Zarrin Fatima Shamsi
Zarrin Fatima Shamsi grew up in a traditional family with her mother and grandmother engaging in sewing and stitching at home. She developed a keen interest in crafts, and creative path became her getaway from the study of other subjects. As a printmaker, she is inclined towards natural objects likes tree bark and leaves. Impressions of these objects are her unspoken words. In the current series, Shamsi has used found objects like woven plastic nets and mats to make highly detailed prints. The tear in the forms narrate stories of loss and death, of pain and decay. These relics of nature help her preserve these emotions, which are highly personal but allows for the viewers to relate to them. Her art questions if loss is all about darkness?
She studied art at MS University, Baroda before relocating to Kuwait.
Zarrin-Fatima Shamsi (b. 1994) is an artist, printmaker, and art educator, currently working in Kuwait. She holds a Master’s Degree in Graphic Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Painting from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India. Over a few years of working in the field of art, she has participated in several group shows and workshops in India as well as internationally. She has also achieved an Award from Bombay Art Society for Best Painting under Student Category, Mumbai in 2016 and 3rd Runner-up award for the online Affect Art Competition under the category of New Media, India in 2020. She has also been a part of Fund raising art shows such as Varsha 2020, Art Show (Supporting Cancer Patients), and Rise Up Beirut, Art Fundraiser - LAPA’s Virtual Art Fundraising Exhibition for the crisis in Lebanon, Kuwait (August 2020). Other than working and continuing her practice as an artist, she has also been working in Kuwait in the field of teaching. She has worked at Kuwait University as a Teaching Assistant for Printmaking and she is currently working in a Private studio for taking Art and Printmaking classes. Her works mainly deal with nature and objects that come from nature, in an attempt to express her emotions and memories attached to it. One might say that her visual language and approach towards painting/print-making are organic and sensitive. Her work has always been experimental, trying to achieve something new with each work. She wishes to explore printmaking in more depth and to find alternative ways of printing through her work.
“I perceived that I was able to communicate through objects that are found in nature. The objects represent my words, words that remain unspoken and unexpressed.” I form an attachment to small things/objects, which I find around myself. It gives me pleasure to collect objects from the ground, which are almost neglected or discarded/thrown away (either by humans or by nature) without giving much attention. I have collected a variety of objects over a period of time, drew them, painted them, and studied them and in this process, I have contrived a close connection to them. They can speak of things which are impossible for me to express in words – acting as a metaphor to the emotions hidden deep within me. These
objects for me are a source of association with people, memory and the place where it belongs. It reminds me of the experience that I shared around it. Hence, I try to interpret them in my work through drawing them or taking impressions of them, which changes the perspective of how we look at them. It is exciting for me to see how even a “not so important” thing becomes important when it is transferred onto a paper with some thoughtful input. A goal within my work is to induce the desire for personal interaction: to be close, to look within, to touch, or to feel the essence of that object.
My childhood has been about growing up in a house, which inhabited lush vegetation. This gave me a chance to be in close proximity to nature in my leisure time. A maple tree seed, a decaying oak leaf, or a delicate seashell resting on the
beach were not just objects, but were characters who narrate stories; stories of loss, death, and decay. They are precious for me, therefore I engage myself in preserving them. It gives me immense joy to collect the relics of nature. I relate this act of preservation with that of preserving the body of females, the body which has been a battlefield throughout human existence. The body gets transformed throughout one’s life; several times the female body is inflicted with violence disrupting her physical form and existence. The works are symbolic of the pain and loss of the body, they also
suggest the importance of preserving and caring for it. The inclination towards the objects can also be traced back to my preferences for feminine forms, the forms which have been an integral part of my practice. I am also drawn towards man-made objects, which are thrown away by humans; as they suggest the same vulnerability as the natural objects. The subdued and subtle colors of my work draw reference from the silent expression and unexpressed feeling of the women. It also derives its essence from nature’s color of decay.
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