Interview: Iraqi-born, Glasgow-based artist Sukaina Kubba discusses her Pavor Nocturnus show

The show, whose title translates as 'night terrors' in Latin, explores femininity and sexuality

The proper Latin translation of the show title is ‘night terrors’, and one might express a level of disquiet when noting the accompanying stills of the work to be found online, which contain glistening pink, phallus-like objects. She doesn’t make the overt link herself, but in much of Sukaina Kubba’s work there appears to be at once a femininity and a thrusting sexuality at work. Another work here appears to feature a pair of pink tights pulled across a shaped casing with a perfectly formed hole ripped in them, while her Glasgow School of Art degree show project last year was entitled ‘La Femme Sombra’ (‘The Female Shadow’) and featured a sub-section entitled ‘Sirens’, which also used tights as a material.

Kubba describes her work as simply painting. ‘I’m working with a variety of unconventional materials in terms of surface and paint,’ she says, ‘such as latex, PVC, polyester, silk and tights, as well as applying varnishes, bleach, and various water-based media. I’ll also exhibit some rubber and resin-cast objects. By framing these stretched fabrics and textiles – themselves loaded with their own significance – within the context of painting, I’m trying to explore the flipping of perception between the material and perspectival.’

Born in Baghdad, Kubba left Iraq when she was young and lived and worked as an architect in the United Arab Emirates and Canada before moving to Scotland to attend Glasgow School of Art two years ago. ‘If there were an influence the varied background affords me, it would be an awareness of the artificiality and malleability of notions such as identity and culture,’ she says, ‘although I’ve only recently started to link my architecture background with my painting practice, in terms of my continued interest in representation, depth and perception.’

Kendall Koppe, Glasgow, Sat 28 Sep–Sat 9 Nov.

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