Nostalgia 1, 2021
Embroidery and found fabric on canvas
95⅝ x 95⅝ in.
243 x 243 cm
$ 2,500 USD
Breathing Time Parts 1-11, embroidery and found fabric on canvas
The expressions ‘I need space’ or ‘to have space’ are commonplace in our speech. And yet, when we say space, we actually mean ‘time’…a particular type of time – a time without other obligations, pressures, commitments, priorities. And space for yourself is then a time, for someone to be themselves, to be able to choose to be practical or not, to follow an idea without knowing exactly where it will lead, to be introspective without apology, to daydream, without necessarily having anything to show for it at the end, except a smile.
While even in the most ordinary circumstances this kind of time is not commonly available to adults, with pressures of survival, work, parenting, it became even less so during the pandemic lockdown; and even less so for women in social settings where they are still responsible for most of childcare and therefore home schooling of children; and even less for women artists, who are parents trying to construct time and space out of shards of a day left after caring in the same environment, where there is no genuine square centimeter which is yours and yours alone.
This was both the seed and the soil for Shamilla Aasha’s ‘Breathing Time’ and yet this exhibition is a gift of breath and freedom that she not only claimed for herself but also generously shares with us. Her embroidery is intricate and patient and yet is entirely playful and unfettered by any desire to conform. The formality of stretched canvases only underscores the unpredictability which is nothing short of a quest to be oneself, unquestionably and without a need for defiance. There is both harmony, elegance and a pathos in these works, which simply arrive and are, and don’t need to earn our attention because they already own it. The dignity which speaks to a whole humanity we all seek for ourselves and which art helps us find.