Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Spotlight On: Sa’adiah Soul Arts

Spotlight on an artist I know in actual physical space, and have met! Sa’adiah Khan is very focused on what she can do with her art, and on helping people with it, far more than I can manage with fine art.
A woman in front of a large scale painting that looks like butterfly wings
For the public: Where did we meet?
Cambridge Art Salon, Cromwell Road!

The Cambridge Art Salon is a collective of artists and studio spaces. There are no entry tests, and no judgement on what sort of art you do. It’s got hat-makers, illustrators, stained glass artists… The original building was sold, so meeting there would have been least two years ago, closer to four.

So, in that time I’ve been doing Fine Art. What art do you do & why?
I’m very interested in art as a therapy, so I have my own practice based on trying out my therapeutic ideas on myself (currently very abstract), then on others during workshops. I call myself a conceptual randomist because I like to stay open to whatever way I might want to express my next idea..so it could be on clothes, furniture, a painting or sculpture.
I also do community arts, like The Mill Road mural, Map project & The women’s room….

Ahah. The mural. Tell us about it?
Errm… the Mill Road mural… it’s the largest public art work in Cambridge, I worked with a group of 7 other artists to run community art workshops in that local area to collect ideas and images based on their feelings of Mill road, what they love about it, what they’d like to see there as they go by, and so on. Then we invited the public to come along and help us paint it! I have a new one coming up at the start of the new year which I’ll be co-ordinating and working with my twin (who is also an artist) and local awesome art man Dan Biggs, so look out for that.

And you’ve just brought out an adult colouring book. What drew you to that in particular?
A colouring book, shown open and closed, on a burgundy background
I was asked a couple of years ago by a few people that follow my art on facebook about colouring techniques and if I’d make black and white drawings like my doodles for them to colour. I didn’t do it at that time as I was in a space of working directly with colour without pre-plnning or drawing, I still do that. Anyhow I kept the request noted in my mind and when an opportunity to join an exhibition suddenly came up earlier this year, I wanted to put up something new, but interactive. So with a very short time (just under 2 weeks) I went through a whole bunch of ideas, then I recalled the request and took a theory I use for workshops, collabra-doodle, and tweaked it to collaborative-colouring. I created giant colouring posters and pasted them all over two changing room cubicles, posted some basic instructions and left art materials for the general public to play with for about a month. It was very popular and I had great feedback, so that led to me slowly creating a set of images for my book.

A month? Wow! … Go on?
I do believe in the potential and ability to heal through art. I see it as very therapeutic (it’s not for everyone), I have a huge interest in psychology & philosophy so saw the colouring books as a way/place I could combine the three things I love that would benefit others. I wanted to create a book that was easy to take around during travelling, pretty but also with some depth. I think it’s very cheap therapy which is also very convenient. You can colour where & when you like.
It gives people time away from screens and the fast paced lives most have now. I’ve had some great feedback where a dad & daughter began colouring one together this weekend.. she’s a teen and usually glued to her phone. But she saw her dad colouring and wanted to join, then they began ‘tag-teaming’ as they put it.

Thanks, Sa’adiah. In awe of your personality, there.

To find out more about Sa’adiah, or to buy her book (which you should, if you like relaxing art-style meditation) see Sa’adiah Soul Arts. Thanks again, Sa’adiah.