Illustrator Sarah Taiba discusses what inspired her as a young Muslim woman and an artist and shares a selection of her multimedia works.
In the middle of the noise and crowd, the strange zones and senseless thoughts, in a stupid society which revolves around gossip, a little girl grew up in her own bubble. She spent all her time writing, drawing, and eating strawberry-cream pies. There is nothing impossible in this bubble; everyone accepts everyone without trying to change anything. In that bubble our friend can say whatever she wants and wear whatever she likes; lovely bubble, everyone is straightforward; therefore our friend became a bohemian creature who creates whatever she feels like—until the day came when someone got closer, closer, and closer, and burst the bubble!
It was tragic. Our friend learned a new word, a word completely new to her: Reality.
Day after day, what we were afraid of happened; the dreamy little girl changed and became a realistic woman. But every now and then happiness from an outer source finds secret shortcuts to her heart, and the smallest things would light a bulb in that tiny dark room inside her brain, which means that she still has some of what she had in that bubble.
Our friend is officially realistic now. She got to know a lot of strange creatures called people; the bad, the good, the simple, the complicated, the honest, and the dishonest. She was influenced by many, and she discovered that the more she gets to know these random creatures, the more she wants to illustrate and write. This girl is me ... Lastika! I mean Sara Taibah, my real name.
I don't seek crystal clarity; sometimes I prefer the blur. My work is more of a diary. Everything I write and draw is connected somehow. It is about embracing and taking advantages of a certain situation. I achieve that with writing and drawing.
"Moonstruck" is an art piece that represents duality, and the indecisiveness that I as a Muslim woman face, having two different desires, two different personalities, and endless confusion. "Hesitance" is another piece, which addresses the same duality. Regardless of whether I have entered the force-field of absolute freedom or not, I am always in a state of uncertainty. "The Sad Girl" is a cardboard dummy I created. In the piece here, the girl says that freedom is already an addressed right that she does not need to work hard to get it.
"Junk" is an illustration book I published around the end of 2011, before moving to San Francisco to study MFA in Illustration. Everyone suggested that I should wait to publish the book after my studies, when I was a better Illustrator. I simply said, NO. I wanted to have a personal, published book out there. I wanted to build a relationship with people so they can enjoy growing with me as an artist. I believe that the more you wait, the less you do. My book is more of a diary that revolves around the real and the imaginary world within one brain. The book is available at Virgin Megastore, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Alaan Art space in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is also available at The Museum of Art and Cartoon in San Francisco.