Monday, September 29, 2008

The Drift, Art on Main Street

Just a reminder to all my blog followers that I will be part of the upcoming Drift Art Festival on Main Street (Vancouver, BC) this coming weekend. My work will be displayed at Front and Company on Main Street at 22nd Ave, which is a consignment clothing and gift/accessory store. I will be on site over the weekend, October 4 and 5th to answer questions.

For more information on the Drift, please follow this link:

www.thedrift.ca

Also feel free to visit my new homepage at:

www.zahidajaffer.com


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Girl Carrying Water

On a day where I had a few hours of spare time, I decided to doodle. I was thinking about strong women - strong women I've met, both in body and in character. Strong women who've endured all kinds of hardships, but still take on the role of caretaker. Somehow the image of a young woman carrying a large vessel of water on her head depicts strength. Physically, I couldn't carry water like that. But it's more than that here. How many of us here in Vancouver would whine and complain if we didn't have water coming out of our taps and we had to travel for miles to get it. What a terrible inconvenience that would be, to our busy lives. We'd likely whine more too if we were needing to fetch it for someone other than ourselves, like for children or sick parents.

To me the image is strength, and so I used the bold statement of "texture factory" technique, but kept facial features undistorted by it. I'm very pleased with the result of this picture, and will be featuring this piece at the Drift.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chai Time

So I am very likely, most definitely going to be on television next week. I've been called in to be part of an interview on Monday afternoon for the TV show called Chai Time, on Omni Television - a television program featuring the South Asian community in Vancouver. They will be speaking to me along with another artist from the Drift, Surrinder Bring, about our art work, and journeys as South Asian-Canadian artists. Of course I don't really believe this is going to happen, until I'm in the TV studio with the camera on me.

Of course being asked to do this has challenged me in many ways. The thought of speaking on TV doesn't scare me. Well, maybe a little. The main challenge is my own self doubt on whether or not I represent the South Asian community appropriately. But my response is, why not? Growing up in Canada has offered me the ability to be proud of who I am and where my family comes from, while offering me a lens of multiculturalism to view things. I can feel very connected to "Canadian" culture while also holding true in my heart where I come from. It's opened up a curiosity to learn more about the world around me, and visit parts of the world in which I had no prior connection. It's also deepened my guilt and worried me that I've neglected familiarizing myself with my own roots. But every time my family gathers, I realize how deeply rooted our culture is in how we do things, and how at home I am there, and how happy I am to be blessed with such an interesting history.

So I see this interview as an opportunity both to promote my art work, but also to prove a reminder to myself to take pride in where I come from.

Anyway, I'm now inspired to use this as an excuse to do an image I've been considering for some time in my mind. Will post it soon here. Sorry that this post had no accompanying image, but a promise for one soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Break for Peace (part 2)

You know, it's normally instinct to take down something you don't like... but instead I'm going to post the before and the after on this, even though the after is so much better....

After two days of having this painting sitting on my easel as it was before, I decided some work needed doing on it to make the dancer stand out more. I believe this method of self-criticism is constructive. I've set up my apartment like an art studio so that paintings aren't put "away" when they're not being worked on. This way I can continually contemplate my work, and decide on what can be improved and what the strong parts are. The same thing happened when I first started working on this painting about two months ago. The background behind the graffiti was once green, but I decided to cover it almost entirely with yellow, just from spending days seeing it every time I pass my living room. Now I'm even more pleased with the result of this painting. Here it is, for a second time: Break for Peace.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Break for Peace

This is most recent piece, and perhaps one of my most colourful, Break for Peace, draws upon my experience working with youth in Colombia in 2006. The youth I met live in the municipalities of Soacha and Chia, near Bogotá. The image brings together images of youth solidarity, graffiti art, hip hop music, and break dance: vehicles that urban youth in Colombia use to express their resistance to rights violations, to violence, to drugs, and to other issues that plague their lives. It is their way of expressing their need to break down barriers and express themselves as creative individuals and as a collective who need to not be ignored but heard. I got to participate in the annual "Festival Hip Hop" in Chia that said: ¨"No al consumo de droga. No a la violencia" – a positive message that encourages youth to understand that violence, joining the insurgent groups, taking drugs etc., is not cool. And that music that says otherwise is also not cool. This piece shows the colours, sounds, and sense of empowerment that the Festival gave to its participants.

Monday, September 1, 2008

West Arm, Kootenay Lake

After a two week hiatus, I'm back home in Vancouver. The past two weeks took me to many places, from Vancouver to Toronto, and all stops in between via the USA, then I flew back and went to Vancouver Island. I had originally hoped to do some artistic journaling but found that time was often a limiting factor. I took close to 700 photographs however, and fully intend on converting some of those into pieces of artwork - especially those of the beautiful Yellowstone Park in Wyoming and the Badlands of South Dakota. Stay tuned for this.

I did complete one drawing on this trip, while relaxing on the dock on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake where Jennifer's family have a place there where I was invited to stay a few nights before we headed south of the border. I decided to use the texture factory method, as I didn't want to travel with too many supplies, and with the various tonal qualities presented in the mountains, this seems an appropriate choice.