In her latest exhibition, Same sky, different fruit, Nabeeha Mohamed coalesces paintings threaded together by feelings of home and belonging. Home is conceptualised not only as a place but also as a feeling, as people and things, including fruit…especially fruit! Through this exhibition, Mohamed is reaching towards the sky and bringing us along with her. The sky, of course, speaks of the extraterrestrial — that which is positioned in relation to outer space and to the heavens, but it also speaks of the celestial — the place from which the universe can be observed.
Reflected in Mohamed’s work is a sense of rootedness that travels alongside meandering objects — flowers, vases and household monuments that refuse to reveal their purpose. An anchoring and a fleetingness are allowed to take hold simultaneously. It is fitting then that Mohamed brings together both sky and fruit in the same plane, she’s pointing to the gravitational tilt that complicates the clear boundaries between ground and sky, here and there.
To push the metaphor of the sky a little further, Mohamed’s new body of work can be thought of in relation to its segments – constellations, if you like. These constellations are in the form of intimate portraits, verdant landscapes and fantastical interiors. Just as we are drawn to think of dense layers of the atmosphere when we invoke the sky, Mohamed, too, presents us with dense layers of paint whose interaction with the canvas results in sensual arrangements and beautiful compositions. Colour and rhythm shape feeling. Perhaps subconsciously, different variations of the colour blue are littered throughout this body of work — Marie Hallowi (After Barnor), Carrol Boyes and Sparkling Water, Split (Self Portrait), Ferocious Love and Love Everywhere You Look. In the work, Landing II, scores of green crops are layered against the backdrop of a blue sky or perhaps the blue ocean. The blue of this and the blue of that – such blue can hope to hold together.
Through this body of work Mohamed expands the language of home. She reminds us that at the end of it all, it’s about telling stories – sometimes those stories are coherent but most times, they are broken, fragmented, incomplete, sometimes irrational but always beautiful. She reminds us that painting has the potential to speak a powerful universal language that connects us all.