Artist Tanzina Amin brings her latest exhibition to Guelph-Humber
By Neil Gonputh
Tanzina Amin began her artistic journey 35 years ago when she sketched portraits in high school. She attended a private arts school for two years and learned the basics of drawing and traditional oil painting.
Since then, she has earned a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and has considerable involvement in the arts community. She cofounded Artusiasm, a Toronto gallery that promotes local artists. She is also on the board of directors of Neilson Park Creative Centre, a collection of studio spaces, galleries and spaces that support local artists and promote the arts.
Now, Amin is bringing her latest exhibition Rites of Passage: A Retrospective to the University of Guelph-Humber Art Gallery.
The exhibition is a journey through four different creative phases and highlights the various rites of passage through her adult life.
“This is an amazing art gallery,” Amin said of the University of Guelph-Humber Art Gallery. She had seen other artists’ works at the gallery and she was overjoyed when the opportunity came for her to display her art at the gallery.
“We brought Tanzina Amin in to enrich the school atmosphere,” said Brandon Aitken, a member of the senior event management team that put together the art gallery.
“Her painting shows a journey, shows a change, shows progression and here at the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber we’re all about progression and improving our students’ journeys,” he said.
Her first phase, entitled The Beginning, was from 1984 to 1986 and included very traditional styles of painting.
She then took a 23 year break from art to focus on her education, family and career.
“After that I started university and was just too busy to paint anymore,” Amin said.
Her next phase, entitled Return, includes paintings done after her break from art. These paintings are still in the style of realism but the colours are brighter than what she had previously used.
“I’m still in the realism phase, but it’s a lot more colourful than where I started out,” she said.
Amin does not have many paintings from this phase as most have been sold.
In her third phase, entitled Awakening, she began mixing realism with expressionism.
Amin explains realism is where an artist tries to make the painting as realistic as possible while in expressionism it is more about expressing oneself and the images don’t need to be as perfect as in realism.
In some of these paintings the face is clearly visible but the colours are not those of a real face. She has used red in most of these paintings.
“Ninety per cent of my paintings have red in them,” she said. “It’s my favourite colour, I just want it to be there. It makes me happy.”
Her fourth phase, entitled Healing, was a time when Amin had been through some personal losses. She describes painting as almost a type of meditation.
“I don’t try to dictate my art, I try to go at it the way it takes itself. So when I’m painting it’s almost like meditation to me,” Amin said.
In this phase her paintings may start out as one thing but end up as something else. There are layers and layers of paint in the paintings from this phase, she said.
She points out one of the key differences in this phase is lack of faces in the paintings.
“Over the past couple of years I have seen that I have moved away from those strong women faces looking right at you and here they are looking away or you can’t even see the faces or the features,” Amin said.
This is the phase where she is now and it is still evolving.
Amin is interested in what people see in her paintings and what they take away.
“Art is very personal. Different people react to different pieces in different ways,” she said.
She has chosen a particular painting where she invites the guest to write down their thoughts and what they think or feel as they watch the painting.
The exhibition Rites of Passage: A Retrospective gives guests the opportunity to see Amin’s evolution as an artist, from her first painting in 1984 to present day.
Her work will be on display at the University of Guelph-Humber Art Gallery from March 12 to March 30.