2015 - Ongoing
Nicaragua; Spain; India; Italy; Borno, Nigeria; Chittagong, Bangladesh
Iffat Nawaz has been working to capture the punctuated empty spaces holding human emotions amidst today’s crowded living. The photographs are from around 12+ countries, including two refugee crises zones, in Borno, Nigeria and Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. With millions of human photographs pasted and floating around us we no longer react with as much empathy or interest as we once did to human faces, bodies, and situations. We add our judgements to the subjects according to our own social conditionings. Iffat feels the love we hold for each other and ourselves, gets provoked more deeply when we see the signs left around by humanity, i.e a slept-on pillow by the roadside still holding imprint of the head, the accidental art created by drying cloths at a slum etc. Iffat’s photographs show the signs of life's emotions without directing the viewer to the humans in them. The photographs try to evoke feelings from our core, a relation that goes beyond separated identities.
Iffat is working on a collection of photographs which draw poetry of human living, belongings, and shadows captured from the dire contexts of refugee crises, to the joy of little girls bathing in Nicaraguan volcanic lakes and then to the final twirl of a Flamenco dancer. Combined the photographs make up a fuller human, representing our joy, sorrow, fear, love, while enveloped in the lap of nature- space, water, air, earth and fire. Only a few of Iffat's photographs contain human faces, mostly to accentuate the transient nature of life’s watermark over time and space. Without intending this three year project has geared towards photographing women and children from Spain, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, USA, Italy, Colombia, India and Mexico.
Iffat would like to continue to explore this subject and dive deeper into the folds of seen and unseen, the sights which provoke universal emotions beyond our backgrounds and boundaries. "Traces of You," is a project that wishes to flow like a river collecting parts of us which are often unnoticed yet fully lived and whole. When completed it will draw a new map in the viewer's mind, discarding geographical logic and following the transient, vivid emotional map of the world.
Growing up in a conservative setting in Bangladesh till the age of 12 and then moving to USA has given Iffat a third-culture person's perspective and inside/outsider's view to our identities and belongings. While exploring the topics of human relations and emotions in the context of solace and crisis, Iffat had to break through many of her own boundaries and grow beyond the identities placed on her by birth and upbringing. Her photographs contain her aspiration to capture through an expansive, universal eye.