Ayshia Taskin

b.1986 |Scottish-Cypriot Intermedia Artist.

About

As an Intermedia and Interdisciplinary artist, Ayshia uses a varied practice consisting of installation, sculpture, painting, participatory performance, moving image, printmaking, latex-based work and drawing to explore the multi-faceted relationship between society, mythology, food, and power structures. She completed her undergraduate degree at The University of Edinburgh and is currently undertaking an MFA in Contemporary Art Practice at Edinburgh College of Art, also part of the UoE. Ayshia’s work has been exhibited at local, national and international levels with projects presented in Italy, Greece, England and Scotland.

The backdrop of a girl who used broken roller-blades to come down dusty stone-ridden roads… 

During her adolescence, Ayshia meandered for hours from the village she lived in. Up and within the Cypriot mountains she discovered and spent time inside crumbling monasteries. This memory of faded icons and symbols scratched through the eras and eroded with time piqued her curiosity in the descent into chaos from religious order. Cyprus was a country continually occupied by ancient civilisations where Pagan, Christian and Islamic rule played a part in the identity of the island. Drawing on an overused and tattered notepad, Ayshia sketched the buildings and imagined the people who lived there. Her imagination ran wild and she would forget to go home, finally, wandering back at dusk. Cyprus, after all, was the land of copper, and the Mesopotamian-inspired Adonis, lord of good-looks and Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty. Symbols of the goddess could be found around the island. Bizzare contemporary carved Scottish Selkie-like mythological sea creatures dotted the ocean, while churches and mosques peaked out of the urban landscape.

Fattened by memories of her encounters with history, mythology and ancient societies, Ayshia takes on interpretative-style research which includes the intersection between Near-Eastern, Middle-Eastern, Anatolian and Mediterranean culture… along with an inherent pursuit in the connections between the more formal theologies. The liminal, comparative and duality play a role in how she explores a personal identity-based ethnological and theological narrative. Likewise, investigating the admixture of customs, biological processes, psychological and physical contrasts, and the socially-inherited structures that interconnect and weave the fabric of converging identity, culture and belief systems. Ayshia presents topics through a variety of means, either with a mix of serious existential dilemma, absurd humour as a form of self-care or participatory exchange methods connecting the plethora of human experience.

Ayshia + Food

The production, eating and digesting of food, as well as the power structures and inequalities surrounding access to sustenance, is also a topic of inquiry for Ayshia. In Food-Morality-Power [2018] she investigated how ‘pseudo-morality’ is used to create a subtly oppressive grip upon society regarding what people eat. Her food-based research explores the socio-political aspects of food through the oppression of appetites, bodies and access to food, as well as the historical and cultural significance of particular foods.

The Other Side…

When not pondering over food, mythology, symbolism and existential questions, Ayshia explores how the visceral elements of performance art initiate an environment ripe for collaboration, human connections and participation. Through the use of fun-filled self-reflection, humour-based awkwardness, Neo-Fluxai instructions and absurdly playful aesthetic scenarios. Ayshia combines said elements to create experiences that ‘transform’ audience consciousness.

Why Neo-Fluxai though? Because all things already exist in the past. They are half between the now (contemporary) stream and the past stream. The Neo-Fluxai artist understands that their projects exist between the liminal space of their produced work and it is only temporarily contemporary.

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