Portraits of the Unseen (2010)



Suspended installations, wall frieze, cloth, text, objects mirroring.

Chasing Mirrors was a three year collaborative arts project working with contemporary visual artists and young people from The National Portrait Gallery’s community partners Tallo, Paiwand and An Nisa to reflect on portraiture and concepts of representation and identity. Together they responded to the Gallery’s Collection through dialogue, creative conversations and cultural exchange and developed their own creative response to issues around representation and Arabic cultural heritage.

In the second year of the project, artist Alinah Azadeh moved the focus away from representation through human image: the outer, familiar manifestation of identity.  Instead, participants explored how portraits of the inner, ‘hidden’ self could be created.  Objects of personal resonance given and wrapped in cloth, with accompanying narratives as part of the collective piece.  Text and mirroring was integral as it is in traditional Islamic culture, in this case focusing on the names of the participants in Arabic, and a mirrored wall frieze text of metaphorical self-descriptions, which evolved from sessions with and between the members of the groups.

Project blog by Alinah at Artist’s Talking.

Watch Video (04:57)

Leave a Reply