For him artistic creativity is a divine gift. It is an innate talent that can be brushed up with mere practice and experiments. It is an expression of inner feelings and life experiences.
K V Noufal, an Indian expatriate from Kerala, is a water colour artist and art teacher. He comes from a family that faced lots of financial challenges when he was a kid. His talent was however recognisable at a very young age and he went on to study art at the university level.
During schooling in Thiruvangoor, a village in Kerala, he took deep interest in arts as he was duly motivated and inspired by the works of his art teachers. He completed his professional training from Calicut Universal Arts in 1996.
Community recently spoke to Noufal, who is an art teacher at Shantiniketan Indian School, about his interest in art, works, and thoughts about art.
“There was a culture centre close to my house. Young children used to learn dance and music there. One day, a teacher from the centre noticed me making a drawing on a wall with charcoal. He informed my father about my artistic talent and urged him to let me study art,” said Noufal.
The talented artist always felt the need to financially support his family. “I did not get a regular job soon after completing my university studies. Being the eldest son, I needed to earn money. I started doing wall chalking and painting — painting stories on the walls of different schools in my area. After some time, I got a job at a nursery school. It was finally in 2009 that I got the art teacher’s job in Qatar.”
The artist did not start painting regularly till he joined the school in Qatar. “I got a lot of encouragement and appreciation from the principal of the school for my creative strain. I have taken part in many exhibitions in India, Qatar and other Gulf countries. I have made over 5,000 paintings and continue to enjoy my work.”
Noufal primarily paints with water colours. “I love water colours. From the beginning, I have been into these colours. I have tried other materials, but I find real enjoyment and satisfaction with water colours.”
The artist has been predominantly portraying rural life in India and modern architecture in Qatar. “I come from a rural area. I grew up living very close to nature. I am often nostalgic about my childhood memories and experiences, and revisit them through my paintings. I bring out nature in raw and its connection with human beings.
“As for Qatar, I have portrayed different mosque architectures in the country. I am fascinated by both the old and modern infrastructure of Qatar.”
For Noufal, art is a passion and dedication. “It is an expression of one’s own experiences chained together in an attractive manner. It [art] takes shape within an artist based on the personal experiences related to the outside world.
“Artistic creations should be able to influence people [viewers] and lead them to right thinking and action. A creative piece gets complete when it serves the purpose of bringing different people together. Art, for me, is actually an expression of inner feelings and reaction to outside experiences.”
As an art teacher, Noufal considers art a language and medium of expression. “It is the language of colours and images. A child can learn much better through art forms and artistic illustrations. Every child is attracted more by colours and images than verbal communications. The impressions created on a child’s mind by colours and images are long lasting. Not only the art but also the teachers of other subjects can make the learning process effective by using different art forms and techniques. The young minds learn pretty quickly by means of visualising a story or a concept. The majority of the young students carries an earnest desire to make an artistic performance. I value this desire among my students. It helps me get connected with them in a routine class. This connection gives me a sense of professional satisfaction as a teacher.”
Noufal deems artistic creativity more as talent than skill. “No-one can teach [force] art, but everyone can learn it. The style of students learning art differs from that of grownups. Adults have varied experiences in life and they have different reasons for learning or pursuing art. Children, however, learn art for its sheer enjoyment and satisfaction. As a teacher, I identified students who have artistic talent through my interaction with them. These interactions are done both directly and indirectly. There are a lot of ways to identify their talent. For example, from the way they write, arrange their personal things, do some craft work etc.
The art teacher is all praise for the art scene of Qatar. “It is a country that welcomes art and artists irrespective of their backgrounds. There is always something taking place related to art here. It promotes art and encourages artists. One gets a chance to see a lot of exhibitions and art competitions. Even at schools there are numerous art contests. There are beautiful art galleries and museums here. Katara is really a hub of art and cultural activities. “Usually, a teacher’s work is confined to the school campus but as an art teacher the encouragement and support I get from my principal — Dr Subash Nair — my students and their parents is amazing. This becomes possible only because Qatar favours and values art. I love Qatar because it was the home of late Indian artist M F Husain.
Noufal has plans to use his income as an artist for charity purposes. “Artistic talent is a gift given by the Almighty. I don’t want to waste it. I consider it as my responsibility to extend the benefit of my gift to other people, who are badly in need of support to keep their life going. I have already started contributing to charity organisations from the earnings that I have from my artwork. Now, I am seriously thinking of forming an association of artist solely for the purpose of charity work. I am also planning to create a YouTube channel to spread my artistic creations and attract more people to buy these paintings and ultimately to contribute to charity.”
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