Sharing your art, whether it be a piece of writing or a sculpture opens you up to a world of criticism. You have decided to share an intimate part of yourself publically. In an ideal world, everything you have ever created would be received well by everyone, but of course, in reality, it does not work that way. People are different; diverse. Everyone likes different things – that’s part of the beauty of life. This means that ultimately not everyone will like what you create. That’s what it means to be an artist, to put yourself out there knowing there will be criticism.

I have had my fair share of criticism. I am not immune to it. During the rise of the contemporary art scene in Qatar, many lacked confidence in artists and many more lacked faith in women, specifically. We were belittled and pushed aside. Still, none of the negative comments stopped me from pursuing what I loved. It did not matter whether I was a woman or an artist. If society said women did not belong in the art world I only pushed for my work to be more visible. Criticism and negative opinions will always exist. Whether we allow those comments to impact us is our choice.

People will always have things to say. If any successful artist had let those comments get to them, they probably would not be where they are today, including myself. I grew up in an environment with many restrictions. I was told that it was not acceptable for me to pursue art, especially as a woman.

There seemed to be no place for me. Eventually, I decided I was not going to let those restrictions define me. Art is an integral part of my life and I wanted to show the world what I could do.

I put myself in society’s line of fire and opened myself up to any and all criticism. Some were good and some were not, but my hard work paid off and I achieved multiple dreams and goals of mine.

Artists are brave and unapologetic; putting your work out into the world is perhaps one of the most admirable things one can do. Allowing people to give their opinion on visual manifestations of your soul is indeed terrifying, but it is important to take it and grow rather than cower and hide. There will always be positive and negative reactions to our choices, but as long as you create what you love, you’ll stay on the right track.