Tessellate by Saba Rifat

18th September – 30th October 2021

We are delighted to present a new exhibition in Huddersfield by Saba Rifat. Saba is based in Dewsbury and since completing a Master’s degree in Visual and Islamic Art at the HRH Prince Charles Traditional School of Arts in London, has worked across the UK, in Spain and Malaysia. In addition to her gallery-based work, she has designed murals and public art projects, including Dewsbury Urban Garden in 2020.

The artist has travelled extensively and photographed many culturally rich and diverse regions, landscapes, architectural spaces and people in places such as Iran, Morocco, Peloponnese, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Spain and Syria. Having the opportunity to experience many Traditions, some disappearing in times of modernity and technology, has provided abundance of knowledge, inspiration, understanding and respect for the very concept of Tradition which subconsciously feeds into her work.

For our exhibition space in Huddersfield (Unit 2 Piazza Shopping Centre), Saba has brought together a unique collection of her works encompassing printmaking, constructions, sculpture and video.

Saba’s work is inspired by the ubiquitous geometric shapes observed in Nature and Science. Many of the compositions she creates have a close reference to historical Islamic Patterns, comprising of geometric divisions, forms and colours that use visual techniques drawn from a rich traditional culture.

Saba says:

“I closely identify with the circle, a symbol of Unity / Mother of Shapes, as it is simultaneously organic and mathematical. This provides the basis from which my work arises.

By using a compass and ruler I draft patterns from a circle, that are inextricably and  symbolically linked with the cycle of Creation. My creative process then becomes intuitive and experimental as compositions evolve from the act of doing, not planning, like solving a visual jigsaw puzzle. It’s not to say I have no thought about what I am creating. I am motivated by the multitude of expressive possibilities that crystalline patterns lend themselves to. Elements of symmetry, repetition and tessellations often feature, that allow rhythm and flow into my work.

My current work Tessellate focuses on seeking out new modular arrangements of polyhedral forms to generate 3D geometric sculptures that evoke principles of order and balance of the universe, expressed through the laws of geometry. Printmaking has a profound influence on my compositions, working process and often informs my 3-dimensional work. I use a silkscreen printing method, layering colours and forms with varying applied pressure which results in abstract, static and dynamic objects on a flat surface. The risk and play elements of my creative printmaking more often than not produce unique and short print editions.”

Alongside the exhibition are drop-in activities for families including paper folding and geometric colouring. Saba’s activity book ‘Geometric Skies’ is available to buy, along with prints and hand-made cards by members of West Yorkshire Print Workshop.