Sajid Wajid Shaikh
B. 1989, Mumbai: India

I like to think of my process of artistic creation as similar to engineering a machine. I follow a set of driving principles influenced by an organic intuition, and the resulting work — which takes on different forms in terms of theme and medium — is the product of this process. 

One of the core aspects of my work is drawing. I see the act as a personal meditation wherein I let my hand guide my mind. The resulting works, which form abstract, distorted, sometimes grotesque faces, are mostly cathartic and sensorial responses to my surroundings. These pure, unbridled investigations draw inspiration from German and Abstract expressionism that encourages spontaneity and imagination. Over the years, this line-drawing practice has led me to new experiments, which take the form of “sketchbooks.” I treat each sketchbook as a separate sculptural entity capable of acting as a whole, in addition to being a sum of its parts. By filling each page, I build a story to be read and interpreted by the viewer. 

My practice has naturally progressed towards a more conceptually driven direction in the past few years. Inspired by the likes of Sol Lewitt and Duchamp, I have refocused my primary tool from my hand to my mind, and started to explore the complexities and practical (im)possibilities of an idea. In these explorations, I have been working with mundane objects and placing them in situations where their functionality is lost. By choosing to elevate the mundane to the realm of fine art, I try to negate all attempts to define their traditional use and value and explore ideas of absurdity and randomness. Although these works take the form of photographic stills [and/or sculptures], the intangible idea is essentially the core of the work. Furthermore, in keeping these works “untitled” I wish to push viewers to compare the likening of something they’re familiar with to something else, allowing them to participate in the final output. 

Over time, these explorations have progressed into a narrative space, wherein I juxtapose two seemingly separate images and present them together. In doing so, I want to push the viewer to interpret and create stories around these images. This recent work has led me directly into film. The medium allows for a multiplicity of narratives and acts as a portal where I can combine sculptures, sound, photographs, and drawings — bringing together my whole practice so far.

Text by Pallavi Surana
Photo by Shoeb Mashadi