“PLEASE TOUCH,” a sign placed by Maya Eid, the Lebanese artist, in most of her exhibitions. “I love adding interaction between my artworks and the people where the creations would move and turn, sometimes each side showing a different story,” she says.
It all started when she was 10 years old, going hunting with her family in the Bekaa Valley. “What I remembered the most from the trip were the Bedouin we saw on the side of the road. It was the first time I see women dressed fully in black with golden chains with tattoos on their foreheads. It was truly a fascinating sight. The moment I arrived home I worked on my first model, a simple recreation of the Bedouins’ faces using Play-Doh,” she smiles while showing me her work. Her parents, then, enrolled her in a drawing class where she officially embarked on her journey of art and design.
Maya attended university in Montreal where she studied Textile and Design. After receiving her diploma she returned home, teaching at several universities, such as USJ and USEK, and becoming the head of design and production at the Lebanese NGO L’artisan Du Liban.
What is one motive in studying design?
“I always sucked in school, especially in Arabic. I was so bad at it that teachers would lose hope. In 10th grade my Arabic teacher was Madame Esper. I remember she asked me once what I did last night and I kept swearing that I studied hard. She then looked at me saying, ‘I meant your designs, what did you work on last night?’ Since that day, I would show her, after every class, all of my work. She always encouraged me to do more, especially sculptures. I remember her always begging me to pass my baccalaureate, to be able to graduate and study what I love,” she says laughing. “ She was a definite push influencing me to follow my dream.”
For Maya, art is an ongoing process. Thus, she will always see herself as an aspiring artist since her work and ideas are constantly developing. “Two things I hate the most,” she emphasizes, “First, never call me an artist. I try everyday to become one, coming up with new artworks and ideas. Many discoveries and trials separate me from officially becoming an artist. Second of all, I never fancied exhibitions, as I’d always feel that my work was never done. New ideas sprout when I see my work on display. Therefore limiting my artwork to previous ideas is something I despise.”
When observing her work, you notice floods of people. “I feel like each person would have something unique to say,” she utters, as her eyes twinkle, absentmindedly. What are you thinking of? “Images of the metro full of people and their interesting stories and backgrounds.”
The signature of Maya’s artwork is merging different pieces together, as well. She is all about recycling. “I believe that every object has a story, broken or burnt doesn’t erase that story. This is why I tend to snatch every thing thrown, storing it in one of the many boxes,” she claims opening up boxes filled with computer parts, cut out pictures, pieces of wood…etc. “The secret is to always be curious,” she says, “you must wonder how random objects would look together.”
Maya Eid is an artist who has favorite garbage bins all around the city. “My favorites are mostly around the factories in Mkalles where they throw away printed works,” she says.
Seated in her room, I found out that a lot of the furniture was obtained from different garbage bins. “The couch you’re currently sitting on was from a garbage bin in Bourj Hammoud. I remember almost getting into a fight with a man who also wanted to take them,” she says laughing. The room felt as if it was coming to life; extremely messy, with boxes covering the floor and a huge table cluttered with artwork in the making in the center of it all. The resounding message of the room is that creating a design can be done anywhere, anytime…