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Title:        Elements of Nature by Tazim Jaffer

Dates:      23rd Oct - 11th November 2007

An Art of Spaces in Motion, Landscapes of Emotion and Cultural Migrations.

To Understand Tazim Jafferís art one has to understand the Global Village. She travels with ease from the USA to Asia, Africa and Australia, imbibing the flavour of different ancient cultures in a modern situation. On the one hand, there is a specificity of process in her works, with elements drawn from different cultures coming together in a space determined by her that could be landscapes to a European eye, sacred sites to an Asian and dream time to tribal and aboriginal people.

From another angle they represent no more than an organization of colours, forms and textures in two-dimensional space coming together at a moment in time, a moment significant in the artistís life that reaches out to the viewer as an interaction. And this interaction may transcend another sphere of activity as a transaction between a gallery owner and a collector.

Good art is that which is valid in each of these spheres. In Tazimís work one sees elements of many different pasts strung together as the collective washing of mankind. One can see in the same work, fertility symbols of tribes jostling with scraps of saris, handspun or chiffons, challenging the surface of the paper with a spreading of diaphanous wings like trapped insects. But beyond these insects we are confronted with layers of pigment replaying ongoing histories whose beginnings are as obscure as their future. But there is a certainty about the presence of flowing lines and colours that simulate great movements like those of geographical phenomena like storms, floods and earthquakes.

Indeed, geography is central to her expression as is evident from her photographs of sand dunes and beaches whose immobile and minimal skin is full of barely visible undercurrents that make them human, for it is the human eye and the human hand that give them their final shape. So they are as much a reflection of the human spirit as they are of natural phenomena.

Indeed, it is this underpinning of the human essence that gives her works their emotional quality allowing the distinction of the inner and outer to melt in the process of creation. It is this element of creating a new form of life that gives her work its originality.

A new form of life is not easy to create; but Tazim is well-trained for the task. Not only has she trained as a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Youngstown State University in Ohio, USA; but has got a Masterís degree in Visual Anthropology from Kent State University, also in Ohio. So we can see clearly why her works are deep-rooted and yet mobile both in time and space. True, they reflect her peripatetic existence across continents; but more than that, they reflect the way she weaves differences into harmonies that evoke the unity in diversity that characterizes our world today. In these works of hers one sees cultural migrations of visual elements that simulate the melting-pot of cultures the cities of the world are today.

So, for all the remoteness of the places she chooses to photograph and the exotic nature of the visual symbols she weaves together, her art is the metropolitan visual expression of the global village, which is not a village at all. That is why for all its complexity, people all over the world can relate to her works with ease and access worlds unknown to them with a sense of spontaneous familiarity that is uncanny.

Suneet Chopra, Art critic, writer.


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