As the Ink Still Dries
Updated: Sep 17
There is a very peculiar feeling of uncertainty that comes over me as soon as the ink dries. Colors splashed across the painting; some made sense, others made none. It was not to be
deciphered for even I hadn’t the courage to explain what goes on my head as I paint.
In fact, I remembered the words my father had once told me when we were discussing the planning of paintings. He said, “I never have a plan. The demon of art just takes over and I’m no longer in control.”
Today was just one of those days for me. I deciphered the words. Demon is derived from the ancient Greek Daemon, and while I don’t recall the exact definition, I think the Daemon is another term for the muse. So, my father wasn’t all that wrong. That ‘demon’ took over; its hands held mine as I was left blind and disabled in my own body; moving against my own will, but willing nonetheless. Too difficult a definition? Well, you’re not the only one who is confused.
At the end, I discovered that the painting that I was working on was not that of the beautiful girl who walked on the red carpet by the café, no, it was of a crime scene and she was fleeing it. Of course, how else would the Daemon of my art decipher a mere scene of a beautiful lady?
The carpet was the blood that had trickled from her heels, and her white and gold dress had turned into a mess of purple and yellow that could only befit royalty. The only thing that I had managed to capture from the scene was the vacant gaze in her eyes.
And around her, the voices, the eyes and all the heads that had carefully watched her as she walked had vanished. The voices became voiceless, dulled out but the noise in my head; the clicking of her heels upon the carpet of blood.
Soon, I dropped my brush and wondered for a moment. Could this really be my work? I have always managed to capture scenes as they were with minor differences that only a keener eye would catch. This was not my art.
I imagined that this is how iconographers would think of the holy icons when they finish them. It was not their hand that was painting, but another’s; a divine touch that takes over their bodies, their hands, their minds and assumes control of their beings. I murmured to myself, “Only when that Daemon takes over, huh?” I remember my father and his words as I picked up the ink pen and signed. And even that had changed, for it was not my signature at all, but that of the Daemon that had taken over me.
Written by Amr Abbas.
Cover photo by Fía Yang.