Ayan Farah SOMALI / SWEDISH, b. 1978


Ayan Farah makes unconventional mixed-media paintings, as well as installations, photographs, videos, and sound pieces, through which she explores the overlap between natural and manmade environments, and notions of chance and control. Her work, in her words, is about weight and weightlessness, the making or the unmaking of the work and its nature, its cause and creation. She is especially known for her work with textiles, which she weathers, stains, and otherwise alters with materials including terracotta, salt, vinegar, and ash. Working both inside and outdoors, she has buried textiles in the earth, left them outside to be beaten by wind and sun, and manipulated their surfaces with a mixture of acidic substances in her studio. Farah then drapes them onto wooden stretchers, where they appear as luminous abstractions, resonant with the time-based process of their making.