by Zana Bonafe
Do you know what beauty is?
Beauty is the smell of orange flower blossom, of coffee, of femininity.
It is the sparkle in the eyes like a morning star, it is the brilliance of faith, it is a woman’s glow.
Beauty is an exterminating kiss.
At least this is it what the renowned Brazilian singer and song writer Geraldo Azevedo says in his famous “Moça Bonita” – Beautiful Young Woman song.
Geraldo is 76 years old and some would claim he has a romanticised view of things.
So, we look for the opinion of a younger artist, Tiago Lorc, a 35 year old shooting star, popular with Millennials, Gen X as well as Baby Boomers.
With 2.7 million online followers on Instagram alone his viewpoint is certainly seen.
But truly heard is his Song “Coisa Linda” – Beautiful Thing, listened over 95 million times on Spotify.
Tiago tells us that a woman is pretty just the way she is, from head to toe.
Beauty is the morning; beauty is peppermint tea; beauty is to swim in the sea.
Beauty is taking your time to rise from your bed when you wake up.
Beauty is in the body, in the skin, in our thoughts, inside us.
Imagine if we could translate the essence of a song into a visual form.
Can we transform the beauty of musical notes and poetry into a painting?
This is what the Dubai based artist Zana Bonafe does, capturing Brazilian songs into stunning Arabic calligraphy paintings.
Zana started painting as a child and found her talent while living in London and training under the technique of Bob Ross with oil paint. Her interest then was into portraits. When she started dating her now husband, she decided to study Arabic to better settle into his culture. At first, it was challenging to learn a new language as she focused on listening and speaking only. It was only when she changed schools and started to read and write in Arabic that she fell in love with the flexibility of its calligraphy. “It’s a powerful language and the script allows for much creativity” she says. Twenty-one years later, her style has evolved from Naquin ink technical calligraphy to a merge between script and painting, a colourful explosion of words in a contemporary graffiti style.
Zana has been living in Dubai for the last 13 years and says this is where home is. She has her painting studio in Palm Jumeirah, surrounded by her pets Lola and Tutsie. Music is a must while she paints and from that came her latest inspiration.
The 2021 collection, Fusion, is a marriage of her Brazilian roots with her love for the Arab world. Colourful, bold and large, her paintings have the fun of samba and the sophistication of precious metals. Most have a shimmer of gold or silver, bouncing light and giving movement to the painting as light reflects on it. The selected Brazilian songs are beautiful to listen to and have meaningful lyrics.
Beauty to the ears and to the eyes! The Fusion Collection includes songs from Geraldo Azevedo and Tiago Lorc.
Zana also works on commissions for individualised pieces.