Artist Adeela Omar was 8 when she started experiencing visions and extensively questioning her temporal reality. Adeela moved to the UK in 2013 to study Psychology, but ended up job hopping in marketing. After carrying a baggage of emotional trauma and a depressive career in the corporate world, Adeela resorted to art therapy in 2017, which allowed for a mental breakthrough and a spiritual awakening. With painting as her meditative, sacred and spiritual practice, Adeela embarked on a healing journey – Art kept her alive. Living in London, she devoted herself to oil painting since 2017, without formal training in art. Eroticism, divinity, esoteric symbolism, philosophy and psychology are strong influences in her work and in her embodiment as a human being.
What’s your artistic background?
I am what you would call a self taught artist. I do not care about introducing myself as that because I was born with the DNA of an artist. I’ve explored glass painting, pottery and crafting paper jewellery when I was young and my parents always encouraged creativity. There was, however, a disconnect from the artist in me for a while, where I was lost in the conditioning of society. It wasn’t until I was 17 when my mother’s schizophrenia and depression catapulted me into an abyss. I remember locking myself in my bedroom, burying my pain in black and white sketches and charcoal drawings. Age 17 to 23 were colorless years for me with aching misery, reflected in the blank stare of my mother’s eyes. That was a time I punished and forbade myself from drawing or painting with colours ever again in my life. It was in 2017 when I resorted to art therapy that colours started communicating to me. I heard alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue (my two favourite pigments) calling my name and the first symbols being created from my hand re-connected me to the innocence and purity of my childhood and the DNA of an artist. I am currently based in London and devoted to oil painting.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
The pursuit of beauty and devotion to truth is integral to the work of an artist.
What role does the artist have in society?
A society feeds, breeds and thrives on artists. Society however, does not have a role in the life of an artist.
What art do you most identify with?
To identify would be to defy, deny and reject the beauty and mystery of all that is artistic. You are asking me to commit a sin as an artist with that question.
What themes do you pursue?
I do not go about strategically or rationally pursuing themes. One might say divinity, symbolism, psychedelia or eroticism are underlying themes in my work.
What’s your favourite art work?
I do not have favourites but I like art that is sincere. ‘Orpheus before Plato and Persephone’, a painting by François Perrier comes to mind that swept me off my feet. Paintings by Jean Delville, Sadequain, Francis Bacon, Dali and Picasso also captivate and enchant me.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Art inspires real-life; it is not the other way around. My art is the unseen that you see materialized in real-life.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I have worked various jobs – From being a waitress to a high level marketing and communication executive in sectors such as luxury lifestyle, travel, sales, city council, environment and hospitality.
Picasso’s spirit nudges me every time I am asked this question. And to that, my response is, why NOT art?
What is an artistic outlook on life?
I cannot tell you the artistic outlook on life. Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I have received comments comparing my art to the works of Alex Grey, Dali and Picasso. Also, someone once remarked that my art is theatrical. But praise can be tragic when you know you have created something otherworldly and no one can truly validate it; not even the artist. That’s the birth place of an artist’s dilemma.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
I do not have an answer for this. But I do like oysters, mussels, steaks, red wine, and Adil Omar’s music.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
The feeling of loneliness is a tragedy. It is one’s failure and death. The birthplace of great art is solitary; never lonely. And I treasure solitude.
What do you dislike about the art world?
Likes and dislikes – a concept that is not as black and white as one might perceive.
What do you dislike about your work?
How can one not love all that is mysteriously and divinely orchestrated?
What do you like about your work?
The mystery of it all.
Should art be funded?
What role does art funding have?
Funding art is necessary. One must protect artists at all costs.
What is your dream project?
Each project feels like a dream.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
None. It is a tragedy for me to have been compared to other artists.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
It is not a place.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Geniuses and true artists do not hand out the best piece of advice. They live them.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
Perhaps it would be better to say that one of my goals is to not live life professionally. My art is not my profession. It is simply my life, and will be my death.
Come what may, I am here.