This week we welcome Saks Afridi, a Pakistani-born, NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist. His work exists in a genre he terms “Sci-Fi Sufism,” which is about discovering galaxies and worlds within yourself. Afridi visualizes this search by fusing mysticism and storytelling. He makes art objects in multiple mediums, drawing inspiration from Sufi poetry, Afrofuturism, South Asian folklore, Islamic mythology, science fiction, architecture and calligraphy.
Afridi often collaborates with architects, artisans, fashion designers, 3D modelers and fabricators to bring his work to life. This impulse is driven in part by working in advertising as a creative director on brands such as Mercedes-Benz and White Castle. He studied advertising at the Academy of Art, San Francisco, and later sculpture at the Art Students League of New York. His awards and honors include a Cannes Lion Awards, D&AD Pencils, and a United Nations Award for Peace & Understanding.
Afridi’s art is futuristic while taking inspiration from ancient South Asian & Middle Eastern culture. On a deeper level, his practice also investigates the predicaments and perplexities of the life of an “Insider Outsider.” He defines this as the practice of achieving a sense of belonging while being out of place, finding happiness in a state of temporary permanence, and re-contextualizing existing historical and cultural narratives with the contemporary.
His recent series Woven Portals is made up of 100 artworks that blend spaceship navigation interfaces with the infinite geometry of Persian rugs. The artworks are also sprinkled with engineering schematics mixed with Arabic and Urdu calligraphy.
See more of Afridi’s work on his website and Instagram page.