Mother's Day Inspiration
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“But there's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin.”
― Mitch Albom
As an artist, many people ask me what is my biggest source of inspiration for my work. I often say that I get the spark of an idea from reading spiritual prose, and poetry, from travelling and learning about cultural and religious symbols; in essence from “stories.” I don’t have to look so far outside my own life to realize that one of my biggest sources of inspiration, and the story that continues to nurture and tend to my creative flame is about my mom, Faye Sharabi. Her spirituality, creativity, kindness, patience and acceptance has made my sisters and I who we are today.
Although she is not an artist she has art inside her. She grew up playing the piano on a small farm in South Dakota, one of her only sources of entertainment in a house that was several miles away from it’s closest neighbor. Their life was simple and she spent most of her childhood outside, playing in the fields, arm in arm with only her imagination. This clean environment of solitude grounded her to the earth and cultivated her patient introspection.
My mom is purely spiritual. She was raised around the modest doctrine of the Lutheran Church, untainted by complex religious rituals and superstition. She was instilled with the Mid-western ethic, in which a humble, routine life of hard work was one to be coveted. Her Germanic, Nordic ancestry has impacted her sense of determination and commitment but looking at her face it’s hard not to imagine, in her striking cheekbones and small twinkling eyes, that Native tribal lineage runs through her veins. She has no native blood, but it is certain that the spirits of the Lakota Sioux adopted little Faye when they saw her playing amongst their winds in their fields.
And she became a child of the wind, following it on any adventure presented to her. She married my Muslim, Palestinian father when she was only 21, never before having met a foreigner; her only knowledge of Arabs and the holy land stemming from what she learned in the bible. He whisked this Sioux princess far away from her family first to New Jersey and then to Greece, which in turn brought her all the way to Bahrain. During some difficult times, it was mother who actually encouraged my father to take jobs abroad despite distance and separation from her familiar serenity.
She is so caring of others. My mom was a Math teacher in the same school for 25 years and every student she has taught can attest to her kindness and selfless nature. She has become a well-respected Bahrain institution, often elevating our significance in the minds of all those people whose eyes light up when they say that they had Mrs. Sharabi as their teacher. Yet she was never too busy to teach my sisters and I. She gave us so much of her time, her presence, her love and her understanding: beautiful, rich soil in which we were able to grow, thrive, trust and believe. We are truly blessed to have her as our mother.
I think sometimes mom, you don’t realize how much you have inspired a beautiful, open world for your daughters, where creative possibility is endless. Your spirit has been transferred into us and has become part of our lives and our art. Always continue to shine. Happy mother’s day!
- Karima Sharabi