Today we’d like to introduce you to Farah Billah.
Farah, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Most of my work revolves around finding a way to combat my lack of freedom and lack of space. Growing up there were a lot of restrictions around my life and art was a way to let my imagination loose. When I picked up photography, I used it as a way to reveal my view of people and the world through styling, color, subject etc. When I started painting, the blank canvas gave me free reign to depict anything and everything on my mind, explicable or not. This is how I took my freedom back.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I paint mostly. The subject matter tends to gravitate towards Bengali women, plants, animals, jewels, and other fun things floating in space. I like to leave the irises and pupils out, which may be one of my more obvious motifs, because I believe people rely too heavily on understanding what they see. They want an answer, a reason, for why something was painted. For me, I want the images to blur from staring too long. I want the colors and the majesty of the tigers and gold from the jewelry to make people feel something. It doesn’t matter what that feeling is, as long as it’s something other than comfort and normalcy. I like to put things in space because I feel like there’s no room on the ground for my mind and my paintings are what my mind looks like. Floating and an amalgam of what I feel and know. People ask why I paint brown women, and it’s because that’s who I am, who my mother is, who are the pillars of strength and beauty in my life. I want people to feel and enjoy and not think so hard.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
My academic background is in politics so people tend to expect politics to visibly manifest in my work. It only affects my work in the way that it doesn’t affect it at all. I believe that the fact that I continue to make honest work as a Bengali-American woman with a Muslim background despite the political climate is a small revolution in and of itself.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I have a solo show in Sacramento at Sol Collective, the opening reception is September 14, 2018. I’ll most likely have another show in Sacramento next year. I will eventually sell my paintings, possibly prints, at a show or online at www.farahbillah.com.