Zarina Muhammad

BA Fine Art-Central Saint Martins.

Moving image and still image

What is your work about currently?

I‘m Interested in work as social object and how it is activated by the relationship between it and the audience viewing it.

What does womanhood mean to you?

The distinction between femininity and womanhood is important. Womanhood doesn’t particularly mean anything in to me, I do F**k with gender but use female pronouns, however I don’t identify with womanliness.

What are your view on Feminisms?

I’m more intrigued by womanism than feminism. I have felt that feminism is not very inclusive of brown women, trans women and people outside of the binary. If feminism that is acknowledged by most people is the girl gang of all white and all hot women then i’m not up for it.  

How do your experiences as a woman influence your art?

I have a strange relationship with the way my identity affects my art. I used to paint naked white women , and one day in a crit standing next to my work raised the question of “ you’re a brown woman why are you painting white women?” I had never considered the way i exist in relationship with the work before. It was a fair point. of course my identity affects the work i make, as it is engaged with critical theory surrounding race, cultural policy and racial politics. I wouldn’t probably be making this work if I was a white man! However it would have been way easier to make this work. But just because I’m a half muslim and brown woman doesn’t mean that’s the only focus of my work. I do want my identity to inform my work but I wish my work could be viewed in the same subjective vacuum as white male artists. If you’re only being represented because of a specific aspect of your identity that’s a problem in itself.

What has been your experience as a woman in university?

My experience as a brown woman in university has been alright, but I have heard some horror stories from other brown girls. Maybe art school is quite liberal in those terms. However sometimes I see white girls wearing bindies and I think to myself “it’s 2016 I thought we were over that”. But then I feel too tired from sustaining that much anger, I’m too tired to call it out.

What piece of advice would you give to women planning on entering the creative industries?

When I decided to go to art school my parents were not too happy. Making art is exhausting, however if you really want it do it, even if your parents don’t want you to do it. Asian artists make so much more work than diaspora, people just want to reduce the work dilute it so it’s easier to explain. Really push the work so it is multifaceted.

zarinamuhammad.com