Zarina Muhammad – ‘Identity’ – Artist Q&A



On Saturday 8th October 2016, 6-9pm, Instigate Arts take over the main gallery space at HOME in Manchester to host our ‘Identity’ pop-up exhibition. In this series of Q&A’s we get a little more insight into what makes some some of the participating artists tick. Here we speak with artist Zarina Muhammad.


Can you tell us about your practice?
my practice is conversation based, or in conversation with itself. Like i am a tour guide, guiding you around my thoughts. Or a commentator talking about it with distance and perspective. maybe also hindsight.


How does your work relate to the themes of Identity?
i’m not sure if it does anymore. i always use myself in my work, but as of late, it has become a more neutral and detached self. my use of self has become more opaque. it’s there but not really there, u get me? the work i made a few years ago, definitely discussed identity as a subject matter, but to me, that’s in relation to a whole host of other topics or interests, all being forced into conversation with each other.


Do you think the themes of Identity relate to the current political and social climate?
not sure. Identity and my definition of identity is a subjective one. it is entirely individual and self-contained. I might have referenced external influences and climates, but only as they pertain or affect me and my body, my existence. it’s an internal kind of identification rather than an external one, especially in my current work. (but maybe i’m just re-rationalising/post-rationalising old work through the lens of my work now?) (i guess it depends. this is all subjective init)


How important is the role of artists’, and the art world, in shaping bothpeople’s lives, and the social and political landscape?
hmmmmmm, i’m not sure i’m too convinced by art’s (by that i mean art that is art, not art that is activism, or maybe art that is also other things) ability to affect change. but other people have different views, i get when artists who use their work as a type of activism say their art has affect. that i am on board with. My art is more about subject and research interests, slowly digging away at a subject for no particular reason other than academic interest; whether that has affect externally or not, that’s something i’ve never really given time to think about.

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