Inquiring minds want to know! In a world increasingly inclusive, especially as it becomes more diverse and divisive, what do we have in common? Ask artist Shaun Ilahi, a self-described global citizen. He thinks we share a lot. This part social advocate and community builder, both of which inform his art, Ilahi has spent his career giving voice to people and ideas through “storytelling” via various art mediums.
In his previous solo in 2022 at Fred Simon Gallery, “COLOUR,” explored a vivid commentary on the universal spirit of humanity in the midst of a global pandemic. By portraying various images in various color and hues and captured from around the world, the complex narrative showed how, stripped of our social constructs, we are all interconnected emotionally and psychologically.
That includes Ilahi whose travels have marked him as something more than scientist or tourist and his imagery more than science project or scrap book. As proof, the artist offers to just “Ask About Me,” a solo show at Project Project opening May 12 on Vinton St. In the exhibit Ilahi continues to explore stories of cultural norms interacting with one another. But this time around its personal.
As before, his imagery illustrates how various cultural and social belief systems create both an attraction and repulsion that are interwoven in our society. No longer mere observer or recorder, the paradox has marked him as well. Rather than offer simple truths or easy answers, the dichotomy has defined him, sustained him.
“Traversing the world has forged me onto multiple paths of self-discovery,” said Ilahi in his show statement. “Through that process I have danced and navigated through various cultural nuisances. The cultural pulls gravitate me to people that radiate an energy and fire for truth and fearlessness that have stretched me.”
And if the artworks created for the show reflect his interpretation of blurry norms and traditions influenced by the diversity and contradictions of his journey, Ilahi says he welcomes it and the viewer.
“I choose to focus on the fire. And if you don’t understand. Ask about me.”
“Ask About Me” by multi-media artist Shaun Ilahi opens from 6-9 p.m. May 12, at Project Project at 1818 Vinton St. For more info and gallery hours, go to www.instagram.com/weareprojectproject/?hl=en