Life can be stressful and overfilled with mundane tasks. To find balance and make sense of the world, people search for things that give their lives a sense of purpose. This can come as relationships, faith, sports, hobbies, or (as you will hear in this podcast) art.
For some foreign artists, having a creative outlet helps them process the feelings of being a foreigner. Sometimes that outlet is speaking directly about these emotions as Naomi does in her blog Almost Bananas. She describes the feeling of writing about homesickness as “cathartic.” Less directly, Naomi blends her past and present in her professional cooking.
Having a camera in hand has helped Piotr from Poland find a Slovakia he never otherwise would have seen. “You know, when you come somewhere, you’re on the surface.” Piotr lamented of the typical foreigner experience. However, once he was granted access to ordinary institutions like schools or even the water department, he understood what life is like for average Slovaks.
Creating art may relieve an itch, but it doesn’t always pay the bills. Unfortunately, this is especially true for foreign artists. Slovakia’s art scene can be an exclusive club where it helps to know other established artists. This, naturally, is impossible for most foreigners.
Sharon from Malaysia finds that selling her beautiful creations in the art markets fun but challenging. Back home, she can engage with potential customers, but in Slovakia she feels forced to “look down” and hope that her work sells itself. Sharon also feels that her unique “cute, anime” style to be unfamiliar to most Slovaks. Although she has found some interest in the younger crowds.
Nevertheless, all of these artists persevere. The contributions foreign artists offer to society are often overlooked, but their impact is undeniable. They use their talents to not only satisfy themselves but also to bring joy and a piece of themselves and their home culture to Slovakia.
Thank you to my guests Sharon Sen, Naomi Huzovicova, and Piotr Gaska
You can see their work here:
This episode and my series on the migrant experience have been made with support from Fjuzn, a program of the Milan Simecka foundation. Please follow them online at:
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