Andrea Ignacio’s Artwork has a bug influence from magazines and the idea of personal evolution. Interested and intrigued to learn more, FACT’s Shabana Adam, caught up with the Bahrain-Based Artist to find out what sparks her creativity and artistic style…

When we found out that Bahrain’s newest arts exhibition is somewhat inspired by the life of a magazine, we just had to meet the lady behind the striking work. Andrea Ignacio is just like you and me; when she’s finished reading and holding onto a copy of a magazine for so long, she’s overcome with a little guilt every time she has to throw one away. That’s all of us, right? This is what led to Andrea’s current exhibition, Periodical Reincarnation, on display at InTouch Gallery in Bahrain.

“The idea of Periodical Reincarnation, literally reflected in the title, stems from the odd sense of guilt I feel every time I throw away a magazine,” Andrea says. “It seems like their value, and the lifetime of the images within, is so short lived and I wanted to find a way to give longer life to what I loved most in magazines rather than simply moving on to the next one,” she continues. “I’m also constantly in the process of personal evolution, as many people are, so the title reflects where I am now too.”

Visitors will be met initially, from a distance, by abstract swathes of colours. Up close they’ll find a tsunami of individual images culled from dozens of magazines, including a jello hand grenade, an antique electric chair, dozens of animals and hundreds of patterns. “My hope is that there is at least one piece for every viewer that brings up a feeling, memory or emotion, without them necessarily being able to say why,” Andrea explains.

Surprisingly, Andrea has never strived to be an artist. Instead, she loves looking at, learning about and collecting art. She believes that everybody learns things differently, and that the arts is a fundamental part of rounding out how we teach and how we learn. “I had just accepted decades ago that I wasn’t actively artistic and that my talents were more cerebral or written, than visual,” she tells us. “This entire thing is as surprising to me as can be. That said, I believe the arts in general are as fundamental to wellbeing as science and math are judged to be, in fact, more so.

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“Languages and math are easier if you have studied music. Choir and playing an instrument, something I did throughout childhood, and other performing arts teach discipline, cooperation and confidence,” she adds. “Art inspires expression, consciously and unconsciously, when we’re simply letting it come out, and being able to have that outlet is healthier for our wellbeing than simply pouring over reading, writing, andarithmetic textbooks and rigidly being required to memorise facts.”

Andrea’s work, particularly in this exhibition, is definitely not your typical piece of art. Far from a beautiful canvas painting, this exhibition takes on a rather edgy and unusual use of materials to achieve an interesting finish that will intrigue viewers to think, feel and react.

“The work is mostly monochromatic, single-medium collage,” Andrea says. “I use only canvas, decoupage/collage glue and images from magazines. I come from a very artistic and creative family and my mother taught art before she was married, but out of six kids I’ve always been the one who cannot draw, didn’t create anything as a child and does not have any artistic practice,” she admits.

“I’ve always had the imagination, but only in recent years have I started experimenting with manifesting my own ideas. Doing decoupage is something I learned about from my late sister and a few years ago I made jewellery boxes, frames and other small items as gifts. Collage is just an extension of this,” Andrea says. Andrea’s artistic style is one that is hugely inspired by colours, with her original intention for Periodical Reincarnation to simply showcase a gorgeous flow of light to dark, and patterns. But the pieces turned into something entirely different after they were assembled. She also limits herself intentionally and doesn’t customcut or manipulate any of the pieces unless absolutely necessary. “I want the art to become what it is supposed to be, rather than trying to make the images conform to my ideas,” she explains. “The only exception is The Green Man, where each image I used was cut in half.”

As a bit of an underdog artist turned first time exhibitor, Andrea’s advise for other budding creatives is, simply, “just start”. She says: “Sit down, grab the macaroni or water paint or clay and start playing around with what you see in your head. Most of the obstacle to creating is that first step and once that is over the possibilities grow drastically,” Andrea adds. “There’s no need to spend a lot of money, take a class, or even be perfect. All you need to do is start creating, and your path will reveal itself.” We can definitely get onboard the freespirited, spontaneous art train; you should get a ticket too and find your way to new, imaginative places! ✤

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GO: Curated by Stafford & Sharabi Art Consultants, Periodical Reincarnation is on display at InTouch Gallery, InTouch Integrated Chiropractic Spine Centre, Bahrain, until the end of December.