What are your favourite materials to
work with, and why?
Like many sculptors, originally, when I first trained, I learned how to sculpt with clay. Today I still enjoy working with soft materials like wax and wire that I use to create the structures to my ‘Movement’ series figures, which have the most obvious parallels with yoga poses. My favourite material and technique is stone and stone carving, it’s a more organic process through which I find that the form and figures of the sculpture are already within the raw piece of stone that I select, and my job is to bring the shapes out with my tools. In the last year I have also been excited to start casting both my wax and stone sculptures in bronze. In particular the ability to cast my wax ‘Movement’ figures in bronze has opened up new possibilities for me to make powerful sculptures in slender forms.
Tell me more about the connection between your art and your yoga practice. Do you think that yoga inspires your art, or vice versa? Is there a flowing relationship between the two practices?
Absolutely. There’s a fluid relationship between my art and my yoga practice. Both are an integral part of my life and who I am, but it is practising and having taught yoga that inspires my sculpture more than the other way around. I have been practising yoga for close to 50 years now, including through pregnancies. It is something I still practise every day and is very much a part of my life.
The connection between myself and my body, the awareness of the movement is something that both intrigues and inspires me. It is something that I have explored in all types of my work, most particularly in my ‘Movement’ series of figures in various poses. My more abstract ‘Evolution’ and ‘Fossil’ series play more subtly with the human form are also deeply influenced by my yoga practice.
You started to practise and teach yoga in the 1980s. Is this something you have continued, or has your art become your main focus?
I actually started practising since the early 1970s! In the late 1970s I felt that I needed to know more about the subject and decided to study it. I taught yoga in the 1980s for over 10 years, and I continue to practise yoga regularly today. Yoga is as much
a part of my life and a part of who I am as my art. I would not be able to choose between them. Yoga helps me to stay strong and healthy in spite of the physical efforts of hand carving stone, and it of course helps me to maintain emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
You recently held your debut exhibition, ‘Evolution’. How did it feel to put on a debut show? And how was the show received?
Putting the show together was a very natural step in my evolution as an artist. It was daunting to begin with and there was a lot of work involved getting all the sculptures ready, in particular as I had not cast my work in bronze before. It was a nerve-wracking experience up to the point that the work was installed in the gallery, but I had a strong support structure around me. The exhibition was received with open arms by press, visitors and friends and family. Once the exhibition opened to the public it was liberating and provided me with great reassurance as I start working on my next project.
Do you ever suffer with creative block, and if so, how do you stay enthusiastic and inspired?
I am constantly documenting my thoughts and taking photographs in order to make sure that should a dry moment come, I have plenty of idea son hand that I can dip into. Creative block is rare for me, but when it does come I tackle it with all my force and then often end up having to deal with an overflow of ideas. My yoga practice also helps me
not to get stressed when my sculpture is going slow.
What are your plans for 2018 – are there more exhibitions in the pipeline?
I have just finished participating in a group exhibition organised by Blueprint Fine Art which included some esteemed names from the British art world including Peter Blake and David Hockney. I have started a new series of wax body postures based on yoga but with a more realistic approach in the way that I execute those figures. I’m also working on some stone portrait commissions arising out of my recent exhibition which is a first for me. My next solo exhibition will hopefully be around October 2018, and last but by no means least I will continue to be a devoted mother and grandmother.
For more information, visit ahuvazeloof.com