The Heroine’s Journey of Ola Manana

What is the best thing I love about my work? I work with dream content so the actual dreaming part is very exciting. Even nightmares can be enjoyable. I have an excellent dream life. Otherwise I love when a painting starts to take shape and come to life. I use many layers most of the time so the final stage and The embryonic stage (of dreaming) is my favorite.
What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness is knowing your loved ones are safe. A perfect day for me is when I can hug and kiss both of my children and my husband, paint and eat. If I’m alone, a perfect day is a day of discovery. Either walking, discovering through paint or otherwise through art, randomly meeting people, people or nature walking.
What is my greatest fear? I am suspicious so I don’t like to name my fears and give them any potency in the universe.
What is the trait I most deplore in myself? Sometimes I lack confidence and can’t get over core shaking experiences from childhood. I have PTSD so it’s a kind of ingrained self loathing that appears even though intellectually I know I’m a reasonably nice person. I hate that I sometimes take the place of the bullies in my past and bully myself.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Leslie Hewitt. Andrea Scrima. (Writing) Alexis Thompson. Jules de Balincourt. Jennifer Delilah. Penny Arcade. (Performance Art) Alexandra Rutsch Brock, Susan Jennings. John D Monteith. All are great artists. I know more but I can’t name them all.
What is my greatest extravagance? Old Holland paint. Sleeping in. Having babies. Really nice lipstick.
On what occasion would I lie? I’m not a big liar. But I suppose we all would lie to get out of serious trouble or to help loved ones who were in danger.
When and where was I the happiest in my work? I am always happy working. I am probably happiest now.
What is the thing I most dislike in my work? I don’t dislike my work. My work is great. I do sometimes go back and paint on “finished work.”
If I could what would I change about myself? I am lucky to have a fully working body thank God. I might excercise more or work on my self esteem but otherwise I’m comfortable with my efforts and integrity.
What is my most treasured possession? It is always the painting I’m working on now. I also treasure a few items that belonged to friends who have passed. I’m sure they only mean something to me.
What is my most marked characteristic? I’m persistent. I bounce back. Thank God I keep going despite adversity.
What is my greatest achievement in work? The fact that I keep working. The work itself is an achievement.
Where would I most like to live? With my family. Where I live now. Or England. Or Jordan. Maybe I won’t know until I get there.
Where is my most inspiring location in my city? I like Minetta Street. It’s quiet. One block long. But I live in Nee York City so there’s so much to be inspired by. All the people, cultures, museums. Sometimes you don’t know what you are going to see and what will inspire you.
Where is my favorite place to eat in my city? Lucien. Hands down.
What books influenced my life? David Copperfield. I read this at 7. I felt he understood me and had trouble in his life too and prevailed so he gave me hope. Marcel Proust- Remembrance of Things Past. Proust really is the painter of writers and has such a sense of detail and nuance that he is incomparable. A Lesser Day, by Andrea Scrima. Scrima is sort of a modern day Proust. She captures the minutia of her world to such an extent that she brings it home to the reader. Both she and Proust have this effect on me of challenging me to experience life up close, to really observe everything. That is their gift.
Who are your favorite writers? Off the top of my head, Robert Goolrick, Andrea Scrima, Thomas Hardy, Sinclair Lewis, Simone de Beauvoir, Patti Smith, Danielle Knafo, Clarice Lispector, S’Aurora Achthar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, Benedict Arnold, Arundati Roi, Charles Dickens, The Prophet Muhammad, King Solomon, Jennifer Wynne Reeves, Antonin Artaud, Yoko Ono, Jerzy Kosinski, and Helen Lawrenson.
A movie everyone should see is THE LOBSTER.
You only die once. What music would you listen to on your last day? George Wassouf. Mozart’s Requiem. 50 Cent. The Holy Quran recited in Arabic.
Who is my heroine in fiction? Miss Havisham.
Girl from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. James Bond.
Who are my heroes heroines in real life? My big sisters. My sister Rachel donated her liver to the neighbor and serves her city as a council woman. My sister Joan is a doctor and donates her time for instance she performed 60 cleft palate surgeries in Nicaragua in one week on her vacation time for free. My husband. Julian Assange. Richard Snowden.
People who speak out or help people or donate body parts to others basically.
What role plays art in my life and work? Art is the thread that links every stage of my life together. It keeps me out of trouble and sane.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime. My godmother. My husband. All of my siblings. My children.
Whom would I like to work with in 2017? Someone who is smart and fair and incorruptible.
Which person in my profession would I like to meet in 2017? Marcel Duchamp. I know this is impossible but otherwise my philosophy is that I will meet who I am supposed to meet.
What project in 2017 am I looking forward to working on? I’m always working on a sick solo show or in collaboration with one other person.
Where can you see my work in 2017? I’m looking for a venue right now for a solo show in New York City. I’m open to ideas or invitations.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to you? It means if you love something you can not be deterred.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to share their story? Leslie Hewitt. Andrea Scrima. Alexis Thompson. Jennifer Delilah.
How can you contact me? Via email :


My website is

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