I’m falling behind with some of my posts – the list of drafts is getting longer. Therefore I need to start compromising on my spell and grammar checks.
Anyway so I didn’t get many comments on the video (https://qunud.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/symposium-presentation/), but admittedly it is bad timing as everyone is very busy completing their projects. I did however get some from both Rabhia and Susan (final yr online students). Oh and now Claire too (first yr part-timer).
Rabhia’s feedback was:
It’s wonderful to actually find out what the work is about, I must confess, even though I have looked at your website, the one with the images, I was a little confused with the intention of the work.
But the presentation does make your thought process clearer.
I do have a couple of questions however
1. Being of “diverse background” myself , being born and raised in sunny England.
Do you feel you should define your practice in terms of a connection with religion? , I.e. as a Islamic artist after why not say your just an artist?
2.It could be argued that You, Me and Hassen are all Islamic artists, but then the test would be would we chose to define ourselves as such?
And by doing so are we ineffectively pigeonholing ourselves?
For myself, I do not define my practice in terms of religion, my practice is conceptual art, and the medium depends on what suits the work.
Is possible to denote my ethnic origin of my work, I’m not sure it is, clearly my name isn’t English, without that cue, I doubt that it would be possible to guess my ethnic origin from it.
Clearly, a number of works are influenced by Islamic Art/Faith, especially the typography work, the Miniature painting, the paper sculptures and the IE interactive film, but to say one is an Islamic Artist, is to say that one’s practice sits outside contemporary art scene, after this is largely made up of middle class “white” people with posh accents, especially the ones that run all the art establishments (95%)
(A couple of percent either way) white, according to the Art Council itself.
There a paper on their website or is it the Artist newsletter, I can’t remember.
So it was mostly questions which might sound familiar to a reader of my posts. They are topics and issues I’ve raised in the past and have certainly discussed in my Unit1 essay as well as in previous posts. But it’s always good to reflect back on these things and see if the answers have changed at all. If Rabhia had asked me those questions early in Unit 1 the answers would have been quite different to what they would have been at the end of Unit1 and those have slightly altered now towards the end of Unit2. The focus is mostly on definitions and categories and those are subjects I would look into if continuing the research post MA.
This is how I responded to Rabhia’s feedback:
It’s interesting that you’ve raised much the same questions that I looked very closely at during Unit 1.
I am just an ‘artist’ as you say, but I’m also Muslim and it’s what leads a lot of my choices in the art so I’m not afraid to pigeonhole myself. (as an aside, pigeonholing would not be a problem in itself unless the motive of the artist was to appeal to only their audience and that being to aim for a wide audience, rather than satisfy their own practice. There can of course be a balance but which comes first?)
But at the same time my art is produced for two levels – the first an aesthetic level which serves as a piece for visual appreciation (requires no knowledge of background or context). The second as a communication of ideas which if the viewer chooses can be explored from many angles, not just the Islamic. But if they then found out I was a Muslim, it might lead them to realise certain things in the art which are there to be read. This is the part where they have the option to interpret it as they wish or with some conscious effort to see if something is implied.
I interviewed many artists in the previous academic year and found that they all had different motives which would determine their choice of categorisation. This is why I am really interested in continuing the research – I came across some very interesting commonalities amongst the artists who have been curated as ‘Islamic’ artists. Some are reluctant to use only this term, others produce work which is obviously Islamic (Arabic calligraphy) and so it is part and parcel with their practice. Once the ‘Islamic Art’ label is adopted then it’s almost as if that work has been separated from the rest of the contemporary art scene. This would be another very interesting aspect for further research.
And one more thing – ‘Islamic Art’ is a term widely used in the art scene but relates to the culture and region in which the religion is pre-dominant rather than a direct implication that the work is of a religious nature. This is why categorisation of art work is a bit of an issue when it comes to these types of work.
Susan’s comments were:
The 1st point I’d like to make is that i found your symposium excellent and it gave a clear outline to your project, addressing many areas of your project and drawing the thought processes together in a way that was clarifying for me.
It has made me appreciate a little better the difference in understandings and expectations surrounding Islamic art and made me think about the arising questions of possible dialogues building between different expressions of contemporary cultures.
In response to Susan’s feedback I’d say I am quite pleased she has gained something from the video. The intention was to inform the viewer of the wider context of Islamic Art and to indicate where my explorations through the project research has taken me. It’s really nice to hear that it came across clearly too 🙂
And here’s the feedback from Claire:
it was nice to watch and learn more about your project in a verbal way, having followed your blog since last year
it was nice that the video had so many images to look at, this meant that it was never slow or tedious to watch as some videos are in places
it was interesting to discover your intention for interaction, especially the fact that it is so simple but yet very effective since 3D pieces have qualities of light e.g. shadow and highlights, but to put them in the dark and shine light on them is an exciting way of utilising their 3 dimensional quality
there were some shots which looked like modern sculpture e.g. pattern fabric with kitchen utensils… they were nice but seemed an abrupt jump from the preceding traditional pattern images
however the later inclusion of Islamic paintings as opposed to patterns was quite a nice broad overview of different forms of art for the viewer
the images of cut metal are very strong, particularly those which have been folded into space as opposed to 2D
the commentary sounds in places like you are reading it, when ideally it would sound like you knew it by heart, but this also is a plus because it sounds clear and not confusing
the commentary ends strongly with statements about looking forward to the group show and future research
this backs up the way you have conducted your project, a mix of exploration and confidence about what you like, want and are trying to do
I did indeed write notes which I used to read from at points. My memory just isn’t good enough to remember everything that needs to be said. Plus all good movies have strong scripts right? lol