by Stephen Dafoe
A community art project begun during Alberta Culture Days has been completed by Morinville artist Naji Matta and hung in the Morinville Community Library.
The project, which is done on two large canvases, began simple enough – adults and children followed the seasoned artist’s instruction by putting paint on the two plywood canvases, an assortment of seemingly unrelated blobs and flows of colour ranging from light to dark.
Over the past month, Matta has added to the abstract background community members painted to convert the canvases into a work that illustrates the importance of women in society both today and historically. The images of four women can be seen across the two paintings flowing through the wind.
“I love to work with community because it makes everyone feel like a family,” Matta said of working with artists young and old on the initial phase of the project. “When everyone gets involved and works on it as a team with one mind, one heart, one though – it makes you alive. That’s what makes me feel more happy to work from my heart.”
It is that sense of happiness that gives Matta maximum creativity.
The title of the painting is Mor In Ville: Role, Rule, and Relationship.
Though the painting is meant to illustrate the sense of community Matta finds inspiration for his work, there is a heavy feminine influence in the painting.
When I say role, rule, and relationship, I am talking about women, and her role in our world today. It is really important to have that because women can do a lot. They are just super. They have a power. If you give a woman the power of love and respect, she will be able to do everything for you in return, as a son, a husband, a friend. They’re magnificent.”
The women in Matta’s painting lack distinct features so that the figures in the work can represent all women.