Sba Shaikh first bestowed her ‘Personas’ upon us when she did the Trail for the first time in 2009. In her own words from the blog that year:
The Personas of Mehraj is an ongoing collection of work. It is really an artistic journey of my different interests and passions that makes me not just a person but also an artist.This Trail we will see the next stage of that journey.
1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2012 E17 Art Trail?
The Personas of Mehraj part 3
The third Persona: Begum Maha-Kareem Mehraj - The Indian Mughal Princess - will be showcasing a small part of her passion this year, with an installation called Sufiana. This installation is based on an area of Islamic thought called ‘Sufism’, which is very close to her heart.
I have used my photography of the Mausoleum of Sufi Saint, Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (click on link for more info), as the primary inspiration for this installation and as the basis of the main painting I have been working on. My visit to the Hajj exhibition at the British Museum earlier this year was also an inspiration for The Whirling Dervish which is another part of the installation. These influences can be seen with the patterns I have used on the jacket.
The interplay of light on the skirt of The Whirling Dervish will have an important role as the skirt will be hand printed with the technique called ‘Devore’ in which fibres are etched away. A rotating light will be placed underneath the skirt so the piece will look as if it is actually twirling. I wanted to create not just an installation but an environment. I want the viewer to feel the atmospheric aura of when I was last at the ‘Dargha’ (shrines of Sufi saints are known as Darghas). It is this I am trying to visually create for viewers when they come and see my work.
I want to showcase aspects of my belief in an artistic, peaceful, spiritual way and I hope that I can achieve this with this year’s E17 Art Trail entry! The hope is that everyone enjoys this installation as much I have enjoyed thinking and creating it. However…….I just hope I can finish it on time…… we will all have to wait and see…….
2. Is this your first time in the Trail or are you an E17 Art Trail veteran?
I think I can be called a veteran now as this is my 4th year of doing the Art Trail.
3. What are the challenges of getting everything ready for your Art Trail event?
- A decent dress maker who can make what I can visualize/sketch.
- Expensive materials and VAT disabling me from fully launching my range of scarves.
- Finding a cost effective dyeing course where I can brush up my dyeing skills.
- Last and not least TIME………..
4. Do you remember the first artist that really influenced you? Does that artist’s influence still have an impact on your work?
To tell you the truth there are no artists that have really influenced me. As mentioned in my previous years’ blog entries I would say my religion, people, architecture, my culture, situations, life, history, patterns, colour and of course Bollywood. In fact I think I will watch some Bollywood after writing my entry for the E17 Art Trail Blog!
5. The E17 Art trail has become bigger every year. Do you think it is because more artists are calling it home?
Of course! There has been a great migration of artists to Walthamstow in the past 5 years. I moved from Hackney after living at my parents. I do believe more artists are calling ‘The Stow’ home as it still is part of the East End and here artists can flourish as individuals without being stifled.
6. What has E17 bestowed on you?
- E17 has bestowed on me – the ability to show the diversity of my religion – Islam - and culture through my art and to be respected for it.
- E17 has bestowed on me – Luck – I have been invited to show my work at The Fifth Sufi Rang Festival 2013 in Ajmersharif, Rajasthan, India which is where this installation will be travelling to next Inshallah - God Willing. Also getting my job at Lambeth Academy. I work Monday to Wednesday and here I am able to do something else I enjoy doing which is ‘Enterprise’.
- E17 has bestowed on me - as usual my lovely home. I love it to bits….. Yes… it still does get kisses literally when I get home from a long day at work!
- E17 has bestowed on me - my little shop in Wood Street Indoor Market - please be sure to visit I’m No.4. :)
- E17 has bestowed on me - The E17 Art trail enabling me realise how much of an artist I am and giving me the platform to grow , bloom and follow my passion.
- E17 has bestowed on me - encouragement in taking positive risks enabling me to start a range of designer scarves called ‘Klassy Kitch’ .
- E17 has bestowed on me – the ability to be one of the finalists for the Waltham Forest Small Business competition for the best creative business.
- E17 has bestowed on me – Happiness!!!