Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Cornwall, Ontario – Yafa Goawily is an artist and the queen bee of the local Cornwall Art Hive. She was raised in Egypt by an artistic family, started doing performing arts, and then studied Fine Arts at Alexandria University. In addition, she’s taken courses in theatre, dance, and storytelling. Now she offers workshops focused on the arts. “I have been trying to travel as much as possible to learn and share what I know,” Yafa explains.
Most recently, Yafa has been focusing on how the arts can heal. “I’m so grateful that my journey is growing, and I know I’m fascinated by working with diversity. I worked to create Healing Arts and development through Art programs with organizations and communities to build better connections between each other,” Yafa elaborated.
Recently Yafa Goawily unveiled a piece of artwork called “One Circle” at the Cornwall Police Service. Also, Yafa will be leading a belly dancing workshop series at A Lil’ Pole Fitness.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – What is your preferred artistic medium, and what do you like about it?
“My favourite material to use or to create would be mixed media. Mixed media is my favorite and has always been, to be honest. I feel freedom, and I can play with different materials. I have a chance to create something new all the time. Also, I have to mention body painting which has a magical effect to help to connect with people and heal by adding some love to our skin through art. However, if I must choose, it would be the mixed media collages and body painting”.
2 – What was it like going to Art School? Would you recommend that to others?
“Yes, I attended a Fine Arts College in Egypt, and I have been studying art for six years, and I think it’s a very important experience. In my opinion, I will say everybody can seek their own way. Your own research, your own passion, studying your own way, creating specially the art that you love”.
3 – What makes your work unique and authentically you?
“What makes my art very connected to myself is I actually do what I feel. So I’m not a fan of doing art that I can take pictures of, like rivers and trees. I love it, and I like the idea of the classic way of painting, of course, but I choose to work with feelings, and I’m trying to spread healing energy through the work. I work with true intentions, which are my beliefs, and through that, I find myself feeling more and connecting more with myself and others. It’s magical to create art in a spiritual direction.”
4 – Do you collaborate with other artists, or do you generally work alone?
“I love working with other artists. I love working with other organizations where we might inspire and encourage each other. I don’t see composition in art as everybody is very special and can create their own way. So copying from another artist or having a competition doesn’t make sense. I feel art is a space of freedom where we can just be free to be our authentic selves. Of course, I would always love to work with other artists, and I have always been a team member. If I may even help or support others, I will. I am always encouraging them to work together. And since I came to Cornwall, I have been trying to make those collaborations. For example, with The Seeker we did a print book. We created the Cornwall Art Hive with five artists and Your Arts Council (YAC). With the city, we created the art wall in the park, and I’m looking for more connections to build in our community”.
5 – What are the challenges that you face as an artist?
“The big challenge I will say is that art is still not always considered to be very important. For example, when we have a shortage of funds or can’t afford the space or art materials. I found that, in general, to be a big challenge to continue art projects. But I have a very big hope that after the pandemic, we know now that food and shelter are needed, but we also need to focus on our mental health. All the nations and history were built through art that lives to make humans better, to make us know ourselves and who we are – to connect better to ourselves and get the best out of ourselves and our community. I hope we have a big wave of awareness through different types of art. We all know now that art is very important”.
For more information on Yafa, visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/yafacrafts