Sunday, November 10, 2013

Emoting with art -- Jamaica Gleaner

Rafza Nehaul transforms palm tree bark into works of art, her collection
inspired by India and its diversity (JG Photo)
Emoting with art -- Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | November 10, 2013
Amitabh Sharma, Contributor
To walk into the studio of Rafza Nehaul is to walk into a bazaar in the bylanes of India - lively, vibrant. The colours and pungent aroma of the spices can get any olfactory to break into a party on the move ... yet her works stand frozen, capturing those elements. Nehaul's work and media, in some essence, are a confluence of the world's largest democracy. "I was awed with India when I went there," Nehaul, a former science, biology and mathematics teacher, said. This visit commenced a love affair with the country's colours, people and life, and became a series of India-centric pieces - the maharaja (king) in his opulence, and the 'big fat Indian wedding' with the brides in their glittering finery taking the centrestage. Her travels to India were, in essence, the heady mix of spices, ground on stone to release their essential oils and then mixed to tantalise the tastebuds.
"There are so many colours to inspire, and the spirit of the people is awe-inspiring," Nehaul related. "Wherever we went, we were welcomed with warmth." -- Artist Rafza Nehaul to the Jamaica Gleaner
The self-taught people- and nature-inspired artist, uses organic media to express her creativity. "I use natural fibres, crates, construction leftovers and anything that people might think is garbage." Barks of royal palm lie around her work space - a material she extensively uses, adding a third dimension to her works. "The texture and flexibility (of the royal palm) gives layers to the work that I am creating. I see texture and patterns in organic matter," Nehaul informed. She mixes recycled and organic materials splashed with some usual and other improvised colours - in one of her works, Nehaul used left over nail paint. "This is where my science comes to play," she chuckles, as she turns chemical compositions into works of art. "Any of the material can be used as my canvas. I don't have a set format or pattern in which I build my pieces, they just happen and evolve," she added.
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