Interview with Artist Laila Tara H
Where About Now Where are you right now reading these questions?
Laila Tara H Sitting in the courtyard of Numeroventi, Florence.
WAN Where would you like to be while reading these questions?
LTH Luckily, after 4 months trapped in the lockdown of London, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than sitting in a serene courtyard in warm, empty Florence.
WAN How does it feel to travel and be in Italy after the current world change?
LTH The journey itself was surreal, socialising is surreal, not travelling from bed to studio to bed to studio to kitchen to bed is surreal. In truth, It’s hard not to question whether travelling is wise at the moment. If it weren’t for the brilliant opportunity to be an artist in residence here, I doubt I’d leave my city of residence.
I am, however liberated in this space. Outside the confines of the 4 white studio walls I occupy in London, to create in freedom has made me myself again. This has been hugely aided by the Numeroventi team who made me feel at home and reminded me to take this life a little less seriously and drink a little more.
WAN You are an Iranian-British artist based between Tehran and London. Can you tell us more about the two cities and your relationship to them?
LTH Both cities inhabit the place of “base” in my life, they have been consistent in a journey of constant movement. Beyond their purposes as birthplace and heritage, they’ve fed into my understanding of art, of how we absorb and churn out culture as contemporary travelling beings.
WAN You were born in London and raised across Asia and Africa. Your paintings are reflections of your life navigating cultures. What was your nomadic past like?
LTH There is immense privilege in this, to exist as an unbecome being travelling through continents. My childhood was spent in open spaces that were in flux — under the pressure of development, clinging onto cultural autonomy. There is a painting of mine, Drive Thru, that has much to…