Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dance As Inspiration of a Digital Nature

A Raqs Sharqi Valentine

I know there is a debate among some collage artists concerning digital vs. conventional collage techniques.

The collage, "A Raqs Sharqi Valentine" is a digital work. It was inspired by my love of Egypt and Egyptian Raqs Sharqi.

The photo of the Pyramids was taken the last time I visited Giza. The stamps are from a letter I received. The cyan design element is from Egyptian money. The dancer on fire is from a photo I manipulated in PhotoShop. The Arabic writing says "Egyptian Moon", the name of the Egyptian Moon Dance Company.

I am a dancer. I danced from the age of three...first at a neighbourhood Dance School in Brooklyn, New York...then on to the June Taylor School of Dance in Manhattan. I studied Egyptian Raqs Sharqi, the dance also known as Belly Dance first while living in England and then in Egypt and the United States. I have had the pleasure of dancing with our Troupe,  Troupe Raqesi al-Qamar al-Masrion, for the last eleven years. I have never met a group of women more pleasant or dedicated.

The first time I saw an Egyptian Dancer I was captivated. Such a variety of interpretations...The balletic style of Samia Gamal, the passion of Tahia Carioca, and the fluidity of  Sohair Zaki, the fire of Nagwa Fouad, the strength of Fifi Abdou. I could see in their Dance the Art I translated from heart to eye to paper. They formulated pictures with their movements. They made the music visible. They drew from their passionate hearts and told a story...the same as I had on paper.

It was a powerful, women's dance. It was magical. I wanted to be part of it.

I have always loved the Middle East. My Mother was an Egyptophile. My Father did business with several Middle Eastern countries. My interest in the Dance was a just a natural extension of the influences I was exposed to growing up. 

Back to the collage, I feel digital work is on par with conventional. PhotoShop, my scanner and a computer is no different to me than scissors, Matte Medium, and art papers. It's just another form of cut and paste. Being able to change from one media to the other keeps it interesting for me as well.

I suppose the debate will go on...but for me, I have my feet planted in both camps.