The Curiosities of Life is a Relief Print Exhibition by Perthshire Artisan Saira Acosta Diaz opening at Artisanand Gallery, Aberfeldy from Saturday 10 June. The exhibition features a collection of lino prints inspired by the stories of us all.
Saira describes this collection of work in her own words:
Did you ever get the feeling that there's a book of "Appropriate and Acceptable Behaviour" that you don't have access to? "
Or the "Well we wouldn't want to do that now would we?" book.
Someone has a library of them somewhere and is sitting on the key. I imagine they have a greyish beige face wearing flannel knickers and very sensible shoes. Anyway, this exhibition is for those who haven't ever been allowed near the books but are expected to know what's in them.
Now, I don't care what's in those books. But I am curious. I want to explore what we do and why we do it. For example, Mrs Miracle, she is balanced at first but keeps taking on more and more until she's floored. Only then will she take a break, when she has no choice.
Is she me? Sometimes.
Is she you? Possibly.
I also love to illustrate people's lives, the bits that are important to them.
So why use Lino Print? Because it's raw and unforgiving. It exposes flaws but not in ugliness, just honesty.
Why stick figures? Because of it's simple truth. No frills, just truth.
Why create? Because it helps me sleep and keeps me healthy.
When did I start my artiness? My artist sister in law, Micky Reed from Nashville Tennessee introduced me to oils around 1994. I played and made a mess till around 2000 when I exhibited seascapes in Glasgow and scenes of Tuscany in Elgin. To advance my abilities, I taught around 2009 in a wellness charity which blew my mind. The psychological issues that rise to the surface astounded me and often, the art lessons were therapeutic and disgorged many unhelpful and hurtful things in the students hearts. It was sobering at times, so many people carrying around too much pain and yet the power of creativity to release that pain fascinates me.
In 2013, my work shifted to portraits of children from around the world. I had just completed a course on human anatomy using YouTube and learning from Proko, Alphonso Dunn and loads of others. I focused on how the facial muscles moved when we think or feel, possibly because so many of my students talked of childhood trauma.
In 2022, I needed another mode of expression so began practicing relief printing. So here I am, voicing feelings and 'The Curiosities of Life' in the hopes that some will feel a bit less tired of it all.
Why create this? Because I'm curious and I believe curiosity replaces judgement. I also hope it offers a release somehow rather than squeezing ourselves into something we can't be.
The Curiosities of Life Exhibition runs from 10 - 21 July at Artisanand in Aberfeldy.