If you recently visited Park Royal Hotel Singapore and appreciated the show 'The Dream I've Been Seeking', you would be no stranger to Emi Avora, an international artist who exhibited at various renowned museums and art spaces, a female entrepreneur with her own studio in Singapore, as well as a mother of two children, 6 and 4 years old. How does she juggle so many identities while keeping her creativity fresh?
To Emi, her art profession is a real passion and thus it is easier for her to be motivated, though, she does feel parental guilty at times by keeping her little ones out of her workplace.
Join us to walk into Emi's studio as well as her artistic parenthood.
Hi, I'm Emi Avora. Originally from Greece, I grew up on the island of Corfu and was exposed to the arts by my father who is an artist himself. I decided to study Fine Art and that took me to the UK where I studied, taught art and practiced as a freelance artist for many years.
I moved to Singapore about three years ago with my family and have been lucky to have found a studio and continue my art practice. I have two children, 6 and 4 years old that I try to expose to art as such as possible.
Art has been part of my life since I was very little and it is something I was always drawn to. I think making art encompasses a variety of skills and promotes a very fluid way of thinking which is unique. From coming up with ideas to practical making skills and from problem solving to organising an art studio, I really do enjoy all of it and could not think of anything else I would love to do more. It is not an easy journey but It can be very rewarding.
Art is my magic pill during the challenging times
I don’t think my children understand that having a great array of art materials at home, having someone to help them draw or simply having a parent that does not mind them making a mess is not always the norm. :P
Having creative skills helped me so much during the circuit breaker as our home became literally an art studio. It's not only a fun way to connect with my kids, but also a way to expand their imagination, increase their dexterity, knowledge of the world and self-expression. It's fantastic when we are all focused on creating something and using various materials to realise it.
Emi's kids, Hektor and Elena, are enjoying their time in the studio
Having said that, I am not so concerned about getting great outcomes and painting pretty pictures with them. I am more interested in giving them an experience and letting them explore. As soon as an art project becomes very instructed it stops being creative so I try to keep my own expectations down and give them tools to discover their own creative journey.
Finding the balance between individualism and parenting
I guess the most challenging part of parenthood is to retain my own identity as an individual as well as being a caring and loving parent for my kids. How does one decide the best way to do that?
It's a highly individual balance and for me it has been the hardest as either way I tend to feel guilty. Full dedications to parenthood means feeling guilty that I have abandoned my own needs and passions; too much dedication to my work and then I feel guilty I am not giving my children the attention they need.
Conquering would not be the right word as I am far from it but I am trying to manage this challenge by making sure I use my time efficiently and by trying to be clear with my timetable. Studio time is studio time and kids time is kids time (easier said than done!)
Emi in her art studio
Art is a real passion that I cannot do without
I am glad that my profession is a real passion - it is easier to be motivated about something I am passionate about. Art is simply something I cannot do without. So even if I have disappointments, time challenges or things are not going as planned, I always return to what I love the most which is working on my paintings.
Sometimes our environment and still lives that surround us say so much about ourselves. The art studio, whether its in a dedicated artist space or in a garage is always a precious, almost sacred space for the artist where they feel at ease to be themselves, play, explore and create.
That's also why ‘The Red Studio’ by Henri Marisse is my favourite artpiece. It is a self portrait through the painting of his art studio and his artwork. I love how everything has been simplified to block colours, the perspective has been distorted and some elements stand out while others don’t. We can also see that there has been a process of decision making as gaps between the red blocks of colour reveal other colours that were tried beforehand. I love also how this painting remains contemporary and we could relate to it although it was painted in 1911.
‘The Red Studio’ by Henri Marisse (1911). Credit to: Moma.org
Balancing having a family with my art practice has not been easy but I have discovered groups of women that are in the same situation and that inspires me but also helps me realise that I need to often be a bit kinder and less critical to myself.
Connect with mama Emi on Instagram (@erasmiavora) and visit her website to explore more of her artworks. Join her and over 1000 mothers in Singapore and around the world to pursue a happier parenting life with art.
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