Eliyah Qureshi is a contemporary Pakistani artist based in East London. Her work is rich in conceptual symbolism and visual metaphor, shown through imagery as well as the materials used which bolster each other to seek authenticity in complex societal issues derived from personal experiences.
For Eliyah, creating artwork is a method of therapy and meditation, a necessary action which seeks resolution and celebrates human imperfection. Through the use of recognisable symbolism, she gives a voice to those who are often unheard, thus turning the disadvantage into a force of strength. This sincere exploration of vulnerability ultimately produces works which emulate courage and inspire individuals who own her artwork to find their own method of self-care.
Through the use of black ink which seethes into paper irreversibly, in the same way, circumstances can stain and transform one’s life, the abstract gold patterns washing over the black, never quite covering it but still making marks are representative of seeking solutions. Just like threads which appear regularly in Elijah's work are constant trails of thoughts, honeycomb patterns are permanent reminders of experiences, leaving behind marks even after they’re destroyed. Antlers which emanate force and power, are a necessary balance to softness and compassion. Figures which are drawn in delicate lines are themselves hiding their delicacy and anxiety in plain sight. Bees are providers, the staple element without which no life could go on, they depend on their community as much as the community depends on them, they are symbolic of a mother, as the hive cannot survive without the queen, and the queen depends on her hive in order to ensure their mutual survival.
Eliyah regularly exhibits her work in group and solo exhibitions, in galleries across the UK and internationally, as well as being involved in national and community-based projects such as the E17 Art Trail and creating commissioned work for individuals, charities and companies. As well as working as an independent artist she is a co-founder and director of a digital media company Dream Mx. She is also the founder of Barkingside Art Club, where she organises inclusive art workshops for children and adults, regularly taking part in international events such as Big Draw and Lumiere as well as working with the Redbridge Council to deliver art workshops aiming to integrate the local community and provide a friendly and enriching environment for exploration of creativity.
The subject matter of her work reflects the careful balance required in its production. In her busy schedule as an independent artist, designer, director, an active member of her community, and a mother of two, her home studio is an equilibrium of work and family. Her urge to create is fuelled by the smallest details of everyday life, the need to reflect and present her experience is intuitive, abstracted, symbolic. Each series is a further step in self-understanding, acknowledgments of what is needed at the time, processes of thought which ensure growth. Just like the bees move their hives in order to thrive, Eliyah treats her studio practice as meditations which become stronger as they become part of others’ lives, giving them the inspiration to find their own method of healing.