Reya Ahmed’s rich and autobiographical Risograph work evokes feelings of nostalgia
Drawn to an array of visual media, the creative cites Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis as well as South Asian and Muslim miniature paintings as primarily influences.
- 11 July 2023
- Olivia Hingley
Nestled at the core of Reya Ahmed’s rich portfolio is the feeling of nostalgia. “I come from a Bengali family and I think nostalgia is so culturally omnipresent and potent for anyone that speaks the language,” says Reya. “I always think about present rituals or circumstances in relation to what they once were.” In their work, this can sometimes lead to exploring the “mundane (but political)” navigation of Spareroom ads as an immigrant, or the intersection of queer feminism and their Muslim heritage.
All of these avenues and influences culminate beautifully in Reya’s project The Margins of Memory. Using the visual structures found in South Asian and Muslim miniature paintings – “elaborate and ornamental ‘margins’ with text and motifs” – the project explores the passage of time. It features a pleasing pairing of colours, entertaining compositions and evocative visual imagery, created with found receipts and the photos of Reya’s plants. The project follows Reya’s year-long experimentation with Risograph, a medium she loves for the lengthy time it requires: “the more time I spend with a project, the more I am happy with it and within it,” they end.
GalleryReya Ahmed: The Margins of Memory (Copyright © Reya Ahmed, 2023)
Reya Ahmed: The Margins of Memory (Copyright © Reya Ahmed, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.