1. The Gatekeeper
2. To Dip Your Toes in Both Worlds
3. Red Hands
5. Patiently Praying
6. Crouching Figure
7. If I've Got You, Life is Going to be OK
8. Giant Leaps
watercolour on paper
28 x 36 inches
Created in June this year, ‘Gatekeepers’ are a series of paintings that describe my personal confronting fear and change deep from within ones soul. Each figure embodies a specific emotion that I’ve had to confront in order to depart from a past identity that I no longer associate with. In this way, the figures in the paintings are metaphorical gatekeepers into new realms of being; the artwork serving as a personal obituary of previous versions of the ‘self’ that no longer serve me.
The figures in the paintings are inspired from studies of dancers whom I draw whilst they rehearse. I work quickly to capture the essence of the dancer loosing oneself in a moment, before they are snatched back into reality. Working in ink & watercolour allows me to keep up with the pace and rhythm of the dancers emotions. I use ink to unblock my thoughts and reveal my hidden imaginations; it has an unruly mind of its own and allows for unexpected results. Through layering sketches from observation with my inner thoughts, I create paintings of dual meaning- they are both a representation of the female nude as seen from observer, and an autobiographical account of death and rebirth.
I intentionally avoid painting the facial features of my subjects. In Islam, it is forbidden to depict Idol or God like forms. Due to my religious upbringing, I avoid depicting the face out of respect for my faith. Instead, I choose to portray emotion through the subjects body and context, allowing the viewer to project their own identity into the faces of my characters.