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Artist Spotlight: Tasneem Elnayal

Tasneem Elnayal is a Sudanese-British artist based in London whose work explores the intersection of cultural identity and belonging.

Tasneem Elnayal is a Sudanese-British artist based in London whose work explores the intersection of cultural identity and belonging.

How has your lived experience shaped your practice?

My entire practice is a reflection of who I am. How I feel, what I think, what I’ve experienced, my beliefs and what I stand for. Art has many forms and I like to use my take from it to tell stories. As a Sudanese artist having always lived in London, I explore themes of belonging and the intersection of cultural identity.

What are some of your biggest influences and motivations in your work? What issues are you passionate about working on?

The people around me are my influences. My heritage, family, friends, community, culture, language and faith. Sometimes its the mundane moments that feel so insignificant that allow room for a feeling or thought to develop and inspire a piece organically; and sometimes its deep conversations or an experience. Current social issues have also influenced my work as I believe art has always been political. As a Black artist, I am passionate about creating art that doesn’t solely depict Black trauma narratives. I’m not actively limiting it from my artistic expression because it is still a valid lived experience, however, I want to see Black artists being spotlighted and celebrated outside their struggles. Its exhausting to have to recall and relive these traumas packaged into a palatable form of artistic expression. I don’t want Black artists to be categorised and limited to just their pain.

Can you tell us a bit more about your community and belonging

My community isn’t defined by ethnicity, gender or faith. Community to me is people coming together to learn, teach, build and encourage each other. To find like-minded individuals that seek progression through collective effort. London is a great place for finding your community. London is a melting pot of people from different backgrounds and talents and there is always something new happening. I really enjoy hosting art and tufting workshops. I think it’s important to make art accessible to all communities and I try to do this by facilitating workshops. As much as I believe there are beautiful and diverse communities in London, this city can also be exhausting at times. There is an uncomfortable competitive and individualistic ‘rat race’ culture that I find myself falling in and out from. Belonging is something I am still exploring and trying to understand myself. It can sometimes feel like I don’t belong anywhere.

Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you?

I am based in London, UK and I am excited to see more people, young and old, practice their passion and interest in art. Its exciting to see people work on building their communities, creating spaces for people to explore and experience new skills, especially when having a studio or a dedicated space to create is difficult and very much a privilege. It’s great to be able to learn from others and experience their forms of expression, whether that be fine art, music, writing, nature, food etc.

Find out more about Tasneem’s work HERE


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