A renowned Bulawayo textile designer, Shamilla Aasha (33), has been using her art to explore issues pertaining to her spirit and soul, and this will be the theme of her solo exhibition at the National Gallery in Bulawayo this month.
The exhibition, titled Calling of my Soul, will be officially opened on November 11 and will run until month-end.
It is sponsored by Alliance Française of Bulawayo.
The theme of the showcase is the result of her attempt to distinguish between her soul and her spirit and to differentiate the two.
Aasha is currently in a phase of exploring spiritual art and said this has been an interesting journey for her as she now knows more about her soul.
She said the exhibition could have been done in black and white, but this would have made it more difficult for people to understand.
“People need to be able to recognise things and since we are used to seeing things in black and white it would be difficult to recognise whether it’s emotion, form or shape that is being portrayed,” she said.
“I tried to concentrate on finding that place where my soul should be and then realised that my soul is there all the time so I just decided to paint and have fun.”
She is inspired by her personal experiences. When she paints, what she brings out is dependent on her mood at the time.
“My work is purely abstract and in the current series of paintings, I pick words or certain phrases that stay with me long after I’ve read them, they come from different stages of my life, from childhood to present,” said Aasha.
The Bulawayo Polytechnic graduate said she loved experimenting with mixed media, which was like building a puzzle without all the pieces.
“I’m using acrylics at the moment, which allows finality to my work. It’s taken several years and I am still in the process of unlearning most of what I learnt, mostly because I do not want to produce ‘pretty’ or ‘decorative’ abstract paintings,” she said.
According to the director of Alliance Française of Bulawayo, Fabien Invernizzi, there is a great need to support female artists as there are very few of them in the Bulawayo art community.