Made in Arts London – Artist Interviews, Part 2: Aasiya Zeenat Merali; Giada Maestra; Quetzal Maucci; & Tasia Graham

Recently scanned by The Net Gallery to create a virtual tour, The Iridescent Collection exhibition AT TM Lighting Gallery features work by over 40 new creatives, all of whom are current University of the Arts London (UAL) students or recent graduates. Organised by Made in Arts London, a not-for-profit enterprise run by Arts SU (the students union for UAL students), the exhibition is part of a wider programme that nurtures young talent throughout the early stages of their career. 

In the second instalment of our articles talking to artists with work in the show, here we feature Aasiya Zeenat Merali, Giada Maestra, Quetzal Maucci, and Tasia Graham.

Aasiya Zeenat Merali

The Scotsmen Burn by Aasiya Zeenat Merali. Oil on canvas. 60 x 76 x 2 cm (Unframed).

“My piece in the exhibition, The Scotsmen Burn, looks at a love story in symbols. It tells the story of a handwritten letter found in a bottle and the tears it left in its wake. I often tell stories within my work and I like to explore these through a stereotypically feminine lens.” Aasiya Zeenat Merali

Discussing how their practice has developed while studying for a BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts, the artist says:

“Over the course of my BA, my practice has become much more interdisciplinary as I has have started working with textiles and ceramics as well as paint. However, this was made far more difficult by the pandemic as these new mediums required me to be in the workshop and studios and the numerous lockdowns meant my access was very limited and at times fully restricted.” 

You can learn more about Aasiya Zeenat Merali via their website and Instagram, and via the Made in Arts London website.

Giada Maestra

Gattopardo by Giada Maestra. Digital illustration printed on 230 gsm white matte high quality paper. Digitally signed by the artist. Open Edition. 21 x 29.7 cm with 0.5 cm white margins (Unframed).

Gattopardo is one of the works to which I am most fond. I made it one year ago for the realization of Christmas Cards, in collaboration with a friend of mine, who runs her own Italian brand. I wanted to create something fun and diverse from the usual Christmas images we see and I believe the design is very representative of my body of work. It faces in fact topics dear to me as a woman, like self acceptance and body positivity, but in a playful and ironic way, It is also inspired by the everyday, with a pinch of fantasy. The piece was digitally created, using pencil and ink on Procreate.” Giada Maestra

Explaining how she approaches her compositions, Maestra adds:

“I usually tend to start with the main subjects, in this case the cat and the woman. I study them through observational sketches in order to get the right poses, proportions, and colours, to create their character. After that, I reflect on the need to add some elements to reach more balance and completeness and, if so, I play with colours and shapes until I’m satisfied with the result.” 

You can learn more about Giada Maestra via her website and Instagram, and via the Made in Arts London website.

Quetzal Maucci

Your Hands by Quetzal Maucci. Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique Paper. Edition of 10 + 2 AP, signed. 40.64 x 58.42 cm (Unframed).

Baci, Piccoli Baci, Grandi Baci (Kisses, Little Kisses, Big Kisses) is a photographic and mixed-media exploration of my constrained relationship to my father who I did not meet until I was 23 years old. Through the work, I face my own suppressed memories in order to unfold complex emotions and explore themes of absence, childhood, fatherlessness, and difficult family dynamics. I tackle feelings of meeting someone who is biologically a part of me, but who I know nothing about. By utilizing therapeutic photographic processes, this work dismantles memory, family albums, and fatherlessness. The project combines family photographs, poems, collected keepsakes, intervention photographs, and my own photographs from our first encounter. The project is guided by letters that I wrote directly to my father. The work lives in an intimate and handmade book.” Quetzal Maucci

Asked about her perspective on the relationship between ‘photograph as art and photograph as document’, Maucci says:

“It is complicated to quickly explain my take on this in regards to the history of photography so I will focus on my own work. What is deemed as art tends to develop from a feeling or feelings. Documents tend to be seen as an official record of information. Within my own work, photography is a symbiosis of both. That is not to say all photographers see their work similarly or that all photographs are a symbiosis of both. As photography has developed over time, the truth of a photograph as a record of something has also been challenged. My work explores my feelings while creating a personal documentation that hopefully has a connection to my audience. A piece of me lives in all the work I create. My ongoing work, Baci, Piccoli Baci, Grandi Baci, about my meeting my father for the first time in my life is an artistic exploration, a therapeutic journey, and a document of my family history.”

You can learn more about Quetzal Maucci via her website and Instagram, and via the Made in Arts London website.

Tasia Graham

Drowning on a Summer’s Eve by Tasia Graham. Digital print. Edition of 15. 55 x 75 cm (framed).

Drowning on a Summer’s Eve is a tribute to those one who are wanderers. Those who are lost and alone, yet comforted by the warmth of tomorrow, and the idea of brighter days – ‘She wanders in the rain alone reflecting on her past but Is comforted by the future.’ I used red to create the idea of warmth, and the hints of blue for hope, contrasting with the depiction of the sad image. I created this piece digitally, initially with a pencil sketch. I layered with detailing using my muted colour palettes to add a sense of atmosphere, reflecting my illustration practice.

Talking about the experience of participating in the exhibition at TM lighting Gallery, Graham adds:

“Made in Arts London is my first exhibition after graduating and has helped me to solidify my professional practice. It was surreal to see my art next to other amazing artists!” 

You can learn more about Tasia Graham via her website and Instagram, and via the Made in Arts London website.

Article and interviews by Richard Unwin.

The virtual tour of the The Iridescent Collection exhibition is available to view, here.

Visit the Arts SU and Made in Arts London websites for more information.

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