Ashk [Tears] (2016)

Tears I: 16 Midnight Blue Squares, Ashk Series (2016)

Tears II: 4 Midnight Blue and Black Squares, Ashk Series (2016) 

Ashk | Tears series is the product of a performance where Syed shed tears onto boards while listening to Quranic recitation as well as thinking in complete silence. Syed's performance of Ashk | Tears happened in his studio over a five day period at various times. Although a private activity, a few close artist friends were also invited to witness the process (upon their request) and to take a few photographs.

To produce tears for the performance Syed had to reach out to a wide range of feelings including elation, sorrow, frustration, and rejection. The artist surprisingly noted that out of the three kinds of tears distinguished by scientists (Basal tears, Irritant tears and Emotional tears which differ from each other by function and composition), only emotional tears were produced during this performance. Syed states "There were not tears of joy but plenty tears of blessings, gratitude, and forgiveness". The board on which the tears are shed have an application of dark ink that allows the surface to further highlight the tear stains in the presentation of the work. 

In addition, the line installation of the series in a linear fashion is meant to reference Carl Andre's 64 Lead Square (1969) work that invites audiences to walk over it - creating a performative element. Ashk | Tears pays homage to this work through showing how each tear shed is a performative action of humanistic minimalism, and action centred work with minimal intervention. 

Image courtesy the artists and Aicon gallery.