Artist's Statements

The Moon is You (2023)

"An artwork is of course the accounting of the visible world but it is equally an accounting of the invisible world" - Richard Tuttle

Language and painting are inextricably linked to our perceptions of the visible and invisible world. The quote above captures a sense of the elusive relationship between the act of creating something, the person creating it and the nature of creativity itself. In communicating our experiences, dreams and beliefs through the arts, we also communicate a sense of our humanity. One of the things that make us unique are the experiences we choose to share or hide and how we share or hide them. The extracts below are from my father, Farid's last poem, 'The Moon is You'. Hand written after a moonlit walk, twenty-seven years after my mother passed away, it captures the emotions of love and loss on a sky sized scale.

"The moon is you
Full of light and life,
That wisp of a cloud
That floats around you
Draped like a silken scarf
Is me. This night is ours
Until we part."
The poem goes on to say:
"But you are not here-
Nor in the soot-black sky
Where the moon has burnt itself
Out of sight."

-G.F. Riaz, 20.7.16, Oxford

Through the process of painting, I wanted to meditate on the power of language and the emotions it conveyed in the context of my father's poem. Reflecting on the 'you', 'me' and 'we' in my parents' relationship, on its brightness and shadows, I approached the theme from different perspectives inspired both by the poem and by my family's experience; my father's emotions and the contrast between tenderness and devastation, my parents' relationship, my response to my father's feelings and my own feelings of love and loss.

My work is multi-layered and requires forward planning as I lay down colours and work over them, knowing that many will be hidden but some will be excavated later. In the early stages I drew gold forms using gestures reminiscent of draping something and thick lines across the surface, to suggest the connections between the moon and the cloud and the earth and the sky. I applied colours keeping my feelings in mind, for example, violet to communicate a sense of chaos and grief as well as greens and reds to suggest exuberance. My last steps included scouring and scraping away paint and gesso to reveal the areas of colour I had worked over.


The Moon is You


Of Love and Life


Brightness and Shadows