ARA: A New Face of the Old World – Sunara Begum

Sunara Begum
1 October 2010 to 20 November 2010

Sunara Begum

Sunara Begum draws her influences from the natural world, figurative painting, religious iconography, mystical philosophies and the cultures in which she was raised. Combining cinematography and storytelling, Begum’s work explores themes of identity and gender as seen in myth, divinity, both historical and contemporary. Her own personal experience is one of profound self-exploration and search for identity as she is interested in mapping connections between the human condition and the environments we inhabit. Using the body as a metaphor for landscape and the earth, her work investigates the politics of creation and transgression.

The female form represents the source of life and ultimately symbolic of power filled with mystery, passion and triumph. Begum’s desire is to delve deeper into the cause and effects of transformation of woman, marked through the various stages of her inner life. The story of Ara: A New Face of the Old World is a sacred narrative of a woman born in a timeless moment. Ara is a contemporary-ancient image of humanity and her movement is marked with its freedom. Throughout the manifestation of the world of Ara, Begum consciously becomes an active storyteller creating alternative realities and exploring the universality of woman and self as they become one. For her exhibition at 198 Begum will be presenting photographic images, short films and a series of visual dream sequences depicting the various stages in the mythology of Ara.

Begum’s work is evocative, powerful and meditative drawing us deeper into what it means to be a woman rooted in a tradition, yet an active force in 21st century culture. Being British born of Bangladeshi ancestry, Begum is perfectly positioned between East and West, placing her in a unique position to appreciate the issues surrounding cultural identity, alienation and the continual quest to find a place of belonging. Begum seeks to distill these experiences down to root truths and is unafraid to re-invent her approaches to necessitate change. Through choosing to focus her work on a deeply personal level, her desire is to inspire and enlighten her own life and the lives of others universally.

Sunara Begum graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2008 where she completed her BA (Hons) Fine Art and a Masters in Fine Art. She has collaborated with a wide range of practitioners from the visual arts, music and dance including multi-media artist, Trevor Mathison, spoken word artist HKB FiNN, classical composer Tunde Jegede and the dancer/choreographer, Bode Lawal. She has also been involved in theatre production, film and television including working as producer and cinematographer on internationally acclaimed award-winning documentary films, Our Story, Our Voice and 500 Years Later.

Workshop/ performance with Sunara Begum & Tunde Jegede
Saturday 16th October 2010 2-5pm

Exploring the key concepts that emerge in the exhibition, this workshop considers the links between sound and visuals in the 21st century using dance, music and imagery being part of a dying culture and the future of folk traditions.