Interview with Carina Milena Maceira of Ink & Oil Magazine

Ink & Oil Magazine is Kuwait Poets Society’s latest initiative: a print magazine, published monthly, featuring art, poetry, creative writing, and interviews by the ever-talented creatives in the MENA region. They recently celebrated the magazine’s beginning and the printing of the first issue with a launch party featuring poets and an open mic, at Kuwait City’s Let’s Coffee cafe.

Today, we speak to the Editor of Ink & Oil, the effervescent Carina Milena Maceira.

What is Ink & Oil?

Ink & Oil is a monthly print zine dedicated to materializing, and in a way, immortalizing the incredible work that artists in the region are creating everyday. We’re playing with a theme here where we have three invaluable and traditional materials: ink, oil, and paper, and we’re using it to express the development of all forms of art. We’re keeping it traditional for the non-traditional, bridging together literary and visual artists of all walks, through one medium: ink.

What do you hope to achieve with this project?

Appreciation and coexistence. Appreciation for those who, despite the constant chaotic ongoings of mundane life, take a breath and steal a moment to create something that affects another person for the better. Art makes the world a better place. It induces human emotions in such a pure, yet raw, form. That’s a sort of magic I think deserves recognition, and it’s a magic I think the rest of the world could use right about now. Coexistence plays into that, hand in hand. By appreciating the existence of something we’re celebrating it, and you can’t celebrate without bringing people together. We have a lot dividing us: deserts, oceans, mountains, and politics, but as artists we’re united by the desire to create and express. We’re embodying and materializing just that.

What is Ink & Oil’s significance in being published in Kuwait? In the GCC? In the Middle East?

I think it’s all in the name really. I don’t think you can have oil without there being some conflict. We’re a zine founded by the soul of the art community in Kuwait. The entirety of the Arab world is, unfortunately in these modern times, synonymous with conflict and a lot of that has to do with oil. Here, our most prized possession is our expression, our confessions, our oversaturated, too-much-color-ain’t-a-thing kind of art. We’re raw, unbreakable and unwithered. Just when you think the line has ended, the pen has been dried, the brush is too frayed, we snap back. We will surprise you. And what is the Middle East if not bursting with creative resilience?

Why did you decide to publish in print from the start rather than digital only?

I’m a newspaper type of girl. Never been a fan of audio books. To me, paper is more appealing, romantically. It’s traditional in the sense that all writers aspire to write a book one day, not a digital sequence of words on a screen. I know my artists deserve it, I know our magazine deserves it. By staying to true to print, we’re staying true to Ink & Oil. It is extra work on our part, but it’s ink and it’s worth the oil.

Do you have plans for initiatives besides the publishing of the magazine?

I have a lot of dreams for the magazine. It’s only been a few weeks since our awesome launch party. We’re basically in the honeymoon phase of it all. It has a lot of potential, and I know we’re capable of beginning more initiatives that bring together artists and art lovers. Stay tuned and you’ll see.

How do you define “healing”?

Depends on what you’re healing from. Sometimes it can be from ourselves. Duality is a funny thing. Recently, I’ve been trying to practice healing from pride and anger. The thing is, no one I’ve ever met would ever describe me as either prideful or temperamental. To me, healing is raw honest questioning, reflecting with an open mind, forgiving only once you are only exhausted with every question and answer and the race back and forth about how you feel towards both. Lastly, it’s accepting. If you don’t go through the stitches, the burning alcohol, the bitter medicine, if you skip that process you get faux healing, which just leaves you sicker than you started. I realize this applies to internal and external conflict. The fact is, conflict only becomes something when it absorbs a part of us. We have to ask ourselves why or what it is about us internally that allowed it to grab us. Once you’re aware, you’re in control of whatever life can throw at you, and that to me is what being healed means.

What do you do to heal?

Now, I write. Before, I used to confuse healing with self-care. Self-care does help, but if what you need is a bit grittier, then those sweet simple actions begin to feel a little empty. Soul searching is in, guys. Depending how afflicted I am from whatever I’m facing, I’ll talk to someone. I’m blessed with great people in my life. Sometimes the journey to self awareness and healing can be hampered by anxiety, overthinking or simply self-doubt triggered by insecurities. I am insecure. It’s helpful to be honest about it because it keeps my fears in check, and helps me from confusing them with reality. My friends are great at checking those fears too.

Ink & Oil is currently taking submissions for the second issue. Visit kuwaitpoetssociety.com/inkandoil, or their Instagram.

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