In Arabic we have the expression »he/she is an artist in his/her work,« (فنّان/ة بشُغله/ا) and we use it to describe how we evaluate people in their different jobs. He could be a fisherman; she could be a flower seller. Any job could fit this expression, but the one common thing is that people, the customers, decide if the person is an »artist« in his or her job or not.
It’s always a question of who decides who is an artist. Is the one who decides the working person him- or herself, or the recipient of the product? And the product can be food, goods, idea, articles, or music.
I guess that an important and basic element of making an artistic product is that its maker is doing or creating it with enjoyment. We can also add love, although maybe a poem could be written from feelings of hate or be a story of betrayal, but even then the poet could write the poem with love. In love not with the feelings or the story/background of the poem, but with the writing process.
All that comes from the art of decision – a decision of which ingredients to use in food, or what is the best way to fish, or how to talk to people, and how to give love to others, how to build human relationships – it’s always a way of art. Maybe art can be a way of life, or in another words, a lifestyle.
Almost two years ago, while I was standing outside a bar in Haifa, a city I lived in for so many years, I was holding a glass of red wine in my left hand. Suddenly, I saw a form on the street that looked like a heart. I took a picture of it with the camera of my cell phone and then posted it on Instagram with the comment in Arabic: #A_Heart_In_The_Street #قلب_في_الشارع. Since that moment, I start to collect «hearts« from streets I walked on, in different cities in the world I lived in and/or visited: Akka, Haifa, Ramallah, Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Alexandria, Berlin, Stuttgart, and more. Friends from all around the world started to send pictures of hearts they found on the streets as well. Sometimes they posted them on my Facebook profile, or sent them by private message. For many these forms weren’t »hearts;« but the people who took the pictures of the »hearts« saw them as they wanted to. And that’s also an art – how you see things or people or details, small or big, in life.
Do I practice as an artist or non-artist? I don’t know, but I learned how to practice my personal, social, and professional life as my nature is and always passing through the journey of life, and as the woman I want to be, with an open heart, listening, and deciding what I want to do in each day in my life and in the future. I grew up as a young singer, then I started to write, and then I stopped singing, then I wanted to be a journalist, and then I decided to be a writer and cultural journalist. Now I am also a DJ and maybe will return to singing soon. Somehow, when I describe what I’m doing in my life, what is me, it’s always professional titles, but I at least do what I enjoy and love doing, and from that people can decide if I’m an artist in my job or life. The most important thing is to keep doing it with sincerity.