Yamuna Forzani's impressive textile installations will be catching your eye at this year's Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam (27 - 31 October, de Kromhouthal).
Tuesday 5 October, 2021
This year at the 15th Edition of Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam, we’re delighted to be celebrating this landmark year with a special installation from bold queer activist artist, Yamuna Forzani.
Represented by local Amsterdam-based Rademakers Gallery, Yamuna creates colourful fabrics with tags inspired by provocative prints and graffitis. The outfits and textile works she creates with these fabrics serve as a form of personal expression and gender awareness. In her multidisciplinary practice which combines fashion, photography, dance, installation, and social design, she celebrates the ballroom scene of the LGBTQ+ subculture. She plays with the body and sexuality, the psychedelic aesthetics of the 1960s and the current visual culture of social media.
Ahead of the fair, read on to find out more about Yamuna’s work and life:
What is the inspiration behind your work?
Two of the main forces driving my work are my love of colour and my community. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m passionate about sharing stories, promoting diversity and acceptance of all bodies. My work and activism are intertwined, and my work pushes the boundaries of what is viewed as ‘normal’ by celebrating less commonly explored narratives.
Colour is also a hugely important part of my work. I spent much of my childhood in India where life is so vibrant and chaotic compared with Northern Europe where ‘doing normal is crazy enough.’ In creating my tapestries, I’m always pushing the colours and the textile machines to the maximum – combining as many yarns as possible, creating intricate stitching, and searching for the brightest hues and colour combinations possible. The yarns that I use are as sustainable as possible using recycled nylon and organic fair trade cotton.
Who are some of your main influences when it comes to your creative process?
I’m inspired by so many creatives from different industries; they’re often individuals who ‘got out there,’ shook up their industries and were a voice for change against all the odds!
The fearless activist spirit of British fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood, is alive in my drive to be bold and make work that embodies my values. Similarly, Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama’s courageous journey in becoming one of the most influential artists in the world has impacted me. And Rihanna – one of the first people to pioneer make-up suitable for all skin colours and all-round force! Other people who inspire me are Georgia O’keefe and her flower/vagina paintings,Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman, Ren Hang, Zanele Muholi, Leigh Bowery, Grayson Perry, Sheila Hicks and Chantal Regnault.
Can you tell us about your journey in the arts? Have you always known you wanted to become an artist?
Yes! I was fortunate to be raised by free-spirited, open-minded parents who always encouraged me to do what makes me happy whether that be moving to Den Haag to study at art school here or joining the ballroom scene in New York. They also taught me to embrace different cultures, appreciate the value of travel and speak out for what I believe in.
As an artist, what does a typical day look like for you?
It looks long! After hitting the gym in the morning, I typically spend 12 hours every day in the studio which I share with other artists. On any given day, I’ll be working on designs for tapestries, hand-finishing artworks and outfits alongside supporting my colleagues at the studio with their projects and planning events and happenings together. The lines between work and play are completely blurred for me and I love being an artist!
What would you say are the most rewarding and the most challenging aspects of being an artist today?
The commercial, business-side of being an artist is something that we’re not taught about at art school so, that, for me, has been the most challenging aspect so far.
The most rewarding part of being an artist, however, is seeing my work inspiring people. Whether opening minds, or making people feel ‘seen’, perhaps for the first time, it moves me to see other people moved by my work and this gives me an amazing sense of purpose and drive!
What does Affordable Art Fair represent for you? What do you enjoy about the fair?
This will be my first time participating in a major art fair and I’m so excited to see the reactions to my work from such a huge number of people! We have a bright, bold installation planned and I can’t wait to see it come to life in De Kromhouthal.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Yamuna and we can’t wait to see the result of this installation. Moreover, you’ll also be able to check out and acquire some of Yamuna’s works at Rademakers Gallery’s stand (A19) during the fair. Join us for the 15th edition of Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam (27 – 31 October, de Kromhouthal).