• Beth Cherryman

"Art is what you make of it"


Art is what you make of it, according to Berlin painter and performance artist Juwelia Soraya, both in terms of working as an artist and in art’s interpretation.


“Sometimes I think I am not an artist, I only paint, I have painted all my life.”


Known for her colourful, pastel paintings which she describes as showing a naivety and playfulness often lost to adults, her work commonly depicts dogs, cakes and various representations of love.


But she feels it’s important not to tell people what to think of it, more her role as an artist is to put her work out into the world and allow people to reflect on it as they will.


“It is what it is, you have to see it for yourself...I can’t say what it is.”


Juwelia opened her gallery St St Studio in Neukölln eleven years ago, she says it’s important for artists to have a place to show their work.


But she is also aware she managed to capitalise on a time in Berlin when rents were affordable for artists.


If she were starting again today, in the current market, Juwelia believes it would be nearly impossible for her to have the space she has now.


She feels for artists trying to carve out a space to exhibit their work these days, but is convinced the commonality between creatives is the ability to make opportunities for themselves.


The painter added that gentrification is very apparent day to day in Neukölln and it is pushing some artists out.


“This district had many, many galleries. Now I see in the Newspaper there will be an exclusive hotel where before there were artists, the building owners kick the artists out. But as an artist you can work always, you do what you will do, you can sing on the street, artists must find their niche.”


Learn more about Juwelia Soraya here.


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