DIGITAL ARTIST OF THE DAY: Ravinder Surah – Human Isolation in a Digital World, Psychedelic Poetry, and Breaking the Rules
BY MILLY ZIETHEN
Ravinder Surah (or Rav) is a mixed-media artist from Chesterfield and has considered himself an artist for the past seven years. While that might appear a relatively short time for fully-fledged artists, Surah’s experience is extensive. Exhibiting published pieces all over Europe, Surah’s work has been featured in The Art Reveal Magazine, native to Finland, which penned an extensive six-page article on his art and photography, choosing HEX for its front cover.
Meanwhile the Italian website “Itsliquid.com” published an exclusive interview and numerous pieces, coinciding with an exhibition in Rome. Reaching beyond Europe, New York, Moscow and many more join an impressive exhibitor list. His favorite places to exhibit? Berlin and (somewhat surprisingly) Sheffield. Such is Surah’s fondness for Germany, he even named his company – Pankow Creatives – after a district of its capital. Just as we all share a certain comfort returning to our roots, it’s perhaps no surprise that Surah has enjoyed more than ten exhibitions in the North of England over the last few years alone.
‘Psychedelic poetry was my inspiration,’ says Ravinder Surah during our interview. ‘Pieces that not only inspire you to think about what you read, but also question your knowledge of the world.’
The fine art photographer conveys an interesting perspective on the human condition, highlighting ideas of vulnerability and the philosophies of metaphysics in his work, encouraging the viewer to ponder what they see.
A recent focus of Surah’s work explores the isolation of humans from a modern society. This subject has become increasingly popular in both the digital and art worlds, and features in a number of Leeds Digital Festival events. Surah lends his own interpretation of the topic by combining the human form with nature, demonstrating the attachment to our society – an urban civilization that we would struggle to live without. In the work Far away from here, this is further explored through the idea of existence, emphasising our dependence on this society we have created, he says.
The influence technology has had – and continues to have – on culture and digital art itself also holds the spotlight during Leeds Digital Festival, and the Culture Consortium is meeting on Wednesday 25th April to discuss just that. While technology claims an increasingly central role in our lives, providing new opportunities for artists to express and share their creativity through digital tools and networks. But opinions are divided on whether this technology is destroying our social life and creative culture or inspiring it.
I took the opportunity at the CuratorSpace Digital Art Exhibition Launch to discuss the impact technology and digital has on art with Ravinder. With the rise of smartphones, can’t everyone be an artist, and does that devalue art or raise the bar? Perhaps, but as Surah points out: while anyone might have access to a camera, but that doesn’t make them a photographer. Just as many people might get their hands on a musical instrument, but that does not make them a musician.
And in such a competitive world, what makes a work of art – in all its forms – rise above the chatter? ‘New concepts and breaking the rules,’ assures Surah, ‘It’s not just the idea or aesthetic but a multitude of other workings within the art itself that make it richer.”
To find out more about Ravinder Surah’s work, exhibited in CuratorSpace’s Digital Art Exhibition as part of Leeds Digital Festival, please visit his website here.