New wave Instagram-age artist, Sara Shakeel, presented her first UK exhibition The Great Supper in collaboration with NOW Gallery as this year’s Young Artist Commission. Shakeel’s signature crystal art collages have gained huge popularity on Instagram and The Great Supper represents Shakeel’s remarkable journey from digital art to a real-life art.
Shakeel is a former dentist from Pakistan turned into a self-made artist. She began her Instagram career with moving collages of stretch marks filled with glitters and throughout the years became an Instagram sensation. With more than 780k followers who admire her glittery art that turns everyday objects into transcendent scenes, Shakeel creates a dream resembling atmosphere. Her artwork evokes and communicates emotions by creating an imaginary universe full of shimmering glitters that serve as a way of escaping from the outside world.
The Great Supper transforms her digital artwork into the real world. The exhibition is situated in a dark room with dimmed light in the centre of the gallery. What will strike you after entering the room is a scene of a dining room, with a little exception from the traditional dinner we are used to. The familiar environment of the dining room is being emphasized by rays of light that create a shimmering glow of the crystals with a dreamlike atmosphere. From the dining table to chairs and crockery with a served meal, everything on the stage is covered in white sparkling crystals. The table is perfectly arranged and ready for the dinner, serving sparkling burgers and roast chicken with chips and a toast on a side, together with doughnuts and bowl of fruit for the sweet tooth of the family. The authenticity of the scene is underlined by the unfinished plate with a doughnut, a glass and a spoon lying on the ground and chairs being carelessly pushed away as if somebody just left the dinner table. The whole scene looks like a cut-out from one of the famous Instagram collages and with The Great Supper Shakeel’s habit of adding crystals to the most ordinary everyday objects has reached a new dimension in the real-life setting. The exhibition space is built in a way so that the observers can wander around the darkened space and look at the artwork from all angles to experience the whole spectrum of changing colours of the crystals.
Shakeel offers an altered lens on family ties and the importance of relationships between people. She invites the observer to join the dinner while challenging their view and making them see things from a different angle. By dramatizing such a common activity as dinner, she opens a conversation about the significance of small and simple things in life. She focuses the attention on the situation that can be easily taken for granted and celebrates the pleasantness of the moment.
Lucia Legáthová | WRITER