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Laila 
        Majid

Laila Majid

Profession
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Alum
College
Central Saint Martins
Person Type
Alumni
Laila  Majid

Biography

Interview

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspires your work.

I’m from Pakistan and currently based in the UK. I completed my foundation at CSM in 2015. I graduated from Chelsea College of Arts in 2018, where I did my BA in Fine Art, and subsequently completed my MA at the Slade. Within my artwork, I work across image-making, sculpture and video. Inspiration can be found anywhere. Recently, I have been researching the material of latex, frequently used to make fetishwear clothing. I’ve been focussing on the role of this material as a tool used by the wearer to actualise desires and to achieve bodily transformation.

What have you been up to since graduating from Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins?

I am currently studying on the MSt in Film Aesthetics at the University of Oxford. Earlier this year, I was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries, which is currently on show at Firstsite, Colchester, and will move to the South London Gallery in December. Alongside my own work, I have been developing a collaborative practice with artist Louis Blue Newby. To date, we have exhibited two solo shows in London, in addition to participating in various group shows. I really enjoy situating my work within different contexts, and frequently work with musicians to create live visuals for club nights, and music videos.

Can you tell us more about 'flex'? 

In May, I was invited by arts platform and record label Most Dismal Swamp to create a performance piece which formed part of an exciting virtual, live-streamed performance event title Creep Vector, hosted by the gallery Gossamer Fog. The performances were filmed using the gallery’s green screen studio, and subsequently imported into a 3D environment.

'flex' featured my recent series of sculptures titled 'polyglide 1-3' (2021), in which I reupholstered tattoo furniture pieces in latex. I used latex to give these objects qualities of fetish and desire, and their original functions as tattoo furniture referenced body modification. I placed parts of Halloween costume props (suggesting bodily transformation through costume) beneath the rubber surface of each sculpture, this outer layer both obscuring and revealing the serpentine, alien forms that bulge and writhe from beneath the latex.

For the performance event, I invited dancer and aerial silks performer Ephyra Ana to perform a contortion-style routine in response to the sculptures, engaging with the latex surface of the objects and the forms beneath. This performance piece directly placed the 'polyglide' sculptures in the context of the body. It was important for me that the movements of the body appeared contorted, relating to bodily endurance, athleticism and the covulsive movement of the body during moments of heightened physical sensation and pleasure. Both the sculptures and the physical movement of the performer point to a transformation of the body, be it through a material which cloaks, mutates and distorts physical form, or using the body itself, transformed through specific physical actions.

How would you describe your experience on Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, and how did it encourage the way you work now? 

My experiences on the foundation course were extremely formative. Everything felt so new, and I learnt so much during this time (both mistakes and successes). This was my very first experience of being in an art school environment, and it allowed for so much exciting experimentation. It was also the first time when I had started to think critically about my work and making work. The experimental and inquisitive approach towards making artwork that was encouraged by my tutors at CSM is something that has always stayed with me.

What words of advice would you give to a student studying for a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design?

Foundation is such an exciting time, even though it is marked by a year of quite intense, hard work, and for some, BA applications. I think it should be  enjoyed to the absolute fullest capacity.

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