'On arrival, we had to wade through a tonne of people who were spilling out of the door on to the street, just to get into the exhibition. Only twenty minutes into the show and it was packed, the majority of the wine had been drunk and laughter and natter filled both rooms as people enjoyed the work of young local artist Anmar Mirza.

What is immediately evident on viewing the work is the juxtaposition of bold vivid colour and crisp black and white illustration. It makes for an impressive aesthetic. Working in the medium of pen and spray paint, it is evident to see a progression in messages, style and experimentation as you walk through the show.

African culture has heavily influenced Mirza’s work, which is expressed in his less than timid use of colour. Exotic greens, red, yellows and pinks shot from the walls and filtered through the lens of 1980’s New York Art have combined to make these intriguing pieces. Each image boasts a host of busy backgrounds and a clever array of smaller images that combine to the whole picture seen before you.

One of Mirza’s focal points in each image is a silhouette or representation of a portrait or body. Some are simple, made up only of shading and loose lines whereas others are intricately more detailed. Often it is only specific body parts that are this detailed, for example, the inflated eye that is over-exaggerated in several of the images. The effect of this is quite intimidating and stark.

Some images demonstrate male and female nudes in very exposed positions, though often they’re depicted minus genitalia and nipples. This shows the artist’s interpretative manner of representation and expresses the freedom with which he embraces human anatomy. It suggest a lack of sexual prowess and instead an appreciation of identity, another beauty to the human body besides lust. These distortions of anatomy and rearrangement of features demonstrate the variety of human appearance and showcases how subjective reality is to perspective and emotion.

I would say M’Lady and M’Lady 2 make the show and really tie it together, though two other personal favourites of mine were Three and Thirteen for the subtle undertones of sincerity that shroud the pieces and their colouring and shading.'

Words courtesy of Outline Magazine