‘Feeling Feelings Makes Me, Me’ by Nadirah Zakariya is a well-worn open diary; a heart on a fluffy pink gingham sleeve, and an adorned love letter to anyone who can relate.
Speaking to Nadirah about this show, with the title of it already fully-formed in her mind, we discovered collectively that allowing herself to be the vulnerable vessel to her ‘feelings’ is what ultimately fuels her creativity.
Nadirah describes it quite simply;’ “I process my feelings through photography. It allows me to feel what I need to feel and so the output, although intuitive and organic, is reflective of the process of me trying to figure out or work through what I’m feeling.”
She adds that the majority of her work is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and learning to embrace herself for who she truly is, blemishes and all. For instance, Nadirah has been open about her day-to-day struggle of having to reconcile with her Vitiligo and actively chooses to explore it through her craft.
And so with this aspiration to better self-acceptance through her work, comes different phases of self enlightenment; ‘‘I shoot to see and understand myself better as I move through life. To me, doing this is like breathing; If I don’t carve out this space to explore and subsequently express myself, I don’t think I could go on living as me.”
Nadirah’s works naturally speak to us in signs and gestures; feelings that we (and even she, herself) find hard to put down in words. Is it wistfulness? Is it passion? Is it longing? Or is it simply the underrated feeling of being content? As vibrant colours are dappled against gentler hues, and the careful composition of light as it embraces the selection of delicate subjects; It is evident that this is not about creating illusions or distorted tales of fallacy.
Nadirah has decided to share herself unadulterated and unjudged.
Honest and sincere.
Born in 1984 and raised in Malaysia, Nadirah Zakariya draws inspiration for her work through her non-specific geographical upbringing. Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Nadirah received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.
Nadirah is an internationally published photographer with works in numerous publications such as The New York Times Magazine, VICE, Dazed and Confused, Refinery29, W Korea and Vogue Italia. She is currently featured in Flora Photographica, a book published by Thames & Hudson in 2022.
Nadirah’s works have been exhibited in cities including New York, London, Milan, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.