A Merrie moment with Ranya

To kickstart the New Year, we’ve decided to run a collective Q&A so you can get to know the people behind Merrie Studios a little better.

This time it's textile artist, Ranya Abdulateef's turn in the spotlight...

1. Why did you join the collective?

When COVID first began, I was just starting to be in the midst of making strong connections and sharing my skills and hard work with others. Once the first lockdown started, it was weird to not be getting up early every morning and running to my workshop that used to be filled with lots of different people. It was strange that every day became the same as the other, especially with my health condition which had started to get worse. When Emily (Ryalls) mentioned the ‘Our Diary Project’ to me, I started to get excited once again – ready for something new and creating photography that documents parts of life that haven’t yet been shared. It was a chance to get myself back being busy and away from the difficult times that I have been through.

2. Who is your favourite artist at the minute?

I always adore Ellie Saab and Liberty London’s fabric work. It’s close to my textile practice’s thoughts and ideas, and my biggest goal to work with them someday. By taking inspiration from them, I hope that with hard work, success will be rewarded, and I’ll be able to be in a place to be approaching work with big names like these in the future.

3. Where do you find your inspiration?

In both textiles and photography, my main inspiration is nature. The colours, weather, and the fields that I see while travelling, exudes peaceful and happy vibes – which not only inspire me, but make me feel the positive energy of life. Also, I find architecture to be a big inspiration too, especially that in Wakefield.

4. What are you most excited to work on next?

As a member of the collective, I’m so excited for our upcoming projects that we’ll be starting soon, and to work with TMC during the summer of 2021. In other aspects of my work life, I’m looking forward to starting new commissions, as well as my job in Leeds, as a textile producer with Mafwa Theatre. I’m thrilled to bring to life my first project honouring the refuse collectors in the Wakefield district too. It sounds like a lot of pressure, but I believe it will be worth all the hard work and the time that is put into it.

5. What does being from the Merrie City mean to you?

By seeing all the good opportunities that are in the big cities, being part of The Merrie Collective’s city makes me feel that nothing is impossible and we can create opportunities without going to these ‘creative hotspots’ – staying close to our home and friends. It may sometimes be hard and difficult, but with community encouragement and our connection as a collective, I feel we have the opportunity to make the impossible, possible.

6. What would you like to see happen in Wakefield's art scene?

We need to create art network connections between the big cities and Wakefield artists, not only to gain outreach for Wakefield, but show the opportunities available without travelling far from home.

7. What's your biggest creative achievement yet?

Being a part of The Merrie Collective and an artist at The Arthouse, are my biggest achievements!

8. Describe ‘The Merrie Collective’ in one word…

Supportive. Being with them makes me feel like I’m with my family, not work colleagues or anything too formal. We have mostly been meeting online, but I can’t wait to be celebrating the joy of our successes out together soon, away from Thursday evenings on zoom.

You can follow Ranya on Instagram @rumanh94, if you’ve enjoyed her Q&A.

Keep an eye out for the next instalment…


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