GOING SOLO: Artist Interview with Sha Sarwari

Connection Arts Space’s GOING SOLO series kicks off tomorrow night!

The first instalment in the series will be a conversation with the talented multidisciplinary artist Sha Sarwari. CAS volunteer Rachael spoke to Sha about his identity as an artist, how art has enriched his life, and the topics he will cover in tomorrow’s session. You can watch the interview on our Facebook and Instagram, and read the interview transcript below.

If you would like to hear more from Sha, make sure you register for GOING SOLO via our Google Form.

Rachael [voiceover]: Hello and welcome to the first episode in our artist conversation series, hosted here on IGTV. In this episode, we spoke to Sha Sarwari, a multidisciplinary visual artist. Sha was born in Afghanistan and has been living in Australia since 2002. His work speaks of a place that exists between two worlds: longing and belonging, with a pointed reference to political discourse around migration, identity, place, memory and nationhood, as well his own personal lived experience. We hope you enjoy this interview with the wonderful and talented Sha Sarwari. 

Rachael: Hi Sha thank you so much for taking the time to chat to me today we are so excited to have you on board as our first guest in the going solo series. 

Sha: Thank you, it’s nice to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Rachael: To start off how do you describe yourself as an artist?

Sha: Well I would say that I am kind of an introvert. I’m shy with putting myself out there but as long as I have work I try to put it out, but apart from that I don’t really do much in terms of a rigorous campaign about my work. I just let the work speak and connect. 

Rachael: Interesting. So, I guess following on from that, what does success as an artist look like to you? Because it’s different for everyone!

Sha: For me success as an artist would be that you have the ability to connect with as broad an audience as possible. Your work should speak from multiple dimensions.

Rachael: How do you feel that art has enriched your life? 

Sha: Through art I have learned how to live within a society as a responsible person and to engage with my surroundings, not just to be a zombie walking around. I’ve learned to engage with whatever is going on to the best of my ability. I’ve learned to reflect and express my concerns and ignite debate around the different issues, particularly the issues of refugees and migrants. It’s through art that I have learned so much about the history of this place called Australia which was and still is the land of First Nations. It was through art that I found my own history as well. 

Rachael: In terms of your going solo session would you like to tell the audience what you will be talking about and some of the themes?

Sha: There are three themes we will be talking about. One is about my practice, so why I became an artist. I’ll also talk about not being represented by a gallery and what that feels like – To practice as a solo artist being independent. What’s good about it and what’s negative about it? I’ll also speak about how we navigate that realm of being an artist without representation, and how persistent you have to be to make your mark without an organisation or institution supporting you. You have to really feel it otherwise it’s easy to give up. 

Rachael: Do you have any advice for your younger self?

Sha: I wasn’t really encouraged to go to art school, I initiated it myself, but I was encouraged to pursue education. I would say if you want to become an artist it’s tough but it’s rewarding. Don’t let people tell you that there is no future in it, because if you want to live a satisfied life, holistically, not just monetarily, and if you wanted to become an artist, pursue it to the bitter end, you know? No matter what.

GOING SOLO is a free, six-part online conversation series designed to prepare new and emerging artist from their first solo exhibition. Read more and register for the series here.

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