Interview: Faderera Wahab
Luca Curci talks with Faderera Wahab during the 18th edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Omofaderera Wahab is a mixed media artist who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and is currently based in Bournemouth, England. The core aspects of her work focus on themes relating to pattern design, nostalgia, and storytelling. She frequently draws inspiration from her environment and uses location as a means of expressing her longing for her figurative ‘home’, and the reminiscence that accompanies it, as well as answering questions surrounding the fictitiousness of memory, and how the way it is presented in one’s mind can be symbolic of the fragility of human nature. Some of the media that she primarily works with are Ankara (African Wax fabric) and Adire (traditional Yoruba tie-dye), acrylic and oil paint, photography, handmade and storebought ink, and so on.
The fabrics within her works act as a map tracing back to her Yoruba heritage and take various shapes ranging from hanging tapestries to wearable art forms, as she feels that there is an unspoken duality to fabric which is dependent on the needs and wants of the fabric owner. Nevertheless, regardless of the material she is working with, she begins most of her works the same way; by developing the background first, before incorporating a figure, or focal point into the aforementioned backdrop, as she wants her craft to accentuate the idea that the world surrounding a figure is just as meaningful as the figure itself in an artwork. Her current projects explore the relationship between organic tie-dye, pattern design, and painting as a way of creating time capsules of the present to create one or more bodies of work that are both records of time, emotion, and daily nuances, as well as reflections on objects and routines of importance.
Luca Curci – How did you get into photography? Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
Faderera Wahab – I got into photography mainly as a means of experimentation, I think it provided an opportunity to capture a moment as soon as it took place in a way that felt very spontaneous. I can’t say that I remember why I took my first professional photo because I never really look at my photographs as professional. I like to think of them as fragments of time, and some are naturally just more intimate than other based on the time and circumstances in which they were taken.
LC – How important is the editing process in your work? How’s yours?
FW – Editing is truthfully not that significant to my works because I rarely edit them unless it has to do with getting them ready to be printed and so on. Going back to the idea of photography as a spontaneous art form for me, I find beauty in the lack of perfection in some of the moments being captured, and how every little detail adds to the story behind the work. I feel that it helps me to keep the image as raw and untouched as possible, so that every time I see it, it feels like I’m experiencing that moment again.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
FW – All of my inspiration is God-given, and because of this, I may just have a rough image of what I want to depict in my mind and will go on to figure out how to turn that image into a physical body of work that can be seen and experienced by other people. Other times, it comes to me almost impulsively, where I may see or hear something, and this could be as basic as a lettering font, a particular colour, or the melody of a song, that grows out of its original form and into an artwork.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
FW – My art styles, as many as they are, are always evolving unconsciously. I have found that in recent years, in all the scopes of my work, from watercolour paintings to papermaking, and sewing, the biggest change is that I have learnt how and when to limit my colour palette. As someone who loves many colours, my style was very reflective of many of the colours that I found beautiful rather than the ones that complemented what I was working on. With time, this has changed, and I find myself using colour in a more limited way that allows each hue to stand out more distinctly.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
FW – Art is definitely a major medium of expression for me, and I use it to express almost everything. What it expresses changes based on my physical, mental, and even spiritual atmosphere at the time in which I am making it. As a result, sometimes it is expressing anger, other times it could be sadness, joy, hope, fear, longing, and so on. It helps me to let out my emotions without explicitly saying what I feel, which in itself, is cathartic.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
FW – Taking into consideration the theme for the exhibition, I wanted works that were reflective of both my mental and physical body in interaction with multiple spaces. The first, which is still untitled, depicts me in a garden, which I used to reference my relationship with my mother, whom I often associate with flowers and plants due to her garden in Lagos, Nigeria. On the other hand, the second artwork, “The Image of One Not Yet Known” was more self-reflective, and examined my perspective of who I am in comparison to who I am becoming, and how the latter is still unrecognizable to me.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
FW – I was intrigued by the concept of examining the physicality and lack thereof of the human body and mind within the framework of the exhibition space and felt that it was a good opportunity to question how some of my photographs could complement this theme. I was inspired to analyse some of my photographs with a fresh question in mind, how does this work portray my tangible and intangible essence? And that question led to new meanings behind each work.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
FW – I feel that they are a great influence in promoting art on a global scale and bridging the distance between meaningful art which may be hard to reach or access, and an audience that can view and appraise the work in a way that may not have been initially possible.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
FW – Honestly speaking, I don’t really have any problems or suggestions with the services provided so far, but I will likely inform you personally if I do have any suggestions.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
FW – Yes, I do. Speaking from personal experience, it has given me a chance to have my art seen on a larger scale and partake in something that contributes to wider conversations about the human consciousness, and based on this, I feel they are a good point of contact for artists who are looking for opportunities to expand their audience and clientele.