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I feel drawn into the worlds Njanshi Lua creates and I think you will too! In this images post, we hear from Njanshi Lua about what compels her to create and some loving words of encouragement to others. But first, here is a small sampling of her captivating work:
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hey! My name is Njanshi Lua and I am from the Netherlands, but have been living in Belgium for over 7 years now. I come from a warm, creative and mixed family, with my mum being a Dutch Baha’i, and my dad being Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu. My parents gave me and my brother a loving and safe space to grow up in, where service to others was a given and expressing oneself through art was encouraged. Although being mixed has enriched my life and contributed to me being open minded and interested in other cultures, I never really felt truly Dutch nor Tamil. Not that I was in an identity crisis or anything, but deep down I always had this need to fit in.
I studied International Development and specialized in Humanitarian Aid and Conflict Response. For my masters I decided to move to Manchester, it is there where I learned more about the Faith, joined the neighbourhood activities, and started to feel less different, or saw that being different was actually good. My journey in trying to fit in changed into being more myself. On the 1st of March I declared myself Baha’i. I fell in love with the Faith by serving together with friends in Manchester and striving to put Baha’u’llah’s teachings of true friendship and unity into practice. I found a path that made sense to me and was excited to continue walking it, I just didn’t expect how much art would play a role.
Since I was young I always enjoyed being creative. However with parents that were almost professional artists, I was shy to explore it further. I remember thinking my drawings were too simple. It therefore came as a surprise when a few years ago art found a way back into my life. I was burdened with work and wanted to be more in touch with myself. So I started to read and meditate intensely on the Holy writings. Before I knew it my head started to spin with images and I was compelled to pick up my pencil again.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your art? What media do you use?
I am a visual artist and at the moment I make fine art. It was during a freestyle drawing session at my parents’ home 5 years ago that I stumbled into ‘my style’ of drawing.
I like to use black pen that allows me to be precise and draw in detail. I enjoy drawing mountains, plants, animals and people from imagination and I like it when my drawings aren’t realistic. Besides the black pen, I have been experimenting with Ecoline ink. I love how it is such a liberating material, it is a symbol for me to let go.
Most of my drawings have a clear border, similar to an egg. The egg shaped pieces represent something fragile and precious. Everything that I draw inside it is part of my soul that is nurtured to grow. It allows me to be how I want to be, to be different and still feel protected.
The black pen and ink are my most favourite art medium, but more recently I have also tried to experiment with the medium of macrame. Whenever my mind is too busy and I don’t find the energy to put pen to paper, I work with cord and make macrame wall hangings. I like how the ropes feel in my hands and how the knots together make this beautiful pattern.
I never went to an art school, and feel blessed that so many artists are generous enough to share tools and tips and tricks that have helped me to improve my art and explore different art styles or mediums. To me art is a way to express myself and go on an inward journey. I don’t care much for the end result, and if I make a ‘mistake’ I leave it. I never redo a drawing. My art gives me a space where my soul can wander.
What inspires you to create?
My artwork is inspired by beauty: beauty that I see in my daily life, when I go for a walk in nature, when I am conversing with someone on the street, when I am listening to music or read uplifting poems… Beauty is something you can find everywhere. Other artists also inspire me to create more and to experiment.
Most of my drawings are inspired by the Holy Writings–that truly is such a deep beautiful ocean that touches my heart again and again. I need to be immersed in the words of the Bab, Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha to keep connecting to and feeding my soul. I can meditate more on these Writings while I draw and I feel I reach a deeper understanding.
As many of my drawings are inspired by a quotation, it has become a natural and powerful way for me to teach the Faith.
The purpose of my art is to offer the viewer a connection. A connection with their inner self, with their surroundings and with each other. Our soul needs nourishment and I believe art is vital in uplifting our souls and to live a more meaningful life.
What words of encouragement would you like to share with other artists?
It is the journey that is the most rewarding when being creative. So enjoy the process, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Because really what is a mistake? Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to draw, but along the way I end up with something else. Something more beautiful and profound.
It can be helpful to think about what inspires you. Seek out what helps you to get in that flow and tap into it. Maybe at the moment you are keeping your art to yourself and using it to release your emotions. But there will come a time that you will progress in your art, because by doing you will become better. And when that time comes you might have the need to share with others. Think about what you want to convey with your art, it is such a powerful tool to connect souls.
We all walk at our own pace. It can be challenging, no matter if you are a beginner or an expert, and that is ok. Try to discover your pace. Be inspired by others, but be careful when you start to compare. There are so many artists, so many talented people that touch our souls with their work. Everyone has something to offer and so do you. It is the journey of your soul, so don’t limit yourself, be bold, be free, and just have lots and lots of fun.
Thank you, Njanshi Lua, for taking the time to share this with us!
See more of Njanshi Lua’s art on her Instagram account.
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