Supporting Creative Freelancers and Youth heros
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Short Bio: Visual artist and a crafts facilitator, Aliya Khan is a British-Bangladeshi woman, who since from early age has had an eye for arts and fashion. For many years Aliya wasn’t able to pursue dreams of either of this passion, as coming from a cultural background in which the arts are not taken seriously as a viable career, or even recognised as a worthwhile pursuit.
Her determination and zeal drove her to not only to train herself, but also pursue an artistic vocation with little support. During the last ten years, she accomplished this through her large canvass oil paintings of various detailed images of British/Asian women within the contents of her roots and understanding of “beauty skin deep”, which have been showcased at several exhibitions.
Aliya is committed and enthusiastic about inspiring people through the arts and helping others in the community to recognise their potential, especially young people, by giving them the confidence and backing that she would have liked to have had herself.
Aliya Khan the Visual artist and a crafts facilitator
WHAT DOES THE MOON SYMBOLISE IN YOUR PAINTING?
The “Moon”, it’s a rare pearl in the sky, one of a kind, hard to reach. Its beauty is often addressed as a female form; due to its monthly cycle. It has many faces, each one illuminates, creating mood wherever it sets gaze.
The “Moon” in my paintings symbolizes beauty, purity, loneliness, sadness, love, lust and desire, which women conceal within their inner beauty, “The truth”
HOW DO YOU INTERPRET “ART”?
“Art” allows me to capture visionary, faded memories, fear, hope, acceptance, dreams and spiritually draws me closer to my soul’s response. I don't except anyone to look at my work and try to interpret what I was feeling at the time I created it as everyone has their own view and interpretation. People are “individuals” and so are “feeling”; I believe “art” should be too. “Art” is what “individuals” make of it, for me it's a freedom of expression, a response from me, to the eyes of the beholder.
WHICH ART MEDIUMS DO YOU USE?
I work mainly with oil paint, which consists of thick creamy texture and depth than any other mediums. colours are also very important to me, it has many dimensions, it can be moody, dynamic, stubble, atmospheric and symbolic. Colour relationship combined with the manipulation of oil, space, light and texture are the core foundation of my creative process.
WHY DO YOU USE WILD CATS AND BIRDS IN YOUR PAINTINGS?
I use animals and birds to personify various human characteristics. The Bengal tigers in my work represent strength, beauty, pride and courage. The birds represent freedom.
DO YOU USE MODELS?
Models are very essential to my work, as I require unusual figurative poses and often use female models in creative photo-shoots to establish composition of my subjects. I mostly initiate and create the whole concept; backdrop, make-up, photography and editing for my ideas start to end. As a creative person, I always sketch my ideas or cut out images from magazine or paper. This allows me to preserve my ideas and also use it for future references.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE A PAINTING?
It usually takes me 4 months to a year to complete a piece at a time, although I start on 3 to 4 canvases at a time. Some ideas arrive suddenly while others take weeks, months, and even years to connect and complete. Each canvas is painted several times if need be. These original paintings will only increase in value, but no cash value can be put on the authenticity of owning an original artwork.
WHAT INSPIRES & INFLUENCES YOUR PAINTINGS?
My work is mostly inspired and influence by what I see and sense around me, in the form of books, magazine, photos, objects, music or a video, which I can relate to and interpret my story through splashing colour! These influences often find their way into my paintings and I feel a need to capture the moments, space and translate the ideas into a visual form. However my creative process is very unpredictable; often my finished paintings are quite different from my original conceptions.
MMG: WHAT DO THE “WOMEN” IN YOUR PAINTING REPRESENT?
The paintings of women featured in my artwork are my understanding of “what women want,” the essence of marriage, women hood, beauty and values of roots within the context of their own choice. The paintings demonstrate my pride of being a British, Bengali and Muslim woman. I am not afraid to express my individuality and challenge boundaries regardless of what cultural and religious teaching may interpret as an ideal representation of a women in a mans written world.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO PAINT WOMEN AS YOUR MAIN SUBJECT?
As a woman, I relate to the “Female Form” skin deep. For me, painting women goes deeper than their outer beauty. A women’s inner beauty is often burdened with pain, yet a women carries her self, gracefully like a lotus, refusing to drown.
When a women cries, her innocent tears create lakes and rivers to flow; breeding new life and washing away the sins of human race.
When a women smiles, the sun rises each morning to send it’s blessing; filling her heart and soul with rays of gold.
When a woman feels lost and lonely, the moon lightens up her path and shows guidance.
When a women’s inner beauty is destroyed, god creates destruction because he feels her pain!
A “women”, Is she not the most magnificent creation of God? I see the female form as the mother of all living things; she is, “Mother Nature.”
WHY IS BEAUTY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
God created heaven and earth, the sun, the moon; he also created “beauty” to be admired in various forms and shapes. To me, the understanding of beauty is the creation of life itself, the ability to perceive and acknowledge its existence; the need to exist and perfect our selves is the goal of the soul.
“Beauty” finds its way into our conscience, it speaks no language; it needs no translation other than to interpret its existence through the eyes of the beholder and through all their senses. “Beauty” is the mirror in which I seek truth, happiness, and sense of belonging, tolerance and acceptance.
In my paintings you will be able to evident beauty through the lens of my eyes, body, spirit and soul. I paint my thoughts, feelings, imagination and inspiration to portray my desire, experience and influences. Without “Beauty” My subject matter would not exist
Source: Aliya Khan Interview with MMG, 2016