Sheeba Khan’s
Devoid

Danielle L. Newns Fein’s Latest Private Collection Acquisition

 

When I first saw a work by Sheeba Khan online, back in 2017, I knew my eyes beheld the artwork of an unparalleled individual talent.

I messaged her straight away, disclosing this viewpoint, explicating to her that she was to be a star in the art world. We became close friends, spending hours speaking each day. Sheeba and I became not only acquaintances, but true friends, confidants and, to this day, sisters, though we have yet to embrace. I await to recognise the magic of that moment. We continue to support one another and to speak whenever moments allot us time here and there throughout each day. I am truly honoured to be representing Sheeba Khan and the physical manifestations of her remarkable talent here in the UK. Further, I am grateful and proud to announce my latest acquisition by Sheeba, ‘Devoid’.

Three large pieces of Sheeba’s are in my private collection. The first two pieces that I acquired were: ‘Rampage,’ an articulation of outrage in reaction to the senselessness of suffering by the hand that pulls triggers, ‘Wandering in Wonderland’, a colourful escape created during a time when the world was losing perspective regarding the contrast of varied types of moments of suffering – many a person’s reprioritisation during lockdown. At the time, I was writing of interviews regarding how artists around the world were coping with the circumstances as creators.

Contrary to Sheeba’s strong individual character is her enslavement by the medium and the moment when she is painting. Magnificent works have been catalysed by her grip on honest emotional zeal and profound instinct. Thus does her artistic process captivate. Usually with a brilliant commitment to colour and its vibrancy, her prodigious captivation of vitality in her works on the inanimate canvas immortalises moments extracted from life and imagination; layers upon layers of paint are used to execute even a flash of dream or memory or opinion.

At times some of her works have been said to resemble Jackson Pollock, such as the work entitled Stream of Consciousness, but I entirely disagree – even in her ‘drip’ paintings one can spot her individualism, particularly with her tremendous eye for bold colour and her inherent spatial awareness.

However, Devoid is an extremely different ‘beast’ in Sheeba’s oeuvre, so to speak.

Sheeba throws her entire corps into a work. She certainly did so with Devoid, which she finished in one exhausting go. Her only work without any colour, in fact she only used black paint and the white is of the canvas itself, the very large (144x105cm) acrylic on canvas was painted during lockdown in Dubai. Remarkably and extremely serendipitously her very physical work whilst executing the painting was caught on film by her husband, Shezzy. The moment Sheeba sent me an image of the work with close-ups of different quadrants as well as Shezzy’s film of her furiously dancing paint onto canvas, I knew I would never tire of it. For over a year, I had a pink post-it over my mantelpiece that just had one word on it: ‘Devoid’.

This was not just another wonderful painting. Devoid is a piece of Sheeba’s that was – and will forever remain – rare and stunning, exhausting and absorbing. We spoke about her journey through the process of physically manifesting Devoid as well, which she eventually described for viewers;

Working on this painting was ethereal, almost [an] other-worldly experience for me….[W]hen I started [this painting], I went into a [ ] trance…something inside of me took over. When I stepped back, the trance was broken and I knew that this was it. ‘I am not going to add any colour to it.’ I was shaky, sweaty and had to lay down for a bit. I have never experienced anything like this before. Invariably, I called it Devoid. – Sheeba Khan

The word ‘devoid’ is synonymous with terms such as ‘barren,’ bereft,’ ‘lacking,’ and ‘wanting.’ While this artwork is wanting of colour, perhaps, or presenting the absence of freedom of movement during lockdown at the peaks of Covid, Devoid is a materialisation of void – 2020, was such a fervent and important moment in time and space. Sheeba, Shezzy and I spoke often about this time, space and the work’s realisation.

Devoid is not done justice via digital rendering. While one can get still get lost in the trance of the tumultuous cascade of shadows and torrential sweat behind the layers of black paint from which it was borne, it is a piece that must be studied in person. I now have that chance for the rest of my life, to relish time investigating each detail of Sheeba’s transfixed experience.

For a limited time, Devoid will be on display at FEIN Collections [made in new york city] here in Bruton, Somerset, also where other works of her artistic hand will be exhibited for sale.