Illustrator and zine maker Saffa Khan describes her artistic practice and how she approached creating artwork for SQIFF.
Tell us a bit about your illustration practice and your work to date.
My illustrative practice has evolved over the years. I started creating visual work that depicted mostly lived experience of immigration, belonging and general feelings of existing in the in-between of cultures and environment as a queer Muslim of colour. Illustration and self publishing became a creative outlet for me to be able to dissect and make sense of my surroundings, as well as create work that amplifies diversity and inclusivity within the illustration world.
What was the process of developing the idea for the SQIFF 2019 artwork?
I wanted to showcase a glimpse of various LGBTQI+ identities from different communities and cultures, which is how the pattern was created. I predominantly use a very vibrant and often warm toned palate, which I associate with being welcoming, accessible and playful. I also wanted to put emphasis on various forms of film making – film as a medium can be quite an accessible form of documentation and narration.
How do your illustrations and your zinemaking and publishing practices interact?
I create zines as a form of therapy, sometimes for myself and sometimes to share with others. I started exploring the themes of home, identity, culture and mental health through illustration, mostly because at the time, I didn’t have access to any resources to understand my own evolving identity, but it is through self publishing and support within the DIY zine communities, that I was able to deconstruct my feelings into something more tangible. Zines are such a wonderful and accessible form of bonding, skill-sharing and platforming your voice, which is how I utilise self publishing as a tool to learn, engage and communicate.
Saffa’s artwork can be seen on our SQIFF 2019 brochures and posters. You can also buy tshirts, tote bags, notebooks, stickers, and badges featuring Saffa’s design from our merchandise stall at CCA during the Festival. Click here for more about Saffa’s work.
Image credit: self-portrait by Saffa Khan.