Interview: Raghad Odeh
Luca Curci talks with Raghad Odeh during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 8TH EDITION, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Raghad Odeh has a B.A. in Television studies from UAEU. She has a deep passion for creating children’s books and stories. Raghad created 7 children’s books, one of which was chosen by the Ministry Of Education in the United Arab Emirates to become part of the Kinder Garden curriculum. Soon after graduation, she went on to establish the Sadeem Animation Studio which aims to create fun, creative, and educational children’s films and books.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Raghad Odeh – When I was younger I adored reading illustrated books and watching cartoons. I was blown away by how illustrated images can be a window to a new world. One thing was missing, however. There weren’t many characters that looked Arab, ate Arabic food, or lived in Arabic houses. Since then, I developed my own ambitions to create my own worlds with that exact tool just so that I am able to make something Arabic children can relate to. I want to become a source of creativity and inspiration for others, especially those closest to me.
LC – What are you currently working on?
RO – I have a big goal to achieve, that is why I need the help of other talented people. Building up the Sadeem Animation Studio will enable me to make more children’s books and films, and help other artists find work doing what they love as well.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
RO – The execution is easy but the idea isn’t. It takes time to find a unique idea to work on… At the same time, you can never force an idea. It has to come to you naturally.
LC – What is your creative process like?
RO – I suppose my process is generally very laid back. When it’s my own work I don’t think too hard about it. I keep my thoughts open for anything that inspires me in my daily life. Meanwhile, I doodle in my sketchbook every time I feel creative. Sometimes I write notes on my phone of the ideas for scenes or characters whenever my sketchbook isn’t around. Then, if I sketch an idea that I like I’ll draw it digitally. It’s not always like this though. Sometimes sketching randomly on the computer can create happy accidents.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
RO – One of my favourite things about being an artist is the ability to meet other creative people at events. However, with Covid, this became too difficult. But slowly things are returning to normal. For now, we stay connected through social media and occasionally meet in online workshops and events.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
RO – The concept ‘Mixing Identities’ made me think about mixing the identities of a pet and a little girl. Thus I participated in the artwork “Big Friend”. It features a little girl reading for the much larger giant rat friend.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
RO – My works are inspired by curiosity, imagination, and childhood wonder. Especially my animated short (“What are you afraid of?”) that is about Noor, a young girl that is ready to face her worst fear to save her best friend. Her imagination is making her experience an adventure. Just like what we all did when we were young.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
RO – ITSLIQUID GROUP is a wonderful platform for artists and architects to get their works known and displayed. As well as for art enthusiasts to discover works that they appreciate.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
RO – It was an insightful experience and I look forward to future events from ITSLIQUID GROUP. I am happy that my works were featured in Venice.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
RO – Definitely, it’s a wonderful opportunity for artists to interact and learn from each other, and possibly inspire one another.