Community | Artists

Shahina Jaffer

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Shahina Jaffer is a St Martin's School of Art graduate from London, with an impressive body of work. Her collection consists of over three hundred artworks that explore a myriad of artistic genres ranging from printmaking abstract to cubism. 

Her inspiration comes from life; she believes that anything can inspire us if we look at it with curiosity and a creative lens. She also draws on her cultural heritage, which includes dual lineage, to demonstrate how we are influenced by colour, shape and culture. 

An interview with Shahina Jaffer

1.Can you tell me a little about you?

 I am a St Martin's School of Art graduate from London, with an impressive body of work. My collection consists of over three hundred artworks that explore a myriad of artistic genres ranging from printmaking abstract to cubism. My work has been exhibited all over the world, including in London, Barcelona, New York, Mexico City, and Milan. I recently added a new exhibition at the Virtual Burning Man USA 2020 to this list.

 

My creative practice is fostered by a technique I call "reversed Jackson Pollock," which allows the paint to flow freely and uninterruptedly. Three constant elements aid this process: imagination, nature, and science. A quote by Edgar Degas 'Art is not what you see, but what you make others see’ inspired me and her work to explore the encounter between artist and observer. Art is a universal language that should be accessible to all. Texture is an important aspect of my work; I focus on the surface of the canvas and builds up multiple layers. I have created a multisensory technique that allows blind people to navigate their way across the painting. I collaborate with blind artists and has volunteered for BlindAid. The work has also been recognised by the Braille society.


In 2021, I was commissioned by a Bermondsey-based bakery to create a wall mural based on an edible universe it featured bakery items as planets and Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962 – February 1, 2003) Who was an Indian-born American astronaut and engineer who was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. 


I am a visiting professor at American Heritage College and have given over fifteen creative workshops on topics such as synthesis. In March 2022, I will give a workshop with the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Arts Special Interest Group (ArtSIG). 
My creative exploration, combined with my heritage and knowledge of human behaviour mixed with my findings from weather research, reveals a deeper meaning in my work that would otherwise be overlooked, and it pushes conventional boundaries. I describe my distinct point of view in an interactive TEDx talk titled "The Art of Perception.". Art is a participatory experience that inspires individual journeys.


Checkout Shahina’s work on https://art247.co.uk/

 

Studio, on location or both?

London, UK

 

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a newcomer at your profession?

When I decided to become a professional artist, I discovered that it is not a typical career or vocation, but rather a journey. There is a sense of adventure and uncertainty, like long-distance travel. However, if you plan your journey properly, you will arrive at your destination eventually. I would tell newcomers to expect setbacks and disappointments, but to view them as opportunities to learn rather than personal reflections. I'd tell them to become artists because it's about sharing a talent that will one day inspire others to do the same. Leave your mark so that the next generation has it a little easier than its predecessors.

 

 

What key message do you hope audiences will take away from seeing your work?

 

My work is reflective in nature, and I use purposeful abstract techniques such as customised paint and minerals such as zinc and bronze to create images that allow the viewer to construct their own narrative. My artwork, I hope, conveys feelings of peace, joy, and harmony. That is how I feel when I create my work. My artwork is inspired by my dual heritage, and I want to show how colour, shape, and culture influence us. I wanted people to get a sense of where my inspiration comes from.

 

Many of my works contain hidden messages that can be revealed through careful examination or illumination; these messages are frequently revealed by shining a light beneath the canvas. I'm currently investigating heat sensitivity using thermochromics, which is the reversible change in colour of a compound when heated or cooled. 

This adds another dimension to my work, and they change literary depending on the 

environment in which they are placed.

I have been painting and drawing for almost my entire life. It all started when I was about three years 
old. When my father bought me one of those magical colouring books where you simply wet the 
page and the colour appear. I have been interested in art since I was a child, and I'm now at the point where I'd like to share my 
work with a wider audience. My work, like that of many other artists, is an expression of myself and a specific moment in time.
What does photography mean to you?
“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.”
– Andy Warhol

 

Could you describe your style in three words?

Different, bold, and intriguing – each artwork is one of a kind and I am unable to replicate them. 

Where do you get inspiration?
My inspiration comes from life; I believe that anything can inspire us if we look at it with curiosity and a creative lens. I also like to draw on my cultural heritage, which includes my dual lineage, to demonstrate how we are influenced by colour, shape, and culture. I wanted people to get a sense of where my inspiration comes from.

My grandparents were from India, and I draw a lot of inspiration from traditional culturald artistic practises, such as Rangoli – Rangoli is an art form originating in the Indian subcontinent in which patterns are created on the floor or ground using materials such as coloured rice, coloured sand, quartz powder, or flower petals. 
I also use powder paint to celebrate colour, and much of my work is created using a brushless technique inspired by Rangoli.

My ancestors are from Arabia, which is why I have an Arabic name: Shahina, which means "royal white falcon." 
When I reconnected with my Arabian roots, I became fascinated by Arabian art, so much so that I spent time in Jordan and collaborated with an Arabian artist. When I returned, I created a collection called "Postcards from Jordan" to commemorate my incredible time in Jordan. This is a series of watercolours of Jordanian landscapes that I painted from memory and imagination.

 

Studio, on location or both?
London, UK

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a newcomer at your profession?
When I decided to become a professional artist, I discovered that it is not a typical career or vocation, but rather a journey. There is a sense of adventure and uncertainty, like long-distance travel. However, if you plan your journey properly, you will arrive at your destination eventually. I would tell newcomers to expect setbacks and disappointments, but to view them as opportunities to learn rather than personal reflections. I'd tell them to become artists because it's about sharing a talent that will one day inspire others to do the same. Leave your mark so that the next generation has it a little easier than its predecessors.


What key message do you hope audiences will take away from seeing your work?

My work is reflective in nature, and I use purposeful abstract techniques such as customised paint and minerals such as zinc and bronze to create images that allow the viewer to construct their own narrative. My artwork, I hope, conveys feelings of peace, joy, and harmony. That is how I feel when I create my work. My artwork is inspired by my dual heritage, and I want to show how colour, shape, and culture influence us. I wanted people to get a sense of where my inspiration comes from.

Many of my works contain hidden messages that can be revealed through careful examination or illumination; these messages are frequently revealed by shining a light beneath the canvas. I'm currently investigating heat sensitivity using thermochromics, which is the reversible change in colour of a compound when heated or cooled. 
This adds another dimension to my work, and they change literary depending on the 
environment in which they are placed.

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