The first week at Royal College of Art, we were asked to do a PechaKucha presentation to introduce ourselves and our artworks. I have done lots of presentations to talk about my stories before in different conferences, and have written lots of articles about myself and my artworks too. But it’s my first time to know Pecha Kucha and have only 10 slides to let people know about me, and for each slide I only have 20 seconds.
How I can introduce myself and my artworks in 10 X 20s ?
What do I want people to remember about me ?
First, I listed down all the things important to me and want people to know about me:
I want to introduce how I started to draw, how about my previous work at AIESEC and ADB, what are those moments that define who I am, what are my values, how these stories made me decide to be an artist, what I have done as an artist…….
I want to tell people everything ! but I only have 3min. So I decided to chose 2 stories to focus. and started with a question “What’s the moment that defines who you are ?” then talk about 2 words that changed me and me who I am today. One is “Die at 26” which pushed me to keep jumping outside of my comfortable zone, another is “Even you are small, you can change the world.” which encouraged me to be an artist to create a better world.
With this story draft in my mind, I joined the school stuff Pecha Kucha Presentation, and write down some tips that I need to improve for my Pecha Kucha. For example, don’t wait for the 20s for each slide but continue talking, use story telling instead of reading notes, take care of body language to have better communications with audience, keep your own style, quickly but clearly, put more photos in a slide, etc…….
It’s interesting to see how teachers introduce those artists or artworks who have influenced them before, I never thought about it, or let’s say, I never notice that how artists and artworks influenced me. It’s not about copying each other, but through your influence to give people impression about who you are, and found the connections between artists in a long history river.
After stuff’s Pecha Kucha, I feel that I need to focus on my about my art, and introduce my stories through my art. So I changed my story line and be much clear. And wanted to draw my stories. I also watched some youtube videos on how to make a better presentation.
But when I started to make the presentation, I feel that showing my artworks in the presentation is better than drawing my stories since I want impress my audience with my artworks instead of only stories. And I changed some parts of my presentation stories again when I did a rehearsal.
So here is the final Pecha Kucha :
I’m Mowen, when I was 2, I did my first drawing and since then drawing and painting became my happiest thing in the world, I even publish a book about my drawings when I was a kid. However, as I grow up, people told me that drawing could only be your habit, don’t let it to delay your study and work. So gradually I forgot my dream to be an artist.
Since I was freshman in University, I started to be an volunteer to do cross cultural understanding projects, I have been to more than 30 countries to work with local young people on social issues and leadership development, so I always need to do presentation and trainings to raise awareness of some issues and change their mindsets.
It’s not easy to change people’s mindset only though talking, to make people understand better, I like drawing my stories then do the presentation through story telling, and people like them more ! Through this experience, I found that art has fundamental power to change people’s mindset and inspire actions. Then I started to think. why not be an artist , to make the world a better place through my art ?
I used to live in Iran where all women need to cover themselves, and religious women need to wear this kind of chador to cover their body. I used to feel scared of them and feel they were boring people who didn’t have independence. But I live with them closely, I realized that they are the same beautiful human as everyone in the world.
You may see see black, but I see her gorgeous, because she has the most beautiful soul, so I started to draw the Persian Princess to show people what they have ignored about their those women’s rich inner world. My inspirations were from Persian culture, poetry, fairy tales, artists, drama and theatre, etc……
When I finished 60 painting about Persian Princess, I quit my job in the Philippines and came to Iran, I visited aroud 20 galleries then hosted my first solo exhibition in Tehran. It’s interesting to see people having dialogues or arguments because of my art, even the national TV asked me to introduce my art to reflect Iran culture. I enjoy the way to raise questions through my art.
The same in Afghanistan, traditional women need to wear blue burqa to cover their body even their eyes. When I was living in Afghanistan, I felt that I was in a prison where I lost my freedom and can’t breath.
So during my residency, I created Persian Princess paintings based on my experience and observations about women right, war and peace, education problems, violence. And how Afghan people inspired me with their spirits.
Not only limited to painting, I also did installations to let man in Chardor to ask “if it’s strange for men to be covered, why it’s okay for women ?” , together with Afghan artist we did a mural painting to show the possibilities of women, and I also hosted my painting exhibitions to raise awareness about social issues.
When I was working at Asian Development Bank in Manila, I found that 4 million people living in slums of Manila, and people there faced lots of issues like education, heath, environment, human rights. So I initiated the project Color Up the Dark to run art workshops and designing mural painting, house paintings in the slum, to bring people happiness and hope.
Later, I created paintings based on this project and my learnings in Manil, and hosted solo exhibition in Manila to raise awareness about poverty issues.
This is one of the houses we have painted in Manila, what I haved learned is that, I always searched for what makes me happy before, but actually I have the ability to create happiness. And I chose to be the artist who create a better word with my art.This is my story. Thank you 🙂
P.S. photos from my classmates’ presentations:
21st July 2018
Royal College of Art, London