“Scar tissue has no character. It’s not like skin. It doesn’t show age or illness or pallor or tan. It has no pores, no hair, no wrinkles. It’s like a slip cover. It shields and disguises what’s beneath. That’s why we grow it; we have something to hide. ” — Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed draws from the rich tradition of Middle Eastern carpet weaving to spin surreal creations that seem to defy physical laws — and the staticness of cultural relics. Sometimes his carpets appear to melt, their patterns dissolving into a pool of swirling colors like an oil slick, and other times they become three-dimensional, rising up in sharp spikes that defy the two-dimensional form. These are not carpets to be walked upon. Since we introduced Ahmed on the blog last May, he has created a new body of work that will debut at Cuadro Gallery in Dubai on September 14. A unique space in Dubai’s financial center, Cuadro is a non-profit gallery where Ahmed recently completed an artist residency. Take a look at some photos from Ahmed’s studio and his new works on Hi-Fructose.
The series is an exploration of contemporary religious-less self-baptism. Some photographed indoors and some photographed in nature, these photographs present the ritualistic and intrinsic quest for self-baptism in the contemporary age. The series can be seen as a portrait of the human condition, our primal search for meaning and self-discovery. Although these women do not identify with a religion, they feel a sense of renewal and reconciliation in certain places. I have photographed them carrying out their religious-less self-baptism with their eyes closed, in their private moment. Contrary to popular and historic representation of women in art, they have voices – a quote alongside their image concretes their intelligence and sense of spirituality and the honesty of the image. Also, they are named; they are real women with real thoughts on the world and their minds. They are not represented as fragile and small in their surroundings; rather, they appear empowered and in the process of renewal. Each photograph shows immersion, and through immersion these women find power and purpose.