Let’s give them something to talk about

Today we share some time with one of the most controversial, and marvelous, graphic designer I’ve met; her Instagram page and store page are the best distractions you could fall into. Explicitly, we are giving you something to talk about.

We could start from this point, taking a look into your world, it is possible to see contrasts sleeping together and destruction creating ‘life’. How do you give birth to such provocative representations of our generation faces?

I think because I belong to this ‘millennial’ generation, I try to comment or critique issues that are relevant. This could be anything that spans the spectrum of the completely personal to the completely political and all the shades in between. As for the choice of provocative communication, this mostly relates to the platform through which I submit my content. The attention span of a social media audience is fleeting and fast-paced and therefore requires content that communicates instantaneously.

In your works, I saw lot of references to the new American president Donald Trump: lot of controversial words have come out from his mouth about gender, women and race. Can you share with us your opinions on this issue?

I think most of what he spews is controversy for controversy’s sake. It is aggressive, provocative, and inflammatory. This all makes sense when viewed from the prism of his background as a reality tv celebrity. He is trying to compensate for his political impotence through a continuous bombardment of shock and awe. I think one of the main positives out of his presidency is the rise in thought-provoking, protest art. His presence is causing a huge uprise in the western world. A sort of awakening from a social, political and economic compliance.

Being a woman in an alphamen’s world could be difficult, but what about you creating and working in the world of arts? Have you ever been attacked for being a woman? How do you deal with that?

I think as an artist you share common struggles, irrespective of gender; primarily exposure and recognition from ‘valued’ institutions. I do however agree that when I create an artwork that is provocative or controversial, the attacks are usually gender based. The first time I was confronted with these remarks it was clearly hurtful, however I’ve come to realise that by choosing to expose my work on a public platform I can not and should not control other people’s opinions.

A lot of people think that the ‘gender thing’ is nowadays something dead because our contemporaneity has anesthetized day by day the impact. Do you agree about that? Is the gender thing something that doesn’t belong to our society?

I think the explicitness of gender inequality differs depending on the society you’re referring to. Having lived in both ‘developed’ and ‘under developed’ countries the past ten years I can see a clear discrepancy in this progression. But I do believe that generally there is a lot of more work to do- both on a micro social scale and macro political scale.

In the graphics you created for us, we can surely see your working lines but we want you to explain us a bit the content of these works.

Most of the work I post on Instagram is a combination of photo manipulation, photography and digital collage. Instead of focusing on the internal, the subjective or the completely personal I am more interested in the social- or rather creating a conversation between the two. I find myself with a constant desire to communicate beyond the literal and to draw the spectator into this dialogue.

Lately, I have been fascinated with our relationship to modern forms of communication- mainly through the form of social media. Whereas before I had a passive relationship, I am now questioning that passivity through active roles of expression. Using a subversive, often ironic approach I am constantly trying to question my place within this silly, superficially satisfying and sometimes destructive relationship.

As a woman, as a member of our generation and as a person, we would love to know what are your feelings about the progress (or the regress) of what our world is offering us – genderly talking -. Is still our birth-gender relevant for our existence?

I definitely believe the evolution of gender acceptance is progressing, albeit with a few bumps along the way. I think the perseverance of our generation in legitimising gender equality is causing those in power to act or at least listen to what they have to say. As for the relevance of one’s birth-gender I think that depends on the individual and their decision to place their identity or existence on that or not.

Instagram Sara Zaher: https://www.instagram.com/zahersara/

Website: http://www.sarazaher.com/

An interview by Stefano Riva

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