Nagpur artist's Shadow Sculpture brings back traditional memories

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Maria Shakir, Nagpur artist (front) and her Riwayet Shadow Sculpture (above)

12 January 2017

Artist Maria Shk. Hasnain Shakir, 23, was born and brought up in the orange city Nagpur where she is currently freelancing. Her Interests lie in photography and conceptual Art. Her camera is something that she deeply connects with. Over the course of time she has developed the ability to transform ideas in her mind to images through her camera. Conceptual Art is something she explores with people and objects around her. It interests her to go deep and study perspectives and learn more from them. She was the first exchange student whose work was exhibited in a Juried Exhibition at The University of Michigan in 2015 while she was on an exchange program from her college (Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore).

Her work speaks about themes based on her life with a hand on coffee paintings, illustrations (pen and ink) and portrait painting. Her work was recently exhibited at The Gallery Sumukha in Bangalore.

October 24, 2017 Bangalore Mirror

23-year-old Shakir, a resident of Nagpur, has derived a work that is an ode to her Dawoodi Bohra Muslim family ritual of eating together from one big plate or ‘thaal’. When she was a student in the city, her memories and yearnings for this “warm” ritual were triggers for a series of shadow sculptures that she terms as Riwayet. She has hung up large circular MDF boards with Urdu lettering laser cut into them (her budget did not allow for steel, her original choice). But the words – warmth, spirituality, positiveness and so on – mean the world to Shakir for they are the emotions she feels when eating with the family. Translated into Urdu from her own language Lisan al-Dawat, the altered words are laser cut onto the boards. “My work shouldn’t transport the viewer into my special world of memories,” she says with a maturity that belies her age. “Instead, I want them to go home and think of their own memories of family time.”

The link for her recent work, Riwayet - A Shadow Sculpture can be found here. The text from the site and some of the images are shown in this post. The views given are Maria's own.

Memory is not limited to the remembrance of events that occurred when we were young; also it is not something that just happened and plays no role in our reactions to circumstances that we face. It has a dynamic touch to it, which links us to our past and keeps us connected to our roots. When I rummage through all my memories for the ones that have had the most long lasting impact on me, I realize that there are more than a handful of them, which are intricately woven together to form a matrix of memories that leads me from one to another. One memory in itself is enough to provoke a chain of thoughts sufficient to feed an artist’s hunger. But I have chosen to work with a combination of memories because it is not a single memory that affects me in a positive or negative way; it is always many of them that are embedded in time and run like a cascade. The family relations that I cherish constitute a part of my memories. The aspect that I think keeps us all bound to each other is the language that we share, our mother tongue, the roots to which we belong. I worked with my mother tongue (Urdu) and the family traditions that were/are followed for generations transforming them into visuals. The shadow sculpture here depicts the fading culture of thaal. Perception of memory is unique per individual; we are a reflection of the uniqueness and the people around us that is metaphorically the shadows projected on the wall.

A combination of words in Urdu of my experience of eating in a thaal when I go back home and eating in a plate when I am in Bangalore all alone. Words like Warmth, Togetherness, Ritual, Contentment etc. It has a combination of words from my Grandfather's Shayaris. He was an orator in Hindi, English and Urdu, we never practice Urdu at home but our parents made sure that we are connected to out roots, so it went to a school known as madrasa in our childhood, learned how to read, write and speak our mother tongue.

The gallery has several images. Screen Print explorations are done on paper plates, metaphorically showing how fragile relations can be and symbolizing the shape of a thaal.

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