Birmingham artist Jamila Kabir creates innovative installation and sculptural works, as well as video pieces. Using space and light to reflect her explorations of identity.
Her work often comprises of beautifully intricate pieces that guid the viewer around her space. Kabir's use of vibrant neon instantly draws you in and create a alluring quality of light often contrasting with its surroundings.
Interview with the artist
How would you describe your work to someone you’ve just met on a night out?
Aha okay so I'd keep it fairly brief and probably just mention that I work with video, moving image and installation. LOTS OF NEON. And lights, everyone likes lights. But yes, I would say my work is more a self reflexive response to ideas of identity, the liminal and sense of place.
Who/what are the biggest influences to your work?
So my work focuses around the themes of liminality, a state of ambiguity and the inbetween; this has been the main inspiration behind my practice, coming from a bicultural background myself. I think my aim was always to create an exploration concerning our physical world and the dimensions between them. I take influence from the work of James Turrell, the way he uses light as a material to affect the medium of perception. He speaks about how we live within the reality we ourselves create and his work is a general koan into how we go about forming this world, in particular with seeing.
Tell us a bit about your latest project?
So my last project was my degree show piece, a video installation in a blackout room. I had a moving image projected onto a sculptural mixed media arrangement (glass, water, uv reactant, steel frame, wire mesh) The idea was to view the image once on the side of the glass, a second time on the mesh, and a third time on the wall behind the arrangement. The projected image would pulse and seemingly move through the different materials and back again at a familiar breathing pace. I think with this piece I wanted to create an immersive experience for the viewer.
What is the one main thing you want people to think/feel when they look at your work?
I'd like people to be drawn in by seeing something familiar that is presented in a way that is unfamiliar and unworldy. My work is driven by experimentation so what I want is for people to desregard what they think they know and to embrace the ethereal and unknown. I want people to feel like they are in the same place but they are seeing it from a surreal perspective.
If you could have a portfolio review with anyone who would it be?
What was the last song you listened too?
Tame Impala- The Less I Know The Better
A word you say all the time?
What. . . I say it all the time, I don't know if I genuinely can't hear or it's just habit.
What can we buy you if we see you at the bar?
Probably a coke, ain't nothing wrong with a coke
Cats or dogs?
Definitely dogs, cats scare me
What animal would you describe yourself as?
Probably an Armadillo
Because I read somewhere that it means "little armoured one" in Spanish and I honestly can't think of a better way to describe myself. And how can we forget the holiday armadillo pls 🤧
What projects/are you working on atm?
I'm currently working on a film, I want it to be a yearlong project- so I am shooting bits here and there and will stop when I get to a year to the day I started. Alongside this, I am hoping to collaborate with other creatives and will be involved in some exciting exhibitions soon!