On the Rise feat. Sophia Balagamwala

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We are always on the look out for rising talent, and from the moment we saw a preview of Sophia Balagamwala’s debut collection Yay Yah Woh, we knew this was a star in the making. This fresh face has already got the art world buzzing with her conversational and unconventional pieces. Here, Anusha Bawany plays a round of rapid fire with the rising talent!

How would you describe your sense of aesthetic in three words?

Humorous, playful and wonky.

Tell us about your debut collection. 

The show is a nonsensical narrative featuring fictional characters; Military Generals, fruits, ambiguous creatures and abstract shapes that one can laugh at endearingly. Though it is inspired by children’s books and caricatures, it also refers to historical and contemporary events and figures.

What is your most preferred medium to work with?

Pen on paper.

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Who are your three biggest inspirations in the art world?

This is such an unfair question, becuase I can’t give you just three! Yayaoi Kasuma, William Kentridge, Shazia Sikander, Cy Twombly, Fernando Bottero, Ellen Gallagher, Jean Michel Basquiat and Naiza Khan are just a few names off the top of my head.

Your go to place of inspiration?

Children’s books and old animations.

Favorite Pakistani artist?

Quddus Mirza.

One person you would love to make a piece for:

Mohammad Hanif. His writing, especially his book “A Case of Exploding Mangos” has had a profound influence in my work.

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Most memorable experience working on this debut collection:

I really enjoyed both creating the poofs and watching people interact with them. The multicolored poofs look especially soft and squishy, but when you touch them they are dense and hard as they are made of construction foam and wood. One of them had an animation playing inside, so it’s like a strange television-set-creature thing. Watching children interact with them was a real treat, as they couldn’t figure out what they were exactly and started poking them.

Three things you can’t live without?

Naptime, alone time and to-do lists.

Favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

Equally split between mindless couch time and traveling.

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Biggest support system(s):

My husband, family and friends and my co-workers at CAP.

Up next for you:

I’m showing a few small works at a group show in Singapore. I am also showing an animation as part of Salt Arts exhibit ‘RPM: Rounds per Minute’ at the Alchemy Festival in London this May. I will also be working on a mural for the Reading Room Project, as I really admire their work and am thrilled to be working with them! I am super excited about the upcoming Karachi and Lahore Biennales and hope I’ll get to work on something for those.

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