of Santa Cruz School newspaper interviewed the artist Farhana Khan-Matthies, who is very talented and recognized in several countries. The interview took place at the exhibition: Creative Kaleidoscope at Manzana Uno. 

Art is harmony

-Georges Seurat

¨The Creative Kaleidoscope is about how we should all develop a creative mind like a Creative Kaleidoscope, so we should turn our ideas, we should learn a lot like a library of understanding and knowledge and then we should turn it in order to learn something more about the world. Creative thinking is the Kaleidoscope¨

-Farhana Khan-Matthies

It’s an art exposition which shows meaningful paintings for Mrs. Farhana and her first exhibition in Bolivia after the pandemic.

-What inspired you to create these works?

Everything around me inspires me, but especially music (classic European music) and especially nature. (…) Most of the work that you see today is inspired by nature and the movement of the work is inspired by music. 

– What’s the meaning of these works for you?

They are my life after Stephan, they are the most important thing I do. I paint for every picture you see on the wall I paint at least 10 in my head because the hours of the day are not long enough to paint more than one, because you have to mix the paint you have to stretch the canvas and you have to clean your brushes and all that takes time and so when i’m in the middle of the night i’m lying on the bed and i can’t sleep because all my inspirations come in the middle of the night and they overpower me. So nature and music are two most  important things in my life which I’m inspired by.

– How did it feel to present these works?

I loved it. 

We came in the middle of the pandemic. (…) And I had no connection with the art world. I wasn’t sure if they were any good artists here. I assumed every city has some good artists, but a girl friend of mine said you kept on saying you have to have an exhibition at the manzana uno. I didn’t know what the manzana uno was. But she kept on saying. So first I approached Casa de la cultura, and they said yes, make an official appointment with us and apply to show your work there. It’s a very big space. But my friend Anette kept saying no, it’s Manzana Uno. I talked with the director of Manzana Uno but at first there was no space to present in 2022 and maybe 2023. But they found a time for me to show my work. (…) I’m impressed how well this gallery is run and the people who work here. (…)

– How long have you been painting and how did you begin to acquire a Taste or passion for painting?

I didn’t wake up one day . I started when I was three and a half years old. I told my mother I’m going to be a painter when I grow up. And then I took part in an Adult competition when I was five. I didn’t win a prize and I was shocked but I was competing with college girls, but they put my little painting in the exhibition because they were very amused that a little child wanted to take part in the competition. I always knew that I’m very creative, my mind creates ideas naturally, automatically whether I like it or not. And I love the color and the smell of oil paint. I don’t really work with acrylic. (…)

I really wanted to paint.  When I was 37 I decided to stop designing, I counted all the money I had and I bought what I call 10 years of my life to do what I wanted. (…) But you see in this exhibition that nothing is for sale, we don’t sell the work but most of the time the works are there for the people to enjoy. Because these paintings cannot be done in one night. They need some time to dry.  

– What is your favorite art style?

That was a difficult question. I will tell you which ones have influenced my works. There’s a German artist called Gerhard Richter, and he loves color, I love his work. But I learned from people like Monet and the impressionists, how to use brush and how to use the colors. When I gave up designing I went to the old masters. I went to Rembrandt. And the first thing I do when I arrive in a new city is to head straight for the big museum. Then I look and I have patience and I can spend two or three days there. I learn and I not only look to enjoy but I look to learn how people are using different techniques to express what.  (…) 

– What is your favorite artwork?

The painting is 130*250 and it is hanging inside of my house. It is the interpretation ¨The creation of Adam¨ by Michelangelo 1508-1512.

It is her favorite portion of this sealing in the sixteenth chapel. 

– Were you influenced by any artist to create these works?

Missis Farhana responded that a big influence for her work was Gerhard Richter.

How would you describe the feeling you get when you’re painting?

Whenever I’m painting there is no sketch, no drawing, nothing. The only thing is, I’ll do a painting this big. Because I have to stretch the canvas. After that there are layers and layers of color. And every part of the painting has to make sense but even oil colors remain wet inside, when the first layer starts to dry you have no time to think. I apply the colors and I build up colors. If you see a little portion you see lots of colors. And I have to work on it before it starts to dry. You never know what you are going to get, It’s luck, chance and experience. (…) In the first painting the idea was burning rainforest, like in Brazil, because I’m an environmentalist. 

-What advice would you give to the younger generation of artists?

Draw. Do a lot of homework, look at a lot of great work, such as photographs, libraries, try to understand it without saying: I don’t like this artist, I like this artist. To keep an open mind, not to prejudice and sensor your thinking. Visualizing things and how to be an artist. Is like a language. It seems so difficult at first but it grows on you. Then you start to make the connections. 

Learning to draw is the first step, learning to paint with a brush slowly is the next step. You have to know how to maneuver. To be original is not easy. There are thousands of paintings.

Lastly we would like to thank Mrs. Farhana for her time and everything she showed and taught us about her paintings. Getting to know her was an amazing experience and we´re also thankful for the advice we received from her. By that we mean following our dreams and never giving up, trying our hardest and knowing that’s enough and of course, having an open mindset and remembering to cherish life. 

By Mery Zhong, Lorena y Letizia Meave