Iyla Shah’s practice grounds itself in a deep engagement with the everyday; it encompasses community engagement, practise-based research, ethnographic research , and primarily, visual research methods – most notably collage. However, this is not exhaustive, with critical discourse and storytelling both privately within her self led community art workshops and publicly embedded within the markings of our streets proving valuable. This notion of public and private is central to her longstanding investigation of our urban environments as spaces of contention. “I physically examine the traces of seamless contribution and removal that cut into, paste over and peel away the framework of our urban spaces, reimagining pockets of our urban environment through my art process.” Adopting an understanding of our cities’ identity from the purview of relational aesthetics invites a celebration of the historical flow of shared everyday experience which these forgotten spaces exhibit. Dissolving notions of ‘High Art’, the city becomes, as Lefebvre perceives, a place to play, an open exhibition which my research serves to investigate.
Shah’s multidisciplinary approach feeds off her unapologetic energy to experimentation – an energy which is palpable in the spaces she presents her works. Her hands-on approach is founded on extracting, deconstructing and reconstructing, resonating with the emphasis Lego Serious Play methodology places on construction to foster new perspectives.
With the recent Masters of Letters in Fine Art Practice show she warmly invites you into her playful multifaceted world of repeated patterns, symbols, primary colours and curious characters. The installation serves to energise and uplift, reconnecting her audience with the fascination our younger selves once experienced the everyday with.