Aadila Munshi is a contemporary artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. Her distinctive paintings are recognised as sophisticated renderings of urban textures and abstracted graffiti forms. Relocating third world sensibilities to the first world strongly informs her work.
She is inspired by urban decay, street art and graffiti as powerful voices for social justice, and as beautiful art forms.
Composed intuitively, her abstract expressions emerge as visual representations of her perception of the push and pull between struggle, hope, and the ability to rise above. Urban grunge and textures are uniquely contrasted with soft, elegant marks and letters. A former Criminologist at the University of Cape Town, Aadila grew up in South Africa during a turbulent socio-political period. She studied painting in the studio of a local artist in her town and wrote calligraphy as a favourite pastime. In 2000, she moved to Toronto permanently, where she studied at the Toronto School of Art and established her painting practice. Her work has been sold in North America, Australia, and South Africa.
I experienced the historical regime change that saw the abolishment of apartheid and the first free and fair election held in South Africa, electing Nelson Mandela as the President. I had the rare privilege to often meet the President and his contemporaries, most notably his Minister of Justice and trusted counsel, Dullah Omar, who welcomed me into his home as family. These legendary giants of the freedom struggle served as my mentors and helped shape my views on strength, tolerance, freedom, and humanity. My exposure to the socio-political scene at the time was deepened by my work as a Criminologist. I was drawn to city walls and signs, richly sprayed with colour and protest. The street art of repressed voices, like my own, seeking change, made an indelible impact on me.
I paint intuitively and passionately to express myself, allowing deeply felt experiences and impressions to drive each piece to the finish.
Urban textures, decay and street art continue to move and inspire my work, as I focus on honouring and illuminating the beauty and powerful voice found in urban settings globally. My paintings contain messages of unity, love, hope, and peace, each with interesting titles to ponder.