Image Courtesy of Louisa Brouk
Image courtesy of Louisa Brouk

News 1 August 2020

Degree Show 2020: Meet this year's graduates - Louisa Brouk

Introduce yourself and your work. What ideas and themes are important to you?

For my final work, I decided to explore the many ways that Mother Mary is represented in different cultures. Her qualities transcend cultural differences and unite us all on an instinctive level. She is called the Mother because she is not only the mother of Jesus, but of all humans on Earth.

The reason I chose to explore Her multiculturalism is because I can personally relate to this aspect, having grown up with both French and Algerian culture.

Although there are many differences,it is clear that anyone can bond beneath the surface of civilisation, where human souls are essentially all the same.

What materials do you use? Why are they important to your practice?

For my painting technique I chose the traditional Russian Byzantine method of iconography.

Icon painting is about preserving tradition and passing it along generations, which is why I stayed as true to the age-old technique as possible.

My materials consisted of : a gesso board,[made with wood, marble dust and rabbit skin glue]natural pigments , egg tempera paint and squirrel brushes-all of which have been continuously used for hundreds of years. I also used pure gold leaves for gilding the Heavenly background of Mother Mary.

Describe your studio to us – what would we find?

A necessary mess.

How has the lock-down influenced your work? What new things have emerged in your work because of the restrictions?

I have to admit that at the beginning of lockdown I couldn't see any differences from my previous life. Slowly I had to adapt my way of working with everyone else always around in the house. I also had to learn how to overcome technical difficulties on my own as I had no opportunity to meet with an Iconography teacher for some guidance before the lockdown. However it gave me more time to fully focus and be immersed in my work.

What drew you to the School, and what do you want to remember about these last two years?

In a cafe I randomly met Tasleema Alam, who graduated from the school in 2009. I started taking amazing lessons with her; she was so caring towards me and really opened my eyes and heart to Traditional and Sacred Art. Through her I discovered what Beauty truly means. I gained a thirst for knowledge and understanding.

She taught me about the School and I realised that this was what I had been searching for.

I would like to remember the many wonderful people that I met and how they made my life's journey change for ever.

When we’re all able to be out in the world again, what are your hopes?

To continue my journey under Mother Mary's guidance and blessings and to make beautiful things.