Curating Consciousness: Sophia Ahamed and The Prime
Headlining the “Primacy of Consciousness” exhibition at the Ayden Gallery this January, Steffen Quong urges the viewer to see “the human being as a verb.” Each of the artists involved in the exhibition engage with this conception of humanity and its consciousness in a newfangled and somewhat revolutionary way.
Though she says that the exhibit would lose strength if all work carried a common aesthetic, Sophia Ahamed’s work points to perhaps the most dramatic common thread between all current interpretations of consciousness, that is to say, our preconceived notions on what it feels to be alive. Similarly, Colin Moore’s work adds to Ahamed’s exhibit. He blatantly posits that “we have the capacity for experience”. Though it will cost you $2 at a vintage bubblegum machine, experience is something we must – I think, at least – open ourselves up to.
Ahamed seems to think so too. As she focuses on detail and wants her work to exude a sense of realism, the biology she constructs is at once abrupt and comforting. Demonstrating this mesh suitably is her piece called “Vulture Baby” where Ahamed seems to slam the biological structure of a baby with that of a vulture. While she picks out certain human and animal features and colours to highlight, what we make of it is ultimately up to us. Our interpretations are how we experience.
In the case of Ahamed’s art, this experience is the human one. She says “even though we all live different lives and in our lifetime we may be exposed to different types of illnesses, we are connected by our emotions and by our experiences.” Continuing, she mentions, “we have all gone through moments of happiness, of loss, of despair and of triumph.” What she wants is for the viewer to “find peace in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles.” In the end, her work communicates and facilitates a healing process of sorts – one that “stems from the artist and to the viewer.” The question remains: a healing of what malady? Well, that is up to the viewer to self-diagnose.
To see the process behind the art is possibly the most primal vision, and Sophia Ahamed has let us inside. Admitting that she writes her illustrations in advance of producing the actual piece, Ahamed reveals that the artistic experience (its creation, production and reception) is a human one and is, like Steffen Quong meditates, a perpetual action. Graciously thanking all those who have been a part of her artistic experience – in this exhibition and generally speaking - Ahamed enhaces Vancouver’s art scene with a refreshing and genuinely alive perspective. This exhibition is no longer at the Ayden Gallery, but Sophia Ahamed’s work can be viewed on her Behance portfolio. Finally, consider following Sophia and Colin on Instagram for your daily dose of local art.