Artist Marzia Farhana On Capturing The Human Condition & Challenging Hierarchies Through Her Artwork
- IWB Post
- July 6, 2019
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
“Everyday life inspires me; the kind of world that we live in inspires me, that is where my visuals come from,” says Dhaka based artist Marzia Farhana. Marzia is shy, restrained, and a woman of few words, perhaps because she lets her artwork do all the talking.
Marzia’s art world is one of constant disorientation. You are sure to come face to face with the crisis of the self and surrounding. Her illustrations strike me as bizarrely chaotic, like the insides of human brain, shrieking in desperation to find a way out of the wasteland that we have created out of this world.
The same was conveyed very explicitly in her installation for the Kochi Biennale 2019, titled Ecocide and the Rise of Free Fall, as paradoxical as it sounds and as reflective of the contemporary human condition as it can be.
The illustration features varied contrasting and damaged objects suspended by the roof. Marzia explains, “Freefall here refers to the human condition. The suspended objects represent the traumatized condition of the world, not just humans but everyone and everything else that it comprises of. It is representation of what we have done with the social and political systems of the world and how all of it is just feeding capitalism and none of it is working for us. The installation is a statement made in an attempt to raise awareness.”
Of course, social impact is always at the heart of her projects. For instance, for her project Equilibrium, Marzia worked with children in an attempt to “facilitate a space of equilibrium.” The aim was to erase the hierarchy of age groups, social status, etc.
She shares, “Underprivileged children were welcomed in my space, in fact, we also organized a competition for them. They are generally never seen as part of or are never invited to the cultural fronts, but the aim of project was to challenge such ideas of hierarchy and division.”
Marzia often uses discarded mundane objects as raw material for her artwork. In fact, that is something that can be found in the majority of her installations. In her art and aesthetics, one is sure to stumble upon the broken, the damaged, and the old in a way that adds meaning to its form.
She explains, “There is so much of wastage going on. The value of so many things is constantly overlooked. My aim as an artist thus becomes to revalue these mundane things as art objects. The task also is to challenge the hierarchies here as well. These old, “useless” things are nothing but objects for us but when transcended into art the object becomes subject.”
Marzia’s artwork is also like a mish mesh of things in a world where we are more stuck and less free, more machine and less human, which happens to be the reigning theme of her installation Act of Resistance. She shares, “The installation is divided into two parts, machines and visceral organs. Both are connected to each other with tapes and amidst this all there also feature toys, animals, all suffering in the violent conditions of a world where humans have become more of machines and machines have become more of humans.”
Ask her, if she believes there is any hope left for this desolate, apocalyptic world and Marzia replies, “There is no one answer to it but yes, hope lies in our own hands.”
Picture Courtesy: Marzia Farhan