Studying art at a university is not enough in itself to produce artists, Raad said. She believes students need to develop their skills through self-education, so that they can develop their own artistic visions.
Not every painter is “necessarily an artist,” and studying at an art college “does not guarantee a real artist will graduate,” she said. “Painters are many, but an artist is unique.”
The fine arts department at the Lebanese University offers students a variety of theoretical and practical subjects, she said. What makes the difference for students, however, is whether they have the enthusiasm to self-educate and follow up on what is taught in art schools. Only then can they find their own angle and have the ability to renew themselves.
As for teaching contemporary art, Raad explained that university studies focus more on the traditional techniques, but professors also encourage students to explore. “Our university supports students’ pursuit of their passion for art through research and exposure to new and global experiences,” she said.
“This is what our professors supported while teaching us,” she said. “I support research and knowledge too. In my academic career, I encourage the students’ tendency to explore and raise their spirit of experimentation.”
She also thinks the Internet today provides a great opportunity to access the world’s latest art trends. “Previous generations did not have such an opportunity,” she said. “Online learning has also become very supportive for the new generation of art students.”
‘Faces in a Row’
Raad said that the faces depicted in her latest exhibition are flashes and remnants of features that stayed in her mind from past events, rather than imaginary ones. She described them as “a series of faces that fermented in my head and came out spontaneously.”