An interview with Ayesha Feisal
An interview with Ayesha Feisal
Last updated on
Jul 13, 2022 13:10
Ayesha Feisal is the latest artist to take part in our This Is Our Home project. We photographed Ayesha outside her childhood home in North London, alongside her piece ‘Mutable Space’.
Here, Ayesha shares her thoughts on exploring the human psyche and using creativity as a form of resistance and self-empowerment.
I grew up Harringay North London, then later across to Tottenham. Part of the same but diverse borough.
I’ve always been interested in human behaviour and why people do the things they do. Naturally this led to an exploration of psychological states and the psyche within my work.
Ideas of consciousness, belief systems and how they impact notions of self, intrigue me. How do the narratives we tell ourselves shape our expectations and influence our actions? I use the human form to explore these themes in my work.
Mutable Space relates to the idea of change, acclimatisation and having to evolve.
I’m drawn to and portray characters with elevated mindsets, for me those are characters that challenge and move beyond the impact of circumstance, environment and social conditioning. Those that recognise their power and are liberated within my art.
I find the creative process itself empowering and I feel most impactful when I’m in that space. I’ve come to understand that everything starts with a thought, with a belief and an expectation.
So, what happens when we exist in a society where there's a constant battle for control of our minds in one way or another? How much of our thoughts are our own, and do they correspond to our “self?” It’s frustrating for me to see restriction being pushed as the norm. How do you go past oppression without being consumed, how do you find a way to stay on purpose and realise your potential?
I see creativity as a form of resistance and self-empowerment. I believe images have the power to restore collective emotion, to lift the spirit and inspire. This can be a catalyst that creates action in the viewer.
I moved into my current space during the pandemic. Prior to this I was working from my home studio, but this soon felt impossible during lockdown when the whole family were also home. I couldn’t get any work done.
The change in environment birthed new work, as I found I was able to experiment with new processes and materials that were not possible to work with at home. I started developing sculptures as part of the series.
I spent time experimenting with various mediums and methods, evolving technical processes that allowed me to articulate my thoughts. I would add compounds at various stages of the process causing the materials to mutate, then though manipulation and a combination of techniques I would develop the structure. The pieces would go through many stages (like that of the personal journey) continuously evolving whilst evoking a feeling of transcendence.
I would like to see more help from the government to assist buyers; as for many, trying to save for a deposit whilst the cost of living is so high is extremely difficult.
I was fortunate enough to get on the property ladder before house prices reached the levels that they are now, but it still seems there’s only so far you can go in terms of size and affordability for a growing family.
So, for me the ability to be creative with space is so important. It’s not the bricks and mortar that make a home but everything that’s inside it. The arrangement of space and furniture, the images and colours that surround you, familiar scents, sounds and objects right through to the energy that runs through it.
During the first lockdown period. I became something of a windowsill gardener. Living in the city and not having a huge outdoor space, I felt a real need to ground and to earth. I had this intense urge to cultivate and start growing plants…to bring the outside in, in a sense.
It got me thinking about the relationship between ecosystems; the growth of virtual networks; our reliance on tech and how it’s become an extension of ourselves.
I started looking at carnivorous plants, I’m inspired by their forms. I’m fascinated by their ability to adapt and grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, for me this feels like a metaphor for our current social climate.
As world events continued to unfold, I found myself questioning how we would move forward as a society and became focused on the notion of ‘transformative potential’ and how I could develop this within my work. The Garden is a metaphorical setting through which I explore these ideas. The works in the series reflect on the shifting times, looking at what is cultivated in our social landscape.
I created several spheres within the series that are symbolic of the various states we experience as a society. Did you know that the Earth has its own chakras (or energy centres)? These veins of subtle energy create the grid system that transmit frequencies throughout the entire planet, like the inner workings of our own human electronic field, meridians and circulatory system. These geometric alignments are believed to also expand and connect to the planets and constellations creating a unified field of energetic layers that comprise the larger planetary body and universal consciousness, like a massive, interconnected web.
‘Mutable Space’ also correlates to the idea that we can determine our experiences through a change in attitude and environment. I’m a firm believer that we must be the change we want to see, and for me this starts with what I create, whether it’s my thoughts or the work I put out. Energy never ends, it just transforms. My art is experienced by all who see it, so with that in mind I create to be impactful and with purpose.
You’re welcome. My work can be found at:
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Chinaza Agbor is the latest artist to participate in our This Is Our Home project. We photographed her work “Peace and My Things” outside her home in South London, then caught up with Chinaza to discuss her unconventional artistic background and why, for her, home is nomadic.
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