Serenity's Endurance series is a deeply introspective exploration of personal growth, familial dynamics, and the quest for inner peace. Through a collection of artworks, I delve into the complexities of my own identity, influenced by the presence of strong figures in my life and the yearnings for my parents' homeland in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.
Home, 2022 captures the yearnings of nostalgia, longing, and a deep sense of belonging to my parent's homeland. In this artwork, I convey the profound emotions that accompany the longing for a place that holds deep personal significance. The village, seen from above, symbolises the yearning to connect with the roots and memories that shaped my identity. It serves as a reminder of the cultural heritage and ancestral ties that continue to influence my sense of self, even from a distance. Home, 2022 signifies the unwavering strength within me to endure the longing and persist in the search for a sense of connection and belonging, despite the contrasting realities of my life in the UK. Through the juxtaposition of my self-portrait and the bird's-eye view of the village, I invite viewers to reflect on their own experiences of nostalgia, longing, and the complexities of cultural identity. It serves as a visual narrative that acknowledges the enduring power of memories and the resilience required to navigate the dualities of our lives, bridging the gap between the past and present, homeland and adopted country.
In Self Portrait with Flowers, 2022, a captivating essence of silence, contemplation, and loneliness permeates the artwork. With closed eyes, I embark on an introspective journey, disconnecting from external distractions and immersing myself in a world of profound self-reflection.
I have depicted myself in traditional South Asian dress, enveloped in a serene ambiance among an arrangement of flowers. Each bloom symbolises the transient nature of life and the inherent beauty found in moments of growth and transformation. The closed eyes, devoid of visual stimuli, invite a deeper connection with inner thoughts, emotions, and aspirations. Amidst the hushed stillness, a sense of solitude prevails, evoking feelings of contemplation and introspection.
It is within this silence that I find solace, a space where profound self-discovery and personal growth take root. The absence of external noise allows for heightened awareness of the subtle whispers of the soul. While immersed in this introspective state, there is a profound awareness of being observed by the outside world. The viewer becomes a silent witness, observing the vulnerability and rawness of the self-portrait. This dynamic creates a poignant contrast between the intimate inner world and the external gaze, reminding us of the constant interplay between self-perception and external judgment.
In Self-portrait in the Moonlight, 2022, I explore the interplay between light and shadow, symbolising the duality of existence and the hidden depths within. This artwork is set in my local park, a tranquil oasis where I frequently seek respite from the bustling city and find solace and contemplation. The park holds a special place in my heart as it reminds me of the cherished memories of gathering with my family during special occasions like Eid, where we would dress in new traditional attire, and my father would capture precious moments together.
Within the artwork, I portray myself adorned in traditional dress, paying homage to those cherished moments spent with my family during Eid celebrations. Under the enchanting glow of the moon, I immerse myself in a state of quiet introspection, seeking inner peace and embarking on a journey of self-discovery.
The interplay of light and casted shadow in the composition accentuates the contrast between the external world and the inner realm. The moonlight acts as a guiding source, illuminating the path to self-understanding and tranquility. As the gentle radiance of the moon caresses my face, it serves as a symbol of the inner light that guides me along my personal journey.
This artwork invites viewers to reflect upon their own experiences of finding solace and tranquillity amidst the chaos of everyday life. It evokes a sense of connection to nature and underscores the importance of carving out moments for introspection and nurturing the inner self. Through the depiction of traditional attire and the serene setting of the park, the work celebrates the beauty of cultural traditions and pays homage to the profound memories that shape our individual identities.
In Silence, 2023, the delicate pink rose delicately rests on a soft white pillow, creating a captivating visual representation of the fragility and delicateness of life. This artwork serves as a poignant reminder of the ephemeral nature of our existence and the importance of finding solace and introspection within ourselves.
The pink rose, with its exquisite petals and subtle hues, embodies the delicate beauty that graces our lives. Like life itself, the rose is transient, with each petal representing a fleeting moment, a passing breath. Its presence on the pillow symbolises the significance of embracing the fragility and impermanence of our experiences, urging us to cherish the present and cultivate a deeper connection with our inner selves.
The soft white pillow, providing a gentle resting place for the rose, represents a sanctuary for introspection and self-discovery. It invites us to seek solace and reflection within the quiet corners of our minds, to explore the depths of our emotions, thoughts, and aspirations. The pillow's softness and comforting presence create an atmosphere of serenity, encouraging us to find inner peace and nourishment amidst the chaos of the outside world.
Through the interplay of the delicate rose and the inviting pillow, Silence, 2023 calls upon us to pause, to listen to the whispers of our souls, and to honour the delicateness of life itself. It beckons us to embrace vulnerability, to acknowledge the fleeting nature of our experiences, and to embark on a journey of personal growth and self-discovery.
Warrior, 2023 is a poignant portrayal of my late father, standing tall and resolute in his role as a guardian of my family and our Kashmiri heritage. Symbolised by his adorned armour, which echoes the distinguished attire of Salahuddin Ayyubi, the great Sultan of Egypt, he embodies strength, honour, and unwavering commitment. The limited colour palette of black, white, and brown used to paint his portrait accentuates his commanding presence against the vibrant backdrop of the bustling high street.
With his back turned to the colourful commotion of the high street, my father's stoic stance conveys his steadfast dedication to protecting our family and cultural identity from external influences. The Armour he wears serves as a symbolic shield, reflecting his deep-rooted pride and his role as a guardian of our ancestral legacy. In this composition, the vivid and dynamic high street represents the ever-changing world that surrounds us, while my father remains grounded in his values and heritage. The contrasting colours and tones emphasise his distinct presence past and present, highlighting his unwavering commitment to preserving our Kashmiri roots.
Warrior, 2023 invites viewers to contemplate the timeless values embodied by Salahuddin Ayyubi and echoed through my father's spirit. It is a tribute to his profound influence, reminding us of the strength and resilience found within our ancestral heritage. Through this work, my father's presence and legacy continue to inspire and guide me on our own journeys of self-discovery and cultural preservation.
Matriarch, 2023 is a depiction of my late mother, a traditional Pakistani homemaker who played a central role in our family. With strength and assertiveness, she created a nurturing home environment despite the challenges she faced bring 9 children up. In this work, I capture her commanding presence and the depth of her character through the use of black, white, and brown tones. Standing outside our family home in Nottingham, the work pays homage to her unwavering strength and leadership. It serves as a reminder of the profound impact of matriarchs in shaping our lives and invites viewers to contemplate their own experiences with powerful female figures.
Redemption, 2023 is a personal journey of growth, self-reflection, and atonement. This artwork embodies the inherent human capacity for transformation and the pursuit of healing and inner peace. Within the piece, I depict my hands in a prayer gesture, symbolising a profound connection to the divine and a sincere yearning for redemption. Cradled within my palms is a dying rose, gradually losing its petals, representing the fragility and impermanence of life. As these petals gracefully descend, they find solace and renewal in the powerful embrace of the Mangla Dam—a colossal structure on the river Jhelum in Pakistan, renowned for its multipurpose functionality.
Through this composition, Redemption, 2023 invites contemplation on the complex interplay between personal redemption and the larger forces at play in our lives. It serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the inherent potential for positive change. As I embark on this transformative journey, I seek to heal wounds, reconcile with past actions, and find solace and renewal within.
This work beckons viewers to reflect on their own paths of redemption, to confront and reconcile with their past, and to embrace the transformative power of self-reflection. It serves as a reminder that through inner growth and a genuine commitment to change, we can find redemption and embark on a path towards inner peace and personal fulfilment.
Copyright © 2023 Samiya Younis - All Rights Reserved.