The Comedic Tragedy

Written by Mahnoor Rehan | Poet, Collector of old and beautiful things

On the artistic experiences of  Sidra Saleem | Visual Artist, Educator

Sidra’s quirky style can be described as Post-modernism infused with contemporary art. The unfortunate times of the pandemic were not so unfortunate for our artist, she was found amidst the darkness of her room accompanied by her snoring sister, working on a series and taking time out to self-evaluate.

Sidra collects photographed memories and combines them with clown faces she drew over the faces of family and friends faded by nostalgia, she believes everyone has a clown within, although quite notoriously this figure is known as to appear silly and irrational, there is most certainly an equal amount of profound morbidity to it; the creative and the destructive, the lively and the horrid, the order and the chaotic elements of the clown archetype is captured, wholly in the duality of Sidra’s artwork.

She believes “Comedy and tragedy have had a very close relationship throughout history and the difference between the two is a good punch line.” (Brown, 2018). The punch line apparently, appears to be the main course of Sidra’s artwork

On having asked how she derives inspiration for her peculiar style of art, she told us that she never really needed anything to trigger her thoughts, the ideas miraculously just dawn upon her at random moments such as boring bus rides to home or dinners with friends and family.

Sidra believes that we, as humans, are nothing but mere reactions to experiences that happened to/with us, her Untitled clown series are the reactions she observed, captured, and taped across old photographs. Trauma brings out certain reactions that are uncommon, unrecognized, and not acknowledged well, Sidra, through her artwork, wanted to give light to those strange, unusual, and unexplainable reactions that people go through in response to unpleasant experiences and memories. The artist encourages people going through these emotions to reach out for help from friends, family, and professionals in order to spread awareness.

She also believes self-expression through the pursuit of art, music, and literature can be adopted as channelling these reactions into a creative catharsis of sorts.

Right: UNTITLED, polaroid photograph, Sidra Saleem, All copyrights are retained by the artist, 2020