Artist Observed – Aya Mouri
India Habitat Centre in association with the University of Kent organized a two day workshop on ‘Contemporary Visual Arts Writing & Criticism’—conceived by Dr Alka Pande, India’s preeminent art critic; lead by Dr Grant Pooke, FRSA; and curated by Angus Pryor, Director, School of Arts, Medway.
As an assignment for the seminar, I wrote the following note about Aya Mouri, one of the artists featured in the accompanying exhibition ‘Critical Narratives in Colour and Form:’
The paintings by Aya Mouri invoke medieval imagery, as if in irony. She uses ornate motifs and rich colours to illustrate subjects which are anything but grandiose. The vibrant facade reveals that it is made up of elements which symbolize the dichotomy of life—of happiness and grief, prosperity and loss, life and death. Two hinged diptychs show a bird as having acquired a crown or a useful twig while its counterpart looks on and sheds tears. A royal courtroom scene is played out with the subjects looking up to the avian king while elsewhere another bird takes a death dive into a rich landscape of ultramarine. Birds are her choice of actors in the scenes which are played out on a stage designed with harmony of nature as inspiration. The artist employs a style which is at a risk of being perceived as decorative, yet she courageously uses her canvases as theatres where epic dramas of life are enacted.