In the June 2017 edition of House and Leisure, we highlight four creatives who exemplify the freshest South African design talent. Read an extended Q&A with one such rising star – Faatimah Mohamed-Luke – below, and get your copy of our latest issue for more.
An artist and designer who believes thatart should be for all, Mohamed-Luke has recently started selling smaller, more affordable versions of her work under the Make Happy brand, focusing on creating wall art made from plastic building blocks. She is also the founding partner of clothing label Adam&Eve.
Describe your work in a sentence. I use plastic building blocks to create intricately patterned large-scale art.
What are your favourite materials to work with? I work exclusively with plastic building blocks. I absolutely love this medium because it is not traditional and yet creates so much nostalgia. At every exhibition, I get to see both young and old beam with delight and excitement once they’ve figured out what the piece is made of.
When you were six years old, what did you want to be? Surprisingly, I wanted to an artist – crayons were my life. Then came doctor, marine biologist, social worker – and look where I’ve ended up.
Who inspires you? I’m inspired every day by the women who came before me and those who will rise after me. My mother is a living, breathing example that a woman can actually have it all, and be really sweet and kind, too. My daughter is a fierce, phenomenally smart and strong individual, and she’s only four. These two give me life and inspire me to be my best self.
Where in the world do you most like to be? Everywhere – I have crazy wanderlust, so I need to travel at least once a year for three weeks. Whether its 10 hour flights or a few hours’ drive out of Cape Town, I find immersing myself in different spaces and cultures so satisfying. It gives me an intense clarity and appreciation for the various gifts we have been given.
Do you think there is such a thing as South African style? I’m sure there is, but it is still pretty difficult to define. My descriptive words would include bold, geometric, sophisticated and majestic.
What is your best time of day? Weekdays from 6-8pm. My husband and little one come home, usually with food, and we share stories about our day, watch animated movies and cuddle.
What’s really ugly? To me, ugly is anything that doesn’t have a personality, a narrative or a soul.
What is your favourite building in the world? Centre George Pompidou in France is an amazing museum that was ahead of its time and vehemently hated by traditionalists – I love revolutionary design. The view of Paris while going up the escalators is phenomenal and it houses over 100 000 of the most iconic pieces of modern art.
Do you have a design hero? Camille Walala. Her design aesthetic of bright colours and simple repetitive geometric shapes is everything I love about design, and yet her style is so distinctive. She has painted giant buildings in London, colourful pedestrian crossings, gallery interiors, prints, pillows and even Easter eggs for Harrods. I love that her work transcends boundaries, and as a creative, that is what we all aspire to do.
What can’t you live without? My people – everything else can be replaced.
What excites you about the future? The future in itself is pretty exciting. The only things that live in the future are hope, change, innovation, growth and love – and these are the best things.
Watch this space for more design newcomers.