Muhiba Botan: Chaos and photography are at “Close Up”

Muhiba Botan
Here is our interview of Muhiba Botan, a young photographer who will be part of the “Close Up” event next 19th and 20th of May. Check this out !

Airplane Mode: Could you describe your artistic world in 3 words?

Muhiba: I can only think of one word and that would be chaotic. From concept to final piece, it’s always a chaotic journey.

A.M: What’s your background, your training?

Muhiba: After finishing high school I decided to study Social Work. I’ve always wanted to help people in need, so it seemed like an easy choice.

But I quickly realised that it wasn’t suitable for me. So then I thought I’d help people through words and I went to study Journalism.

Again, not exactly a great fit. So I decided to take some time off for self discovery.

After working for 2 years I realised how Art was always a big part of my life and how it helped me throughout my youth. It was a source of inspiration, of joy, escapism, even exorcism, love etc. And it just made so much sense then to go study Art.

So I went to different Art schools, did a few entry exams and picked a school that I felt at that time was a perfect fit for me. For 5 years I studied Visual Art – Photography at Luca School of Arts in Genk. In 2015 I got my Masters degree.

A.M: When did you start photography?

Muhiba: During the years I took in between studies, I tried to figure out what it was that I really loved to do.

The answer itself came fairly easy, storytelling. Books, for example, have always been such an important part of my life. I used to lose myself in stories, learn from them, heal from them. That, almost magical power was also what attracted me to different art forms.

Reality is influenced and created through storytelling and Art is a perfect conduit for it.In those years I realised that photography/film was the perfect medium for me.

A.M: Could you give us your definition of “Photography” and what it means to you?

Muhiba: Storytelling. And for me specifically, right now, it means telling stories that are usually unheard or ignored. It means showing our collective diversity and how there are different realities, different lives then the ones we are showed again and again.

When stories are limited to only a specific culture or a specific group our reality gets distorted. It’s distorted right now because this has been the case in our society. 
When your voice is ignored or silenced in real life you can still channel it through Art.

A.M: Is there a common message in all of your photos?


Muhiba: It’s different per concept. But I think it can all be reduced to our relationships as humans, the one we have with ourself and the ones we have with others.

A.M: You seem to particularly love portraits, can you explain why?

Muhiba: 
I think it’s because it usually fits with the concept. But maybe it’s also because my work is usually about humanity.

A.M: There’s a strong focus on human relationships, could you explain why?

Muhiba: Maybe that’s a part of me that seeps through into my work because there are different aspects to it that I find fascinating, frustrating, inspiring, compelling etc… 
Our relationship with others is also a big part of how we see and shape the world. It’s one of the most important aspects in life.

A.M: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?


Muhiba: When I see that it connects with the viewer. When it facilitates amazing conversations. And when I’m told that it’s inspiring, it truly humbles me.

A.M: Do you have any plans for the future?

Muhiba: There’s a very exciting group project I’m part of right now called La Vitrine! And I have some concepts for different projects that I’m hopefully going to start up soon. So it’s going to be a chaotic couple of months [laughs].

Don’t hesitate and go check her website for more information!

“Close Up” 

Friday 19th of May / 4pm-10pm / 5€

Saturday 20th of May / 2pm-10pm / 8€

Weekend pass / 10€

Musée Juif de Belgique / Joods Museum van Belgïe
Miniemenstraat 21, 1000 Brussel (Zavel/Sablon)

Click here for more information