The corridors at Berliner Liste were receiving more and more visitors as the opening hour was upon us. While waiting for the big crowd to join those of us inside, I strolled along a series of bright artworks. In their brightness I sensed something else, an array of storytelling. Artist Lara Al Khatib is a Jordanian-Palestinian but even though I asked if her homeland was as colorful and lively as her paintings, she replied that inspiration actually comes from within. It’s about aspiring to attract everything that’s positive, she said. If you are inspired from within, you will attract positive things.
Our talk was private and quiet, I was able to approach her with time and patience as the shy visitors starting making their way around the fair. We cruised through her exhibiting space and she explained all of her art works in detail. Despite the fact that all of them were bright and animated, it was one particular story about that grabbed my attention, the story about the olive tree. The painting is titled Bless and she explained why: “In many faiths, the olive tree is a symbol of faith due to its roots that are grounded very deep and survive for many years and also due to its oil: it takes time to loose its bitterness. It needs a time of processing, healing, purifying, in order for the olives to loose their bitterness and become sweet. I find this is similar to the process oft he human soul, it needs a process in order to loose its bitterness.“
Lara Al Khatib’s face truly gleamed when speaking of her artwork; so many positive feelings about growth and energy. She tells me at the end of our talk, “We are all looking forward to a better future, when we don’t have to worry about peace and can focus on leading a blessed life.” I suddenly felt a bit enlightened, as if perhaps my own bitterness had also been washed off by this small encounter. If you are walking around the fair and need some constructive and reassuring talk about the issues of life, I invite you to approach her – you might actually find your own olive tree amidst her many stories.
Article by Sofía Martinelli