I am a rich soul that lives in a random body

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This yearbook brings together twenty creatives and community organisers from all walks of life: musicians, visual artists, dancers, art collectives, and everything in between. From personal to political, their contributions reflect diverse forms of community-building through care. How do they inspire each other? Who do they care for? How do they care? 💘

  • Name: Fareed Aziz
  • Multidisciplinary Artist / Architect 
  • Pronouns: he/him
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Brussels/Antwerp 
  • Instagram: @fareedaziz___

What do you care most about, and how is it relevant to your art/practice? It could be a social issue, your community, yourself, or anything!

I care about healing, finding our voices, and making peace with the world as it is. Like so many other humans I saw the unfairness in this world, but I saw the beauty of it too. That made me find a way to make peace with all of it to experience this other side, hoping and working towards a change. I found this in others, nature, creating, music, dancing, silly moments, and most importantly in ourselves and our ability to imagine other realities and try to bring them to life.

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I care about individuality, authenticity, and the freedom to express the vulnerable side of ours, our Human experience; our journey and how you can learn the most about yourself and other selves and how we exist and coexist. My art practice currently is focused on authenticity, soul coding, or understanding my very own language, and how to be able to master it to be able to raise a voice, claim space or experience any form of joy and freedom of expression. Most importantly, to be capable of being part of a community and build on that.

I care about everyone who has a talent or skill or power and does not have the care they deserve to develop their voice and language. Thinking that the world is limited, I care about finding them and I hope I can be able to support them by providing this space where they can see beyond their limits. 

My art practice currently is focused on authenticity

Three words that come to mind when you hear the term ‘care’?

Care is consistent, patient, and vulnerable… with a lot of food and hugs.

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What inspires you to care more for others, or to use your art/practice as a platform to do so?

Is to be able to create a space whether physical or mental for others to be. Just to be. My art practice inspires based on stories and memories which are created collectively or by others and by what shapes the common space that brings us together. I have co-curated the On proximity exhibition in Globe Aroma during Brussels Gallery Weekend. In this exhibition, we have collectively created a piece called The mirrored space by ten artists from different backgrounds. We’ve built an actual and physical 1/1 room as a canvas where we could enter for some time and interact with each other to reflect the closeness and the backgrounds' intersection through creating and exchanging. The result was surprising! We created a visual language and human connections.

How do you hope to inspire others?

I hope I can propose another way of accepting oneself, making an effort to understand who you are, what shapes you, and how to live authentically in matters to surround yourself with the right ones. It is a journey and it takes a lifetime.

I also embrace the idea of humbling oneself and of understanding our scale according to the world, rethinking human power, and not taking things for granted.

What type of change do you want to inspire in your community/environment?

To embrace and normalise vulnerability and imperfections. Making an effort to understand “the other” by experiencing. Understanding the other doesn't only come from books and references, but rather from human-to-human interactions and time to learn genuinely about who the other is. Because the other is very subjective in my opinion.

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How much influence do you think (y)our backgrounds have on (y)our art and practices?

I’ve lived in 6 cities, was born and raised in Cairo, moved to Asia, and then currently based in Europe. I have seen a lot of this world and it was not just seeing. I lived. I experienced a lot of others and communities. I heard a lot of stories. I would say my background gave me the ability to deeply understand what it means to be a human in this world. Our physical and political identity positions us in this world. I’ve also put all my energy into investigating the language of the third part of our identity, the authentic self. Because that is what makes us so special in fact, it is a hidden universal language :). 

What are some challenges that you face while doing what you are passionate about?

TIME and my inner child who loves so many things at the same time. He challenges me a lot!!

How do you define ‘community’? 

For me community is care in itself; care is not an easy task. To care is to put energy and time into understanding the base to build a human connection that is safe and caring.

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What is a ‘safe space’ for you? 

A space that still feels the same whether it gets difficult or not, and gives you the ability to be you and accept others. A safe space to me is never rushed, it comes genuinely. And is kind!

Is receiving care a privilege, a right? 

To be very frank, if we live in a world of care as a right, we wouldn't think of this question in the first place. On a universal level, care should be a basic human right that is applied equally in all parts of the world. That is not very realistic. But the more realistic human-to-human or human-to-community care, can not be obligated too. Care comes from love and it is never forced. So yeah, it is a privilege to receive honest care! It does exist. We just need to be ready to receive it.

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Do you think this generation is redefining care and community building? And how? 

Totally! I believe we are having more of an urge to understand deeper terms like collectivity, self-organisation, identity, self-care, liberating arts, and psychology. Self-organisation is not just random. After the sudden exposure to AI, technology, and the internet, we became able to experience each other. Most recently during the pandemic, we had the collective experience of a lockdown that confronted each one of us and brought us closer. We had a moment to think about our individuality and the importance of community. Something in the air is kind of fed up with this world, and we want to get closer and feel loved. We finally understand the power of community as a coping mechanism because of the pandemic and other crises. It is kinda crazy but it worked.

What small acts of care do you hope to see more of? 

Nothing particular I can think of currently!

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How do you balance taking care of others and taking care of yourself? Do you make that distinction in the first place?

I finally came to a point where I can make this distinction. Taking care of oneself is the first step to taking care of others. This coexists, thinking of Newton's third law: for every action (force) in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. To give care is also to receive. We need this space where care is mutual, to develop and flourish. As much as we need to create a caring space within ourselves. So I try my best to have time for each one. It is a learning curve. 

Starting from oneself 0.5 + 0.5 = 1 + to another self 1 = 2 selves + 2 = 4…etc 

Do you care about being cared about?

It would be very contradictory to not care about being cared about. Yes, I do care. 

What do you want to be remembered for?

It is a difficult question. For the memory of a genuine good/difficult moment, I have ever shared with anyone when our paths crossed, even if it was just a simple smile to a stranger on a Monday morning on a bus going to work after a long weekend. Or being able to hold on during a difficult moment. Or a laugh, a joke, a silly moment. I just hope I can bring a smile and send sunflowers randomly.

<div class="editorial-banner"> <div class=“editorial-credits”> Photos by Miguel Rózpide, Fareed Aziz and Deborah Ephrem </div></div>

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