The Artist/ Intellectual Syndrome, by Ahmed Foula

by M. A.

Any intellectual  is an artist, and every artist is an intellectual until proved otherwise

I have no idea how come so many people I know are convinced of that statement, or implicitly, i.e. unconsciously, approve to it.   They may well refute it, now that it is put in words before their eyes, but I presume that the actions/ reactions embedded in their respective disciplines, be it either of the two, confirm complicity.

I personally don’t perceive art or culture as neither a profession nor a duty, and in the spirit of ‘change’, I thought I should share a contemplation.


You may say that I think of art or culture as qualities, like generosity, grace, or greediness, that affect everyone of us on different levels.  This leads me to viewing the implicit endorsement of the notion of an “Artists Union”  similar to endorsing what is known as the “Union of Noblemen” for instance, and if we hypothetically saw a necessity in having a Ministry of Culture, there shouldn’t be a problem with forming Ministries of Civilization, or Morals, and any similar suggestions.


At first, I thought that this was a topic that only concerned me, and maybe too much, but when I started seeing works that didn’t fall under any of the conventional artistic realms, yet in no way inferior in their inherited value,  ideas, or even execution, I began thinking of art with a descriptive approach:  no one sees anything wrong in using the word ‘art’ as a prefix/ suffix to any scientific field, as in titles of fields of studies that imply specialised expertise such as in the Art of Genetic Engineering , or Marshal Arts! .  I also realised that science managed to evade this bump simply by creating strict definitions of the professional descriptions under its umbrella, dissolving the classic term ‘scientist’ and replacing it with doctor, engineer, physicist, chemist, etc.  I also noted that there are no creatures, let alone human beings, without culture; through simple association with space and specific circumstances to which a creature reacts on various situations culture exists.

Hmmm, perhaps we need specialised alternatives to the terms intellectual and artist, of course only  if you agree that they are qualities, not professions or duties.   Surely there is currently plenty of professions that could fall under the two terms, but to dissolve them as categories probably needs assigning far more descriptive specialties than what we got now, maybe even a specialist dictionary.  Or maybe what we need is the opposite: to activate the qualitative side of these terms.  I mean, if we are capable of accepting Karim as a person’s name, not only a quality, and also Sharifa, Saida, and Halima, perhaps we could also accept Artist and Intellectual as names.   Perhaps then it would make sense.

Written by: Ahmed Foula

Karam Metawie
Karam Metawie

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