Every Painting Tells a Story


Each one of my paintings tells a story and I am happy to tell you the story behind each painting if you ask.




I am Elen Ghulam, an artist, an author and a flamenco dancer. Each one of these creative persuits inspire the rest. I take a childish joy in the act of painting. Emptying my mind to experience the thrill of discovery as I select my brushes, mix the colors, and start to nurture the growth of a painting as the first stroke puts out leaves and shoots until it has taken over.

Sometimes my words get stuck and the story no longer flows or dance movements feel pretentious and untrue but, when I paint, the ideas flow in color and shape and my brush dances for me. When I stand in front of a canvas I am in a place beyond language and choreography, where silence speaks volumes in place of the steady beat of a rhythm. In search of a sheer joy and a heart-expanding sense of beauty, each painting is a quest for my own pleasure and a way to communicate that feeling to others.

I work in acrylics, with vivid colors inspired by my Middle Eastern background and admiration for the work of Gustav Klimt. I draw inspiration from nature, dance and my writing. Frequently, as I write, an image forms from the words on the page and I find myself drawing it. I need to try to capture them, so many of my paintings are the graphical children of my stories.

The perfect outcome is illusive. Each painting is different than it was in my imagination. But that is the challenge and I hope that one day I shall paint one of these visions exactly as I imagine it.

I am the author of “Don’t Shoot! … I have another story to tell you” – a memoir of living between east and west. I am currently working on a novel which I hope to have finished in 2012. My short stories have been published in Geist, Adbusters, and featured on CBC Radio 1. I am a passionate blogger at www.ihath.com.



October 2011, Federation of Canadian Artists, AIRS group exhibit, Vancouver BC.

August 2011, Beaumont Art Gallery, Vancouver BC.

June 2011, Generation One Art Exhibit, UBC’s Irving K Barber Learning Center, Vancouver BC. Won the People’s Choice Award.