Camilla Dilshat

I am a sculpture/installation artist of Uyghur ethnicity born and based in London. Emerging from experiential reflections, I delve into how the body experience forms an understanding of one’s diasporic identity while also shattering your sense of place. My life has been littered with misunderstandings from others regarding my ethnicity. My body felt invisible, and my mouth was unequipped to handle the tiring task of constant self-definition. As a therapeutic venture, I engage in sculpture-making to explore identity, memory and imagined homelands drawing from my own or my parents’ nostalgic imagery – a calabash gourd, sunflower seeds, or a stylistic window.

With bodily feeling at the core of my work, my sculptures aptly transcend spoken language, helping me find ways to express myself beyond its limitations. The abject and zoomorphic leaks through where breathing vessels or gourds reference, organs, stomachs, and mouths. I am endlessly fascinated by the tactility of materials. I play with the merging and overlapping of contrasting textures, such as fatty latex and vitrified ceramic to create unease with wooden structures referencing domestic furniture to create familiarity. The sight of these mixtures of materials stimulate visceral sensory reactions of allure and discomfort acting as narrative devices to the bodily experiences I am trying to encapsulate.

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