Visiting an artist’s studio is an inspiring and intimate experience, and the one that we visited last week – Shezad Dawood’s studio in London’s East End – was no exception.
The event was organised by From My City in collaboration with Arianne Levene, an art advisor at New Art World, which specialises in sourcing Contemporary Art from Asia and the Middle East. Arianne introduces Shezad: “Ironically, despite Shezad Dawood being an artist who was born and raised in London, I came across his works at the Dubai Art Fair back in 2006. I was fascinated by the range of mediums he was exploring: film, sculpture, photography, painting and performance, and inspired by the multitude of references in his work: art history, religion, philosophy, architecture and contemporary culture.”
Dawood is indeed an impressive artist with a strong academic background. He trained at Central St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art before undertaking a PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is currently a senior lecturer and research fellow in experimental media at the University of Westminster.
The overview of his work is fascinating. Shezad took us through the various spaces of his gallery in chronological order, starting with his series of film poster paintings and photographs produced while he was working in Pakistan. Throughout the venue, he offered insights into his three main areas of practice: experimental film, neon sculpture and textile painting. His interest, he explained, is in establishing networks that map across different geographic locations and communities, constantly layering different elements into his work and playing with people’s perception.
In his latest pieces, Shezad uses textile from Pakistan from the seventies and incorporates other worlds into it by stitching back into the textile and adding paint. Says Arianne: “Shezad Dawood’s most recent textile paintings are among my favourite works, not only for the innovative use of found textiles from Pakistan but also for their sheer beauty in both form and color.”
Dawood is one of the winners of the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize. Upcoming projects in London include a solo exhibition at Parasol Unit in 2014.