Interviews | August 9, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani

Interview: Zahra Tharani
Luca Curci
talks with Zahra Tharani during VISIONS, third appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Zahra Tharani was born and grew up in Porto, Portugal, where she went to school and studied creative arts. Her love for art started as a very young child. She was fascinated and continues to be inspired by the blue skies and warm, bright colours found in the natural landscape and the beautiful effects of light on the world around her. These bright colours and light continue to inform her work. She works mostly in oils and colour pencils. As the years went on Zahra pursued her love for art and was encouraged by her parents to follow her interests. After completing her studies in Porto, Portugal, she came to London to study art history and classics at the graduate level at Kings College London. After her studies, I worked as a researcher at the British Museum and as a guide at Leighton House Museum. Later Zahra went on cataloguing and photographing in the archive and research department of the Courtauld Museum in London. Currently, she works as a Fine Art tutor at Chelsea Fine Arts, as well as pursuing her career and vocation as a fine artist with a studio based in Kensington, London. Zahra is always trying to discover new ways of painting. Unlike most artists who do preparatory work, she likes to think things through and start on the final piece. Her current interests are playing with the juxtaposition of words and images, often to humorous effect. Through her art, she wants to create art that makes people think. For Zahra, fruit, vegetables and flowers are metaphors for ideas, conditions, moods and feelings.

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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani

She considers the idea of mortality, and how the time we have is finite and ephemeral. These ideas are drawn from the Dutch Vanitas tradition of painting. It thrills her to see the final effect of the application of colour and light but also makes people think of what lies beyond the image. As the world and circumstances change, the only element of stability is the family for many people. Zahra’s work often revolves around the human condition, society and family relationships such as those of her own family. A good and supportive family sustains us and keeps our balance in challenging times. Moreover, and also as a way of recording time, she sometimes takes urban landscapes, political events or social changes as a subject for her paintings. Currently, Zahra is organising her participation in a show at a gallery in Paris. She also exhibits with the Society of Fulham Artists and Potters and Croydon Art Society, and annually at the Parallax International Art Fair, London. Recently Zahra had her work exhibited at Gunnersbury Park Museum and White Gallery, both in London where she sold several paintings. In addition, Zahra has been featured in the Wandsworth Art Journal as an upcoming artist. Her work is scheduled to show as part of a group exhibition in Bourne Hall and Denbies Picture Gallery, London.

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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani

Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Zahra Tharani –
I studied creative art and continued to paint even when studying art history and classics. After working in museums, I decided to establish myself as a fine artist in Kensington, London.

LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
ZT –
Unlike most artists, I think about the work I want to do and visualize it in my mind. Then I make a drawing on the canvas and start to paint. Sometimes I may want to change something. When that happens, I usually make alterations directly on the canvas. I like to take breaks and stand back to assess my work. It helps to walk away and do something else. This makes you look at your work with a fresh eye. While working I have classical music playing in the background. I find music makes me focus and get into my painting.

LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
ZT –
In recent times, I use a reasoned process to select my subjects. I want to make people think about the works so I combine titles with artwork. A good example of this method would be Magritte’s famous painting ‘Ca c’est pas une pipe’.

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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani

LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
ZT –
I want art to touch the soul with its color and beauty. I want it to relate to people’s feelings, moods and relationships. I often use fruit and flowers as a metaphor for the cycle of life, mortality, the blossoming of youth and beauty than the decay of old age. Fruit and flowers are living things like humans. They too are born, flourish and die. However, sometimes I play with words and images for humorous effect.

LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
ZT –
When I complete a work of art, I am proud of all the hard work put into such a beautiful piece of art and become quite attached to it. It feels difficult to part with. After that, I look at it quite critically spotting all that could be done differently. I always think about ways I could develop my work. In this way, the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme. Les Enfants is a metaphor and reflects the similarity between nature and humanity.

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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
ZT –
My work Les Enfants is part of a series of paintings that looks at relationships and the cycle of life, marriage, birth, death and continuation. A man and a woman get married and have children. This painting shows the unity of siblings. The pear shape resembles that of a female. I have several sisters and we are all very close, so this painting resembles us. I am outside as I was the artist and always doing and seeing things differently. I have chosen fruit because they too have a cycle of life. They are born, blossom and die. They are part of us as they sustain us in our life by giving us nourishment as we too go through a cycle. We will die go back to the soil nourish mother earth and new fruit will be born. We are brothers and sisters living together and dependent on each other.

LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What so you think about our services?
ZT –
I would definitely suggest collaborating with your organization as shows are very well curated, providing support to the artists and information. It also gives the artist excellent exposure.

LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
ZT –
This was my first international exhibition. I found it a good experience so I would suggest the organization maintains all the services provided.

LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
ZT –
I like the opportunities your provided artists like me to be known on the international world stage.

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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani
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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani
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Image courtesy of Zahra Tharani

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