Artist Naziha Amin's first ever exhibition titled, Kesh (Hair), recently concluded at Drik Gallery, Dhanmondi. She studied Fashion Design at Shanto Mariam University and was an art teacher in an English medium school for six years. She left the job to pursue what she felt was her true calling and is now a full-time artist who dedicates herself to commission illustrations, mainly for underground death metal bands and her own personal artworks.
After a few failed attempts in organising group shows, Naziha focused on creating a body of work for her own solo exhibition for the last two years. Kesh included 45 paintings and assemblages in a variety of media including acrylic, oils, watercolour, ink, colour pencils as well as ribbons, Christmas ornaments and Styrofoam.
A major influence in Naziha's life and art is her husband, a musician, who has encouraged her to continue her artistic pursuits at every step of the way. Naziha said that she does not go by traditional themes of artworks in depicting moods through colours. Standing in front of a painting of her and her husband, she mentioned that the artwork signifies one of the happiest moments of her life, even though it is depicted in dark and dull colours.
Pointing to subtle, red colour pencil marks in an otherwise black and white painting, she said, “The exact moment at which inspiration struck for this image, I didn't have anything other than a red pencil around me and I had to get it out.” These words reflected her current expressionistic style.
Naziha started as a psychedelic artist from where she veered into surrealism. She further spoke about her ongoing series titled, Existential Horror. “When making stab-like marks on the canvas didn't feel like enough, I began adding materials on the surface to bring a new dimension to my expression,” she said. She describes her artworks and style as “hyper-expressionistic.”
She also mentioned that she chose the title Kesh for her solo exhibition because her hair is an inherited part of her identity. It is often a tangled chaotic mess, combed to perfection at times, ever growing, adapting, changing and evolving. Walking through the gallery felt almost like taking a journey through her visual diary. From paintings on tiny canvases to larger ones, there were artworks which were bright, colourful and simple as well as those which had more intense, raw and dark themes. All the pieces were ultimately threaded together to present the artist's transgressions between her many moods and styles.