On 10 April, Studio Resident Sabrina Shirazi gave a lunchtime talk about her work, which challenges convention and encourages people to get creative through the use of vibrant colours, enticing textures and more recently, delicious food. 

Since Sabrina graduated from a Textiles degree at Falmouth University, she has been involved in four design projects; AFFIX, Motley Collective, Haha Produce and Cuisine+Colour. Her influences range from the Congolese fashion movement, the ‘Society for the Advancement of Elegant People’ (or ‘Sapeurs’) to Martino Gamper’s 100 Chairs in 100 days. She told us that she loves playful design that encourages people to explore different possibilities, get creative and display their own personality through imagination and invention.

Sabrina introduced us to AFFIX, a project she co-developed with designer Annelies Henny. The work emerged from an idea that Sabrina developed for her degree show, for which (inspired by Martino Gamper) she created chairs that were studded with soft Velcro shapes that people could play with and rearrange in any way they wanted to. She designed the chairs to challenge the preconception that gallery visitors are not allowed to touch exhibited objects, and this sort of playful provocation has been a prominent feature of all of her work to date. Sabrina told us that she was excited by the comedic interactions between the visitors and the chairs. The visitors’ initial hesitation when sitting on the chairs was followed by delight when the fabric shapes sprung back to their original form after being squashed. This was followed by a desire to play with the shapes - deconstructing them and creating new forms. From this, Sabrina and Annelies developed AFFIX; a large-scale installation, comprising of flat surfaces and costumes made of Velcro, and heaps of colourful, attachable shapes. Sabrina and Annelies saw AFFIX as a platform for rapid idea-creation, where people are free to take things apart and transform them. After a few installations, they were approached by Ausform, an independent production company, who helped them to bring AFFIX to the foyer of the Bristol Old Vic, which helped to bag the theatre company a Family Arts’ Festival ‘Best Family Welcome’ prize.

Motley Collective create exciting portraits by dousing their subjects in colour pigments. The team (Sabrina and fellow photographers) revel in experimenting with colour and composition without a definite endpoint in mind. Cuisine+Colour started as a poster; a result of an experiment with the natural pigments found in food. After creating the poster, they began thinking about how they could turn Cuisine+Colour into an actual event. Motley Collective teamed up with culinary pop-up artisans, Da Boes, and hosted the first Cuisine+Colour event at Extract Coffee Roasters’ warehouse in St. Werburghs. Avon Gorged wrote a brilliant article about their debut event. The event is a feast, where tablecloths and napkins become the canvases for vibrant artworks, created using the natural dyes in food. Cuisine+Colour encourages diners to leave previous notions of dining etiquette at the door, as they are invited to eat food in new and different ways; spilling, daubing and spreading food and drink, and transforming the table from a crisp white into a lively composition of colour. After the meal, diners have their portraits taken with their napkins. Sabrina likes the idea that peoples’ napkins become a reflection of their character.

Sabrina and the team will be hosting more events at Camp Bestival, Bestival and Watershed over the summer - you can book tickets here.

Follow @CuisineColour for project updates and information on upcoming events.


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