Tasawwur- Sajid Wajid Shaikh

Art and Charlie's most recent exhibit 'Tasawwur', a solo show by artist Sajid Wajid Shaikh was held at the pop up venue Kuckeliku Breakfast House, Colaba from 3rd Dec 2020 till 3 Mar 2021. 

Tasawuur (part i and ii) is a solo show by artist Sajid Wajid Shaikh. The exhibit is an oeuvre of older and recent works that reflect his ongoing study of the seemingly limitless bounds to our imagination or tasawuur (origin: Urdu). Seeing that the act of imagining springs as much from the subconscious as it does from a conscious thought process, the artist’s exploration of this metaphysical landscape is presented as a deconstructed exhibit in two parts.

Part i draws the artist deeper into his subconscious using dreams, childhood memories and instincts of muscle memory to create works on paper. Part ii showcases conceptual works that allow the artist to question the limits of his conscious mind, focussing on softening the threshold between what it considers fiction and fact. The exhibit juxtaposes artworks from these disparate deconstructed worlds to entice the viewer to mediate meaning across them and develop their own perspectives on the restraints of our tasawuur. 

Part i: The subconscious

The artist invites his viewers to step outside of the confines of their own consciousness and question what lies beneath its well-manicured exterior. He bares his anxieties, inner-demons, vulnerabilities and insecurities onto the page to explore the contrast between their latent and indiscernible, yet ubiquitous existence in his life. The artist views the process of creating as a meditative act in which normative notions of the self and the ego disappear. The act of making is a cathartic exercise, a somatic unfolding. His hands are guided by an unseen force, channelled through a lifetime of subliminal experiences.

The artist’s ripple-like signature line drawings are representative of his incessant inquiry into the depths of his subconscious, while the silk screen tableau offers a sense of calm, a moment when everything stands still in the landscape of his dreamworld. The confined protagonists of the Out of the Box series serve as a reminder of the fact that we are only truly limited by our imagination and not by the physical space within which we reside. The animated character series is an invitation to consider unsavoury childhood memories that are far too often overshadowed by the rosy happy-ones. Also on view are never before exhibited line drawings on mother of pearl. These works are the latest in material research conducted by the artist as he continues to expand the boundaries of his creative comfort zone. 

Part ii: The conscious

The artist studies the trappings of his conscious mind with intrigue and starts to question the thin line that separates imagination from reality or fiction from fact. For example an inquiry directed towards the apparent truths of ‘standardization’, when extrapolated to measurement of spatial length, leads one to wonder if the dimensions we perceive truly constitute a fact?  One could argue that a distance of 9 feet is deemed factual only because we, as a society, agree to the standardised unit of one foot. A circle with a specified diameter placed at a pre-decided height on a wall can only be replicated in new spaces if we, as a society, agree to a common unit of measurement for ease of communication. Governments check and approve standardised weight measures and then mark them with their stamp to validate what, a fiction or a fact? The rules of chess are standardised across the world, but what happens when you are only given knights to play with? Are you still playing ‘chess’? Through his digital “untitled” series on the screen, the artist continues his inquiry into the social architecture that underpins what our conscious mind often takes for granted in the construction of facts.

Using an array of found and created objects, the artist extracts the essence of the idea or tasawuur from these works through a set of methodical instructions that he leaves behind for his patrons. He acknowledges the lure of instructional paintings as a format that allows him and his patrons to become part of the same process of creation that completes the eventual work.