I started the Pillow Talk Cause in response to ‘Transition’ the theme for this year’s Reconnecting Arts Exhibition. A platform which supports emerging Middle Eastern artists.
The concept of transition really resonated with me. As a second generation immigrant, I moved to England when I was 7 years old, and really struggled to ‘fit in’. Although being half English and attending a British school, I connected more with my Middle Eastern heritage. The transition from being raised in the Middle East, and moving to a western society, was an incredibly challenging time. This made me reflect on positive childhood memories that I still hold onto from my upbringing and I wanted to highlight that visually in my work.
When Reconnecting Arts announced its theme, the refugee crisis was at its peak (the biggest humanitarian crisis since world war II!). I felt I had to create something that reflected my positive memories of the Middle East, and not the current image portrayed in the media. While also raising awareness for the lives lost, and the lives currently in danger as refugees try to break away from their war torn homes. Refugees who are also trying to make a transition of their own, into a ‘normal life’.
The name Pillow Talk originated from a play on words – Creating a series of cushions which sparked a conversation. I used expressive Arabic letter forms, to create a lively and dynamic aesthetic, while using bright colours that are not traditionally used in Arabic art, as a reference to the transition from traditional boundaries to modern values.
As a designer, I feel a moral duty to produce work with a purpose, and to create social impact. It should be an integral part of what we do as designers. We have the power to create change and to influence or support others. All my previous work has subconsciously taken this into account, and now more than ever, I am ensuring that it is a conscious decision within my creative work.
The Pillow Talk Cause is aiming to raise funds for Human Care Syria (a registered charity). You can follow Saliah’s cause via @pillowtalkcause across social media platforms and via the pillowtalk website.
– Written by Saliah Bryan