Artistic expression has the ability to convey strong emotions inviting to reflect on major themes of the contemporary society. The human world is too often made of contradictions which may give rise to worrying social problems as economic crisis or environmental disasters. But the light does not fade and it allows us to hope in a better future.
Jane Gemayel, Canadian contemporary artist and Monaco’s resident, has been showing her great sensitivity about what surrounds us and her artistic production strikes the viewers leading them to wonder about the existence together with the artist. What human society is becoming? How is our Planet evolving? Will there still be room for key values such as love, peace, tolerance and freedom?
A spiritual and real path at the same time has been accompanying Jane Gemayel since her first production named ‘Woman, Heart, Innocent’ up to a very special tribute to a book that marked her entire life. Twenty-five works will be shown for the first time to the international public through a dedicated exhibition on the 12th and the 13th January 2022 within Monaco Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, under the artistic direction of the Grimaldi Forum.
Designed lively lines create dynamics of bodies, shapes and colours reproduced almost in a calligraphic style to create an evocative and exotic combination which reveals some surprises and secrets. The artist shows attention to detail resulting from continuous research to achieve the best aesthetic outcome recalling the ideal archetype of beauty throughout its reinterpretation over the centuries with special regard to Matisse, Klimt, Beardsley and Picasso. On the 15th December 2021, HelloMonaco had the privilege to meet Jane Gemayel (J.G.) in her art studio in Monaco where she shared some comments on her artistic philosophy of life before leaving for the Emirates.
HelloMonaco: Mrs. Gemayel how would you define your art?
J.G.: It has taken so many stages that I would say it is the result of my passion. I haven’t attended any specific school of art, so it doesn’t come from a particular training. Not many people have seen my art so far. The incoming exhibit sponsored by the Grimaldi Forum will be the second greater showroom after the one at Adriano Ribolzi Gallery in 2015. This is therefore very new for me to see how people actually respond to my art. Realizing how they interpret what I do it will empower my spirit. My artworks will be making them feel good. In fact, I do not add any more oppression to the World. It is just the way I look at things that makes the difference, I guess.
HelloMonaco: What brought you closer to the artistic expression?
J.G.: I believe that it has been always there. I started to paint maybe a little bit later in my life. When I was 29, I left Montreal and New York to take a sabbatical year in Paris to discover whether I had any talent or not. When arrived there I could not speak a word of French and I knew none. But I was just in the City of Light and that inspired me a lot. Previously, I had been working for advertising for a while where I created campaigns and I worked with photographers and models. The idea then was just behind it. …and forty years later I am about to land in Dubai. So, it is a beautiful story!
HelloMonaco: What inspires your artistic production?
J.G.: It was definitely a book I discovered when I was twenty years old, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese leading figure. I still remember when I found this beautiful in-gold edition while I was visiting with my parents. The title immediately intrigued me and I read this book several times in my life. Soon after I found out it was the second bestseller after the Bible worldwide. I considered it as a true self-help publication to make people know about love, about nature and about almost everything. And it is still applicable now.
HelloMonaco: The storytelling expressed by your paintings is often made of choral images, groups of women or groups of symbolic elements that suggest some exotic mystery, where does this choice come from?
J.G.: I read a lot and most of my inspirations come from the words. So, it is not really about a place or an art gallery or conversations with people. It is about poetry and books. Most recently newspapers pushed me to start a set of art sketches directly on a page of the newspaper copy, giving birth to the ‘News as Muse’ series. I usually work on it developing a kind of stream of consciousness that makes continuous changes until I switch to another project. I myself do not know the final result but I keep all depicted feelings in ‘locked black boxes’. In July 2016, in particular, the terrorist attack in Nice was reported by Monaco Matin with a special journalistic insert including the list of all victims. It was so sad for me to see all faces with a black background; I decided then to convert it in gold. Three weeks later I started with the New York Times. The same I did for ‘Climate Change III’ piece of art that will be exposed in Dubai.
HelloMonaco: What message do you consider crucial through your art?
J.G.: Hope, without any doubt. Just like the title of my work sketched from a newspaper reporting about the support aid by white helmets in rescuing people in a devastated Aleppo. It could be an earthquake, it could be a war, it could be anything that happens… there is always a need for someone to help others in this disturbing world.
HelloMonaco: What does it mean for you exposing in Dubai? Do you feel more Canadian or Monegasque?
J.G.: I feel very privileged to be part of Monaco Pavilion as well as very excited. It will be challenging. I have been living in Monaco for thirty years so I feel this is my home. Nevertheless, I have been displaced so many times in my life and I lived in so many places that now I feel a citizen of the world. And I still don’t know what my next destination will be.
To know more about Jane Gemayel please visit: www.janegemayel.com