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The Mirror Has Several Faces

26-year-old Rabbiya Ilyas is aware of the best way to make a press release by means of her artwork. Born and bred within the metropolis of Peshawar, in Pakistan (and at present based mostly in Lahore), the younger artist unabashedly brings taboo matters to the fore by means of a Persian artwork type generally known as aina-kari (mirror mosaic).

Having lately accomplished a Masters in Visual Arts from Lahore’s National College of Arts (NCA), Ilyas’s spell-binding thesis work consisted of a condom-shaped chandelier (six ft in size), an elaborate mirror mosaic piece that resembled a carpet, and a 10-foot-long snake, every consisting of hundreds of finely reduce mirrors.

Inspired by the late Iranian artist, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Ilyas reveals that her work isn’t just a “projection of personal sexual desires and erotic fantasies,” but in addition a daring, undaunted assertion which aspires to unveil the hypocrisy that permeates Pakistani society.

SR: What drew you to the craft of aina-kari?

RI: I’ve at all times had a eager curiosity in discovering and studying crafts since faculty. I found the strategy of aina-kari throughout my first go to to the Sheesh Mahal on the Lahore Fort. The construction is embedded with hundreds of intricately reduce and multi-colored mirrors. I feel the sacred attraction of this method, and the sense of sanctity that it carries, attracted and compelled me to fuse it into my artwork observe.

SR: You as soon as talked about that you simply have been provided to exhibit your work at numerous galleries in Pakistan after faculty in 2018 – what was your thesis centered on and why do you suppose it resonated so nicely with the general public?

RI: I imagine in making artwork that resonates with the observer on an emotional degree. A little bit of thriller can let the observer interpret artwork based mostly on their very own experiences and allow them to determine with it. My BFA thesis work centered on the hypocrisy of a number of the non secular clergy – it make clear our society being persistently fooled by a misleading outward look that makes use of a spiritual defend as a façade.

I used to be overwhelmed by the general public response. Lots of people personally got here as much as me, sharing their experiences and appreciated how bravely I used to be engaged on bringing such a controversial matter to the forefront.

SR: How does this artwork type mean you can categorical your self as an artist?

RI: My work derives inspiration from Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s methods of contemporizing the normal craft of aina-kari through which she would fuse conventional Iranian patterns with western aesthetics. Through the usage of erotic symbolism in my work, together with conventional motifs and patterns, I attempt to instill the normal aina-kari method with trendy patterns and daring symbols.

The primary factor that attracted me in the direction of working with mirror was the mirror itself. The metaphorical complexity and sensitivity of mirrors and mirror imagery gives limitless methods to make use of the mirror’s usefulness as a mirrored image that hides deeper truths. Pairing sure symbols, shapes and varieties – that carry their very own connotations – I take advantage of the mirror to show a seen, but an ignored actuality…the picture of our society.

SR: Can you inform me a bit of about your artistic course of, from the conception to the execution?

RI: My artistic course of could be very easy! I consider a theme or an concept that clicks with me and I begin engaged on it instantly. I imagine an idea is one thing that retains rising whilst you’re engaged on it. I’ve my very own crew of aina-kari craftsmen who reduce the mirrors in line with the stencils I present them out of my composition. Once all mirrors are reduce, I paste them onto the specified surfaces.

SR: What’s the hyperlink between Sigmund Freud’s theories and your paintings?

RI: Freud has at all times been an enormous inspiration for me. In his concept of sexuality, he talks about childhood experiences and sexual fantasies, and the way these urges keep it up in a single’s maturity. Freud helps us to grasp that the need for pleasure is a vital motivating power in our lives. I like how vocal Freud was in normalizing sexual improvement…and that’s precisely what I’m making an attempt to specific in my artwork.

SR: Do the themes you contact upon in your work ever fear you, particularly if you showcase them in Pakistan?

RI: It was fairly a problem to start with after I was engaged on my undergraduate thesis venture. I was warned concerning the dangers concerned in highlighting taboo matters which might be wilfully neglected by Pakistani society. But I’ve at all times composed my work in a approach that it seems discreet in its symbolism.

SR: What are you at present engaged on, do you could have any items or installations within the pipeline?

RI: Currently, my focus is extra on creating natural and anatomical mirror buildings that can be totally different from my earlier geometric sculptures. Other than that, I’m trying ahead to discovering alternatives to exhibit my work internationally. My greatest objective proper now’s to exhibit on the Guggenheim Museum in Iran.

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