Weaving intricate patterns, Asian design elements and symbolism into contemporary settings and public spaces, Elysha Rei’s work explores her own mixed heritage, and in doing so, invites others to contemplate their own cultural identities and attachments to familiar and unfamiliar places.
While her exploration of her Japanese-Australian culture varies across multiple disciplines such as portraits and drawings, sculptural installations, painting, paper-cutting, street art and paste-ups, she is also an active facilitator and mentor in the industry. And as such, is consistently proving how innovative and prolific she is as an artist.
Elysha credits her cultural curiosity to her diverse upbringing. Identifying as a cultural hybrid, she was born in Saudi Arabia and travelled extensively with her family. She has lived in Australia, Thailand, New Zealand and Japan, as well as travelling throughout Europe and Asia. She says, “This childhood exposure to different cultures, customs and aesthetics has created a strong influence in my practice, drawing upon cross-cultural experiences and observations.
For me [my work] is about a balance of working through my own personal research agendas – learning about myself, the world around me, and my place within it and interpreting that visually – as well as providing others with that kind of opportunity as well.”
International and domestic travel still remain and important part of what inspires her. Elysha says she is fascinated by her family lineage and creatively inspired by Japanese woodblock artists, contemporary paper cutting artists and New York based street artist, SWOON.
“I admire those that have taken the time to refine and master their form of art making and turn it into something of their own,” Elysha says.
Her foray into the world of paper-cutting was inspired by renowned, Tasmanian artist, Dr Megan Keating’s paper-cutting workshop during her studies at the University of Southern Queensland. Since then, Elysha has researched and made paper-cutting something of her own and the visual impact her elaborate paper-cutting tapestries have is profound.
Through the use of negative space and shadow, Asian inspired symbolism and balanced aesthetics, Elysha invokes viewers into a state of quiet contemplation. Elysha says, “Paper-cutting is a contemporary art medium of expression that I favour for both its folklore quality and its unforgiving, yet satisfying, nature. Without the ability to erase lines or paint over a mistake, cutting paper forces me to trust my decisions. It makes me invest in my designs with conviction. I relish the challenge of creating artworks through paper-cutting that are visually captivating as well as structurally refined.”
It is clear that the creative commitment Elysha has refined through her art practice, has certainly given her a creative edge as an artist.
- Want to know more about Elysha and her arts practice, catch up with her live when we interview her on Wed the 15th Feb as part of the BrisAsia Festival. There deets are here.
- If you’d love to experiment with paper-cutting, Elysha is hosting a contemporary paper-cutting workshop at Artisan, Brisbane on 25th February. Book here.
Or find more info about Elysha’s past and present work using the links below:
Director/Co founder of http://www.samritresidency.com/
We can’t wait to catch up with you Elysha!
Ps. Want us to ask a specific question? Comment below or hit us up on Facebook.