Artcollab Studio, Ilizwe/Nyika Collaboration artist member: Shamilla Aasha
Shamilla Aasha is a practicing artist and teacher of art and design. After many years of working in painting and mixed media, in 2018 Aasha reengaged with her love of textiles through exploration of her multi-cultural background as a Shona and Indian woman living in Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe. Developing complex works addressing issues related to merging cultures and traditional practices and how they influence identity, spirituality and social status for herself and other women in her community. Aasha’s works defy attempts at categorisation, incorporating weaving, tapestry as well as engaging with the idea and history of painting. They emerge as soft sculptures, wall-hangings made from found objects as well abstract embroideries. She describes them as sacred objects, a fitting metaphor for her narratives. This metaphor is further expanded on, as she uses sewing patterns, fabric and stitching. This process allows her to create new patterns from the old and with each layer creating a palmistry language. Shamilla has participated in numerous exhibitions locally regionally and internationally. She is currently part of an ongoing, regional collaborative project, which is interrogating the participation of women in land redistribution in Southern Africa. In addition to artistic practice, Shamilla also continues to nurture creativity minds through her trust-Asha Children’s Trust, an organisation devoted to creating safe spaces for young creatives grow and thrive outside the formal education sector.