Laila Tara H is an Iranian-British artist who graduated in Miniature painting from The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London in 2019. Tara H’s works on paper stem from traditions found in 17th Century Indo-Persian miniature painting. Her work is recognisable for a sparse application of symbolic forms that are juxtaposed in multiple, concurrent narratives across her compositions, often created on handmade hemp paper and with naturally derived pigments.
The hybrid style 17th century Indo-Persian miniature painting emerged from painters traveling from Persia to the Deccan in India through established shipping or overland routes. As such, this style revealed a complex history of migration borne from an amalgam of painting traditions. Tara H’s visual language is informed by her Iraninian heritage, but is also an articulation of a personal identity history and the experiences of living in and between different cultural settings.
Utilising these historical techniques, Tara H’s works explore and experiment in scale and negative space. Detailed figures suspended amidst contemporary urban scenes, disjointed limbs amidst delicate foliage are all arranged in stark, startling compositions that defy stylistic cannons and stretch boundaries. She often cuts and folds paper, puncturing and destabilising space to introduce new three-dimensional depth and shadow play. Her works, most often painted on hand-made natural hemp paper sourced from Sanganer, India, explore a range of emotions, and create a charged surface where the tension between form and formlessness; the object and its surrounding emptiness, plays out. Tara H’s The figures explore our sense of perspective and time, and are interlaced with deeply personal narratives. Tara H mostly uses pigments that are either naturally derived, or prepared using traditional methods from found materials—these range from crushed red London bricks; walnut ink; madder red pigment; deep blue lapis lazuli from Badakhshan province of Afghanistan and India, sourced from Florence; ochres from Iran, collected from the island of Hormoz.
Selected solo exhibitions include Laila Tara H, Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK (2022); Vexilloid, O Gallery, Tehran, Iran (2021); Am I?, V.O Curations, London, UK (2021). Selected duo and group exhibitions include Laila Tara H x Anousha Payne, Public Gallery, London, UK (2022); Sky Circles, Laila Tara H and Anusheh Zia Siddiqui, Indigo + Madder, London, UK (2021); Assemble, curated by Kate Wong, V.O. Curations, London, Uk (2022); Cruel intentions, Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2020); So Good So Close, Numeroventi, Florence, Italy (2020); Royal Miniature Society, Mall Galleries, London, UK (2019); Dumfries House Royal MA private exhibition for HRH Prince Charles, Ayrshire, Scotland (2019). Residencies include Casa Balandra, Mallorca, Spain (2020); Numeroventi, Florence, Italy (2020) and Studio Escalier, Argenton Chateau, France (2019).