Looking for striking pieces of art for the empty walls of your home? Are you in search of Eastern-Arabian themed handmade mosaic mirrors, wooden pieces and decorative paintings? Then, mixed media art by Shaok Tahir may just be what you are looking for.
Shaok is an Iraqi British who has spent much of her life living in different countries around the world, including Algeria, Bulgaria and Britain. Currently stationed in Dubai, she believes that the process of living in different countries has enhanced her life’s experiences. She is a believer in the fusion of cultures and this is what she brings into her art. As she says, “My art reflects the attitude of mixed identity and not belonging in just one place. However, my Arab roots fascinate me. My Arab roots influence the way I think, I feel and I work. Every artwork that I produce has an Eastern touch, from the colours I use, to the geometrical shapes and Islamic calligraphy. Even the faces that I paint have distinctive Eastern features.”
Shaok enjoys mixing acrylic with mosaic and beads because of the contrast it creates. She says, “I like to add a feeling of depth to my work, either by adding several layers of cut-outs, using shadows and highlights with acrylic paint to create the illusion of 3D, or by adding different materials like beads and crystals. I also use recycled materials like rope, eggs shells, fabric and plastics to create texture. I do enjoy making mosaic mirrors as I love cutting them and arranging them on the wood surface. I am always game to learn new techniques and try out new projects.”
As her work ranges from paintings to sculptures, from upcycled installations to mirrors, it is befitting to elaborate on selected pieces of her artwork as below.
For the painting below, Shaok used acrylics, beads and crystals as decoration. She gleaned her inspiration from the dome structure of Islamic mosques. “I wanted to create an abstract architectural painting but mixed with a fantasy-like atmosphere, hence the butterflies and bright colours.”
For the mirror below, Shaok worked with MDF and mosaic, taking inspiration from Arabesque geometric patterns and the Arabic door.
Shaok gets a lot of requests for making lights installations. For the lights below, she used string and PVA mixture. After it hardened, it took the shape of the mould and she then painted with acrylic.
Apart from fantasy-type work, Shaok indulges in paintings which have painful emotions at various levels of depth. About the painting below, she says, “It’s a very sad, personal and deep painting for me. It depicts the loss a woman experiences in her lifetime. It could be the loss of a loved one, the loss of her identity, the loss of hope, the loss of her confidence or self worth. The painting has multiple explanations that speak differently to each one of us.”
The acrylic painting below is in 3D, sculptured with cotton, bandages, plaster of paris and grout. According to the artist, it symbolises a person to prefers to hide beneath a mask. This person is somehow genderless as ‘it’ does not want to be recognised or acknowledged. This is a symbol of any society that ignores the freedom of an individual, thus resulting in the individual’s disillusionment.
The best thing that Shaok likes about ARTE is that it gives her direct contact with potential customers. “People get to see my work in person, not only on my facebook page. When people stop at my stall to look at my work, it encourages me to be more productive. I love creating art and although the personal pleasure of painting and designing might be enough, it’s always a bonus when I see people enjoying my work.”
Shaok will be at ARTE’s Time Square Market on the 13th of June. Like her facebook page.