How do you see the world?

- By Varsha Mariam Chandy | Manipal Institute of Communication

The world paints for him.
He strokes the brushes and the world gets accustomed to them. He sees the world to give and take the beauty that provides with it. How did he get here? How does he provide to see the world as a canvas when it offered the bare minimum and he put his trust in it?
It’s the cluster of bare hope that lead him into working for this purpose..

In the flashiest parts of the cities and the sparkle in every eye that meets, this city or termed as country, provides luxury to the basics of the base. Every corner you meet, more than hairs out flowing past every face they walk past, the blinks and the riches provides more value and judgment about yourself than the grace poured down by your parents. The extremes the city functions under gives an outlook of how the normal people are treated in the world which may not be the standard case of gloss and abundance. How may have that worked out in the case of Mustafa Halwachi?

He was that man that works by reference and influence but to perform, would require his own passion thought. Mustafa was intrigued by just the question of “Do I need to be mad to be an artist?”. All his life, he was motivated by just satisfied in understanding his own version of art and whether it is of a person’s choice or not to be influenced by it. The voice that sounded low and soothing but with the heavily accented tone was directed towards the fact that he lived all his life in the country that runs on luxury and the riches. Since 2012, Mustafa aimed just to fulfil his priority of how he can give back to the world by making it look like a better place if not feel it. Conceded by the whether his religion, Islam, gets a predominant value in his artistic works and beliefs makes it a huge factor to work his own thought process. He walks about the streets picturing how he could turn every wall and painting out there to be a piece of his own. A piece of his soul just poured out in some hope that this could give an inspiration for some person out there to reach out and ind a passion for themselves to immerse themselves in. All in hope so that during even this time of Ramadan, he continues to fast for the praise and belief of his religion but also working in every small time given so that he gets the different high that he aims to take to an even wider reach. The concept of fame does not sit well with him neither does incentive. The concept of inspiration and how it may reach out to a wider range of audience in exuberant hope that at least one eye that catches his work aims to perceive his work as how he thought to see it. Sitting in his studio, working out every piece that he aims to treat his passion child shows how this passion of his may have a more in depth face to it.

The expressiveness of the carving wood and material then led out to be a piece of art making for him. Jumping from one form of art to another, Mustafa, a professional furniture maker then dwells on how his life changed from exploring surreal art, telegraphy and different forms of street art and more. When fame comes with the prospect of developing new, surreal opportunities that could be a form of proper communicated inspiration to reach into someone else’s life and what their outlook in the world of art would say to be, he did not hesitate to take it. From year to year, Mustafa traveled across to attend and study the moat he could with understanding how the other artist perceives their artwork differently from how he views it. How they stroke their brush differently. The pandemic hit, the world lost its sanity. The first big opportunity to go big and make a standing for himself internationally goes into place. Does he accept? The first big claim to get the big name comes in place and he attempts to program into every method there is in his reach.

Mustafa, the young man, gives reasoning into understanding that the desperate feel of homesickness and how much it affected the boy growing up but gave him a lock and key into the world of art. The city of riches, once developing, had lesser known resources and growth. ’82 struck and so did the hearing of “pack your bags, we’re leaving the country soon”. Relocating to Dubai as a young boy affected his personality more than he would’ve possibly thought to imagine. The process of understanding a new place with a heavier culture and to pick up the basic sticks and bones of how each mannerism one latched onto gave a sense of estrangement in both, the new home and the previous one. This affecting him would lead to not conventionally being social enough to understand his new peers. At least the roughness got him into another world that he made his bread and wine out of. That’s how he found it. The sense of comfort that he could wrap around himself in when the world was not being the most nicest. Does that dwell on the property of whether he would’ve not if not for the situation? The Columbus then discovered his undying passion for the work he does now and situations caused him to develop into this field of an artist.

Then came the young and glory days of youth. Mustafa did not hesitate to run around, laughing around with other young minds and was opened up to any given opportunity that came across. The college days were truly the days of pride and glory. Although he had all his intention of making and paving his way into the art and painting world, this may be not approved in his very orthodox family. Although he had never dreamed to pursuing anything than being an artist out and open in the world, that may not be the same case with his family. His family encouraged the prospect of him being an artist but conveyed intentionally that he has to also have a practical knowledge in it and should not hesitate to gain proper education in something related to the field but also helps him stand his ground. Helps him make a living out of it and helps him stand his ground. He rebelled but eventually understood why his family may have a say in this and why it is looked down to. After giving it proper thought and research, he took up Interior Designing against his one competitor Fashion Design. With Interior Design, he loved the way he could birth things up from start. He loved the thought process that functions from it. How he could visualise a concept in his mind and actually give his piece of himself into it from the start. How he could redo the work plenty amount of times as he wanted, modify it for better or for worse but would always be given chances to correct it if he goes wrong. He finds that different with painting on a canvas and especially, graffiti art.

The United States of America had the freedom and the prosperity that he had lacked to take in himself around since his childhood days. Mustafa would walk around in and around the campus with the beauty of the streets that a wildness in itself had captured and looked promising enough to serve. His friends teased around with the gaining of how art can be used around in many terms and he, back in the day, used to be influenced under that power to not properly understand what he may have come across may not be the best way to convey that medium of art. Under the influence of it, Mustafa had subdued but across his boundaries and limits.

Graffitis and street art that he came across was vandalism. He saw across He called it that and currently he says he has nothing to do with that. He reminisces. One day, his friends dragged him to do a different form of art that they hadn’t done previously. This made him anxious but at the same pace was the most excited since he finally could get into doing a new sense of art that he would not have. That always made his heart race. Pulling by his shoulder, his friends showed him what they had intended to do but this turned his stomach into a different form. The same vandalism that he spoke himself to never doing, was the new medium that they had to offer. He was stuck in between coping with his own values and exploring something new his heart was beating so loud for. The young man was torn to choose one and with his current status of his level of education and how even the slightest chance of getting caught could affect his stay in the country.

He listened to the beating heart. Going for it with his friends and the power it gave him to paint the whole side of how much ever he could with no restraints and no form of gravity to pull you down and put a stop to his enhanced his sense of freedom. The friends and community that he emphasises to make the experience even better because he has the proper doing of giving something back into the world for giving him his life. Being that drunk with freedom, power and resources to do so gave him the time of his life. Thus, he had to face the consequences of what he may have taken advantage of to such a level. The consequences of being arrested, he never thought of facing because of which was the cost of his career. This took a toll on his work life to such an extent that he did not think of pursuing street art, and painting murals and graffiti art for next eight years. Exception not being just under the tag of street art, but the fact that he was hesitant to touch a paint brush for the next years till the year 2012. Till the year 2012 when the Ministry got involved.

The young Mustafa, even though inspired by the lengths and heights of the working mind and the wonders that cease behind it, had the utmost tendency to work towards a different goal when he started out. When he did, the same motivation that he may have stuck by at present was not how he intended. The feeble minded one had more of a tendency to listen to do what is being done rather that occurring to work for his own goals. He shifted his aim in time but was still under the influence of others as most of us would’ve been while starting out with no voice to speak of our own. This affected his mind and time.

Whilst focusing on his Interior designing and furniture art, he had been affected to such an extent that he recalls to not be from a good place. It affected him to such a proximity that it affected his work and the piece that comes along with it. He felt something to be the missing deed and that was his art. His ability to brush his strokes, his mannerism of how he is around art and is affected by everything that surrounds it as well. Even with the more financial gain with what comes from the former, he chose to abandon everything so that he could perform better with something better than he promised himself to be good at.

Spirituality was considered the most integral factor that Mustafa felt to conceive while using performing his piece. How each touch and corner of his work was inspired by his own working of an understanding of the spirit that flows through his mind and soul has also helped him in a makeshift growth. Mustafa always had a touch of more than just glow in him. The understanding he has towards proper concepts and how he observed them was just changing. He understood the soft nature of the feminine power and how femininity can speak so much just by itself. Mustafa also understood how quiet the energy of the same inhabits their strength in nature and it touches him so much that he makes sure to embed that into his work constantly. Along with understanding such concepts, he also is interested in understanding the human mind and what goes behind the working wheel of the brain. The underlying factor behind almost all his work his mainly the carvings he’s taken out of his own reach of understanding how the world works and what goes behind the workings of every other person he comes across. He couldn’t have had stayed consistent about that.

Although presently he is known around the country for his work in street art and painting murals, he does not appreciate being labelled to just being known as prominently as just a street artist. “The city is just my canvas”, he liked to say around to his peers. The city, he paints around, shows the kindness back on him as well. The growth that he considered more idealistic has termed to be more conditional. Beauty is a form of expression he aims to convert throughout his work style and management. Appealing to the audience and provoking them to ask questions without taking a political stand was the main aim of the artist.

“Beauty! I’m trying to raise questions with my work.”

Unbothered by fame and all that it has to offer, Mustafa understood how the need of not having to shout to hear my voice would be like. Politically speaking, every other person tries to stay on top of things and get a word into another person’s mind for the sake of a speaking impact and that in turn having an impact upon yourself. Mustafa does not entirely address to do that. The property of providing questions rather than having to be the one to provide answers is something that gives him immense joy and gives into a completely different outlook into life in itself. The sun shines into the desert like city when the artist was doing a street art when two joyous looking kids had the most intriguing front on. This brought a deep sighted satisfaction for the artist as he portrayed to convey what he aimed to say. The question “what is that supposed to mean?” is the most appealing one out there for him. Accordingly, we question everything in the world from what we see to what we hear and that is how he wants the spectators to see how to work their question in hand. He sees this as a reason to why he chose a public art form to express as his medium. The ideation of creating mystery.

The cherry on top of the icing is when he gets to interact with those who are impacted by the art he creates and the message he aims for the people to understand. The big day of work has come by once more and he attempts to give his all for the piece he wants to make. The projects that he decides to make with his team was for the Indian Women Association for those who are disabled. After he packs up and finishes his work, he sees the audience he has done this work for and brings into perspective how much their feedback could also affect him. The overjoyed look on their faces captures pleasantly on their faces. This glow on their faces bring into all perspective why he decides to go ahead with working the way he does and go to the most abundant scale that he can to push it all forward to make an impact and define the boundaries by himself.

He goes onto to think that if he had all the resources and time in the world, would that affect his current routine? The dreams of a place setting where he does street art and paintings for a living without having anything or anyone else to be dependant on and idealistically, he would cooperate bigger projects. He dreams if the number of people he can coordinate with. He dreams of those who would be willing to step forward in every assignment that he provides them with. He dreams of abundance of having the power to actually make an imprint upon. He dreams of those who concede and of those who do not. He dreams of the fame that would come along with it because if the unlimited resources. The gates he’s knocked over, the grass he’s felt his feet under, he understands that even if we stop to feel a certain element, even if we stop to look, put all our work into a specific element that creates a level of a comfort or a discomfort environment, we have to give it all. The sacrifice he’s willing to make for any project that he works upon would have more of a sourced impact if he gives all his time and effort into it.

“You give it all, it’ll give you everything or more back.” In the depths of North Africa, he recalls the one project that shook him completely up to the core. It was the year that the pandemic hit that shook the world up to the core. In February 2020, he recalls his work for one of the biggest festivals of North Africa and how he had the chance to attend as well as perform a piece that set things up high and beyond to any boundary of expectations that he could’ve imagined. The DJDJ Street art festival took his emotions to highs and lows that he may not have expected in may cases. He pictured and prepared a sketch that he knew would take his all in all and effort to make this. He packed his bags and decided to make his live appearance for the event. He felt the happiest of emotions when he received the letter to be a participant in such a huge event in Tunisia. The flow of emotions he surpassed throughout the day was a whole ocean tide away from sucking his soul out. Even though he had been the happiest for receiving such an honour, he hated the guilt of how he may have been unprepared compared to those who seemed to show more talent and work flow in. He hated the few sketches that he had prepared beforehand.

The streets of Tunisia had the visitor, the cold and the wind that were knocking in every door and wall. While pouring his heart and giving it all into the work he was set to do, he was blown away by the same visitor when he was standing on top of a steep ladder on top a steep building premise. This sucked his soul out and took away all the motivation that he had just by the near to death experience. He got back on his feet and put his all into the work. The work that inspired him to do so much that he got up the ladder right again to finish the work he had set upon working. The face he sketched, the face he planted to do after choosing his wall set him up with the child he knew much on. The face he sees and recognises everyday to enough about him from an eye viewing from the outside on how the kid would conduct himself to be once reaches his level.

The perspective of how you view the world and how the artist does depends on each perspective that goes behind it. The point being that we have the same functions of how the body should work, with or without limitations and how we intend to view it depends from person to person. A person would aim to look at a broken wall and would say “oh ew, it is just a broken wall” but being an artist, Mustafa could have the perspective to look at it and go “oh look, it’s a canvas to paint on.” A person could look at the color yellow and think of the sun or a sunflower, anything bright and piercing. The person may determine the color yellow to be youthfully as it could portray to convey that form of emotion, one that eternally glows, brings out the optimistic image of a subject, but Mustafa, as an artist, sees that to be the color red. Red symbolises passion, it brings out a perspective of a glow that fades but never stops shining; that glows. The red that symbolises love also does with youthfulness as it shows a correlation but from a different perspective. The characterisation of how these images look like and how it could be described otherwise just moves on from one person to another.

The artist who idolises one to think of taking credit sole credit from the way the yellows and the greens and the pinks stands one over the other in the streets of France, enough to convey their message from Hopare (Alexandre Monterio). Or the one who has more emphasises with the projectory of street art and the name attached to it who is prominently known for his work to be noticed and met eyes with enough people that state to be the wide American dream, out there; Shepard Fairey. Mustafa dreams to have met Hopare on the streets of France or even Bahrain to have understood the concept of how his style and art works and moves, and to have hear it from his own mouth, that is.

With an artist as such, Mustafa dwells on whether he has concepts and styles that he is afraid to explore. One who does not dance with the prospect of fear but definitely has set limitations to the those examples that may set himself away from his religion. This involves the public display of nudes or anything associated with that which may aggravate in individual thought study of whether he should do it. Whilst practicing forms of nudes in his sketches and background sketches to understand the core subject of the human body to comprehend the understanding of how the form and body posture of a specific person may differ to be. He personally does not have a wide problem with those who express their way through public display of how nudes may perceive their own art form to be. He, himself would not take an effort in being part of an exhibition or a project that emphasises on the workings of the nudes. Does that set fear in the outright being of himself? It understandably sets a fear in the eyes of his devotion to the super power out there and the community that prophecies his word written in the holiest of books.

Using your mind as a free tool to focus on your work enhances the subject you want to focus upon. Keep it free and engaging and using reference materials such as these, as said by Mustafa, brings out an open mind to keep using the subject to be modified easily. He focuses on the finishing, the colouring, the texturing of how the subject should perceive to look like rather than using his whole mind to birth a completely new topic from scratch. So does crediting a work. Referencing should only work in terms on how artist perceives the original work to be. Whether it is adding knowledge into your upper hard drive or whether you can conceive a new product out of the original, it should be encouraged enough. When it comes to the element of completely copying and not giving any form of credit, when the artist claims to have done it all when they haven’t shifted a single strand of hair, that is looked down to. Social media can either promote that form of behaviour or enhance the admiration you have for the work of art. It is prominently the former.

“Can anybody be an artist?” He nods to say yes. Every human being is created naturally and we all have the given gift to create other things naturally as well. That can be a root factor if we don’t divert ourselves and are willing to give our best into the concept of pursuing art. Everybody has it in themselves to dig a passion for art, any forms of it. Even if not their true calling, Mustafa intends to say that the love they have for the work they do be it even an accountant setting up their work in the field of finance to love what they do. Passion does not necessarily have to be a form of art taken into another meaning. If it is something or anything that you could even gain a financial benefit out of to not, this is property of enhancing a quality you love, is what the artist has to preach. As long as it is original or contributes something into the original form using it as a reference.

We see the world intercepted by an artist that deals in art so plainly and in one of the most former forms of medium to convey art but in times like these, where we are confined in the four walls of our house, the binding factor of social media and how it portrays a young artist of taste and time to convey something that builds up her knowledge and then converting it into something she takes up as a passion project.

Young Magna grew up in cities that conveyed the literation of culture. Growing up she was exposed to the field as the best time there is so that she would also develop a skill set such as the descendants. Her mom, her aunt had conveyed the same form of art and growing up, she was thoroughly inspired by it. In family filled with artists, she had aimed to conduct in the same mannerism that she took up pursuing the field ever since she was four years old. Growing up around the same artists and hearing the tales of their great grandfather who is seemed to be a renowned poet of sorts, it inspired Magna to have the same passion and interest of art that flows through the same bloodline. Dealing with beginner forms of art, she then moved onto fathom and project different forms of it but one that caught her interest and time then most was the Mandela art.

School days are rough enough for any developing mind that puts a form of standard pressure that boils to topple over. The education system is a crucial part in every child’s mind but the constructs that come in the developing mind of socialising, hierarchy, understanding to stand out to be noticed were all the products of pressure building system. At this time, for the reasoning of not following a traditionally considered to be on the normalcy scale, the young, shy Magna was constantly bullied and critiqued by her peers and family for the work she does. This affected the young mind to a level where she had an issue with self doubt and belief that she may actually be as bad as they say to be. She dropped the admiration she had for this work of art and continued to be disinterested in it till the age of seventeen. This also developed a sense of growth in her personality to becoming someone more outgoing and extroverted. Since the 11th grade, Magna, an Arts student, had a deep likening for astronomy and the concept of outer space, the notion of what is out there, what are the different possibilities of what is out there and how it may vary upto the most apical point of our imagination. Magna realised that this reach into science would occupy the most she could and the interest for the subject then turned into converging into something she could do out of the passion she has for the subject. She muses over to when she was doing her IB Arts program back in school and she had conducted an art based program with the underlying theme of space.

Women in whole do not necessarily get a free card here, but when Magna got it to pursue her education outside of Bahrain, she took the chance and left the country. She then studied in the Northumberland University to pursue Business Studies and that changed her being of shyness completely far away. Her voice rises with excitement and the clear love she has for the subject of astronomy and all things up and beyond. Starting out and getting back into the field of art, Vincent Van Gogh was a main source of inspiration for her and the one piece of art of his that keeps her motivated and up and going through out the whole piece would be his work of The Starry Night. That specific piece of art had inspired most of her art pieces to come through and look it in a way of her specific style. The psychedelic art pieces that she puts out were mainly inspirations that she gains from the colours and the patterns she develops a study for and puts out there. So does the music she deepens into. The videos she comes across are also a main source of inspiration for her throughout the whole process of the working of her art pieces. She laughs it off by addressing that people had often come to her and asked “are you into LSD or other forms of drugs?”

Her voice rushed with a glow when she spoke about what she loves about space. The excitement she portrayed to show how she could dream to understand alternate dimensions and parallel universes and how intent she is on making that her most prominent form in her art pieces. Astrology, constellations, the planets and the stars far beyond, being a Business major, Magna had more interest in pursuing her passion and the work she does regarding this rather than the vicinity of developing her career. The pursuit of following a family path into the field of Business is what made her accept her fate into settling for the property of her life would be like her forefathers. The start of it, even though was pressure, she made an understanding into how she could use this education in business and marketing skills as well when she wants to properly pursue a future in the sale of her art pieces. She wouldn’t have to be dependent on any other person to revel in it to understand how she could go on about it. The competitive world gets her the most distressed but without it, the motivation to create more and putting out there for people to view and understand gets with her.

The world around her was not kind enough for her to purse a prospect that may seem to be out of the normal understanding but Magna had decided to give back into the world by following her own footpaths first. Even though those around her did not prove to be one that would have her back, she continues to understand those in the position that she was at the time and tries to build them up. All her siblings have taken into charge that they may a place in the art world. In the developing minds of theirs, Magna aims to motivate them into building themselves up with the greatest of pleasure she could aim to do.