When words fail … art speaks

Ghali Foster

Ghali Foster creates abstract works of art on plywood that serve as an outlet for her inner thoughts. Using art to make sense of circumstances, she would also include her hand-written poetry as a description to her masterpieces.

Self-expression through art

Ghali with her work of art.

For artists, art is a means of expression. When words fail, painting on canvases captures their emotions.

What they couldn’t say is expressed in great detail by the colours chosen and the drawn objects. Such were Ghali Foster and her art.

The 30-year-old, who has always been interested in the arts, recalls her very first drawing.

“I learnt how to hold a pencil in kindergarten. I would draw cartoons from the movies I watched on television. This went on in primary school and secondary school.”

Ghali had devoted the first quarter of her life to art — throughout college and even after graduating.

She has always been involved in art. Though she focuses on her work as a graphic designer, Ghali’s hidden emotions are laid within her masterpieces. Paintings on plywood – she felt the colours represented her deepest thoughts.

The use of plywood as a medium was an experiment, according to Ghali, who previously painted on paper and canvas.

“I started last January due to the pandemic. Expressing on plywood was experimental. I wanted to study the material and see how I could paint on it.”

She also disclosed that painting on plywood was a much-needed distraction during the lockdown.

A ‘What About Kuching’ workshop in 2018.

“I started also due to the pandemic. Expressing on plywood was a way to make sense of the situation.”

To further make sense of the situation, Ghali would attach a poem she wrote during the moment of expression.

“Painting and writing poems was intuitive. It all depends on my mood at that time, and what I’m feeling. Whether I am happy or sad. That’s when I decide on the colours. Everything is based on what I feel.”

Of abstract colours on plywood

The graphic designer said it can take anywhere between two and three weeks from the time she first had the idea to paint something new to the finished product.

“I will cut the wood once I have decided on the colours and shapes. After that, I’ll apply a layer of primer before colouring. I’ll keep adding and blending colours until I’m happy with the result.”

Art made using plywood was uncommon. Ghali, however, was able to create the ideal painting through a process of trial and error.

Sharing the material used, Ghali said she would obtain them at hardware stores. She will next measure the desired amount and cut it out with a saw. The artist said that the obstacles came from learning something outside of her comfort zone.

“Plywood was something that I was not familiar with. Using it has taught me to be more experimental. I’m not used to this material, but I like to challenge myself. These challenges are what kept me going,” she said.

Aside from that, Ghali said that her thoughts were another obstacle she had to conquer.

“It gets in the way as I will always try to figure out changes to make the painting look better. Sometimes I’ll think that I should change it this way, or maybe it can be a different colour, or the shape is a little bit off.”

The use of thicker plywood is something Ghali expects to be able to do in the future.

The process of finishing an art piece.

When asked what the difference was, she explained that a much thicker wood has different colour intensity.

Nonetheless, she continues to paint her emotions on plywood until she finds a different medium to express herself.

Visit her social media pages, Something Sweet 1991 on Facebook and Instagram, to view her most recent masterpieces.

Ghali Foster’s Masterpieces

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