Interviewed by Maroun Kassab
MK: Hi Blanca.
BH: Hi Moroun, thank you very much for this interview.
MK: Tell us a little about yourself and what interests you in art.
BH: Truth, that´s what interests me in art; anything that is born from real necessity, the kind of expression that one cannot contain. I love when I can feel it, but truth is not easy to practice or to find and, of course, sometimes I get lost. It is easy to get lost as an artist, sometimes even when you think you are successful, it does not means that you are in contact with truth.
MK: You were born in Venezuela but now live in Spain. What attracted you to Barcelona?
BH: The beach and the poetry scene. Barcelona is something between a city and a rural town; people are not obsessed with success and I like that. I like its anarchist past and the social nature of the Catalan people. I love the underground poetry movement which is very vivid and alive in Barcelona. Poets are generous and everyone has a space.
MK: Your work rotates around very precise subjects; feminism is obviously one of them which focuses on the role of women in art and society. Tell us a little about that.
BH: Women are still very oppressed in the art world; especially in painting. Men have represented women in painting as a subject of contemplation, but men don´t want women to be the ones who represent themselves. I try to defeat that with my portraits, performances and poems. The women in my portraits have a strong voice.
MK: It has been usually been agreed upon that a process of change can take one of two routes, a revolutionary one or an evolutionary one. How do you see your work within such a framework?
BH: I think both routes are valid, there is no evolution if you don´t question yourself and what is around you. As a person, I keep changing and I suppose my work does too, even though I´m not the type of person who needs something new all the time. My painting is just painting as a shout is just a shout, but the shout has a different intensity depending on the context. I will be happy if, by the end of my life, I feel that my painting is just a sincere expression. I think evolution is a beautiful development if it is real, but what is happening nowadays is that “evolution” is just a dark path dominated by the market. This happens in the art world and on many other levels.
MK: Tell us a little about your work in art therapy and social development.
BH: Well, I never mix my art with my work as an art therapist because they are two very different things. I’ve been working for the past three years with refugees and victims of torture as an art therapist. I have learnt a lot as a human being from the survivors and they have all my respect. It is outrageous to see countries and leaders supporting wars and then letting the refugees drown in the sea in their hundreds. The ones who need therapy are the leaders of the world as they disassociate their actions from the pain and sorrow they cause. There is no art that can represent the cruelty of those leaders, because it is a cruelty that relates just to them. But yes, there will always be a way for survivors to express the poetic dimension of human dignity that they represent. I feel much closer to those survivors than to any leader, curator or famous artist in this world.
MK: Your work mixes text and image to pervade a message, how did you arrive to such a combination and why?
BH: It´s like a voice I want to let out from the painting and maybe because I also love poetry it is difficult for me to renounce words. The words in my paintings are also a kind of transgression, some people feel sorry when I write on my portraits, but I like to be capable of practicing transgression on my own territory. I have to admit that I´m a little bit self-destructive and I like the feel of disobedience in my painting.
MK: What new projects are you currently working on?
BH: Now I´m creating a dance company with two professional dancers. I don´t know anything about dancing but I really like it, so we are working on a performance based on my poems and inspired by the work of dancers like Michael Clark and Trisha Brown among others.
MK: Any last words?
BH: If I was sufficiently strong, I would burn all my paintings and poems and start again. But I´m too narcissistic for that….It´s a shame, as that would be really interesting and refreshing for me.
MK: Thanks Blanca, keep us posted on your newest work.
BH: I will. Thanks to you again.
Blanca’s address on the web is:
Recent painting: http://blancahaddadstudio.wordpress.com/
Poems in English: http://tropipunkinenglish.wordpress.com/
You can contact Blanca at: