Thanya Mavish is a Birmingham based multidisciplinary artist. Born and bred in Birmingham, she completed her Foundation Diploma at Coventry university before returning home to do a BA in Fine Art. She is currently in her third year at Birmingham City University. Her work has been exhibited locally at the International Project Space, Medicine Gallery and she is currently co-curating Digifest, 2018.
Through the use of textiles, photography and video Mavish explores issues around her own subconscious self-identity, family and the complexity religion. As a young Pakistani Muslim woman, she’s aware of the misconceptions the western media have around her identity. The work she creates aims to open-up dialogues around them and educate people. Researching feminist discourse, historical aspects of Islam and continuous conversations with her family have been pivotal for the development of Mavish ideas, evidently present within her work. Her current project ‘Surah Nur Ayah 30 -31’ focuses on the relationship between the historical and contemporary context of the hijab.
“Initially this project started off as a way of looking at the hijab in the 21st century and its relationship with women. My fascination laid with how a piece of fabric was so politicised, how it divided opinions and why people were so concerned with it. As the projected developed I realised I had a strong interest in its history and the materiality of the hijab. When it was first introduced in an Islamic context, it was a divider. It was a piece of fabric that separated to two spaces, the private and the public space. As its evolved, this idea of it of separating two spaces was still at the fore front. It became a way for women to control what they displayed to the public, what they allowed people to see and what they get private for themselves. Through my work, I aimed to further investigate this idea. The photographs have this figure hidden behind the numerous hijabs. To the viewer, the figure is faceless, there is nothing known about her. Surrounding her we see numerous hijabs. She uses them to conceal her body, her face. The figure is in control. She controls what parts of us she wants to see, be that her hand or be that nothing. There is also an element of playfulness in the way in which the hijabs are captured almost floating in mid-air. They start to have a life of their own and exist as pieces of fabric” Thanya says.