“Good art… forces you to pause, to contemplate, and to think harder about your surroundings.” This quiet morning my surroundings consisted of over-staffed Kings Road boutiques, timid attempts by little shops to entice you with Valentine’s Day sales, and the grey loneliness of London streets. Life in the city can be both exhilarating and taxing. I remember when I first moved to London, I couldn’t sleep for nearly three months — so great was my fear of missing out on something exciting. Unable to decide between the Magic Flute at the Royal Opera House or a sushi night in Chelsea, I would wander aimlessly around Westfield Shopping Centre (my local at the time) with my mind buzzing and my soul restless.
If you live in a city and force yourself to make a decision about something, you ultimately feel as if you pulled the trigger on all options: be in personal, professional, or social aspects of life. I made a decision to spend my morning at Saatchi Gallery: originally drawn in by Revelations — an exhibition of the works by my compatriot Aidan Salakhova– I also got to view the Champagne Life, a collection of works by other female artists from around the globe. Awe-inspiring and highly detailed drawings by Jelena Bulajic from Serbia, an assemblage of old cooking pots by Maha Malluh, a taxidermy installation by Iranian-born Soheila Sokhanvari, an inverted image of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian with the poorly copied plastic sculpture of Minnie Mouse (I know!) by Julia Wachtel — all of these definitely “force you to pause, to contemplate, and to think harder about your surroundings.”
As for Revelations… I guess it is rather predictable that an image of a veiled woman, torn between her Oriental background and her Western education, spoke to my heart. Archaically occidental and extremely modern at the same time, Aidan Salakhova’s works made me feel… alienated? lost? terrified? They made me feel. Which, in my opinion, is the ultimate goal of any work of art.
As a little fashionista nod to my and Aidan’s heritage, this morning I wore an Azeri kelagayi — a traditional silk scarf which I discussed in this fashion post previously.