Camilla Dilshat is a sculpture/installation artist of Uyghur ethnicity born and based in London (b.1998). She is currently a student on the MA Fine Art course at City & Guilds of London Art School and has a studio in Brixton.
Camilla’s practice emerges from personal diasporic experiences and political contexts that speak of a never-ending fluctuation between comfort and discomfort. There is a complexity of being and feeling Uyghur that manifests itself as an uncomfortable itching beneath the skin and a struggle to ground the body as a second-generation immigrant. Disconnection to traditional culture, monolingualism, and collective trauma are acknowledged, and surreal sculptural creations narrate a desire to seek counteractive comforts. Consuming endless amounts of dough, bread and being stuffed with noodles, forms a core to this narrative. Her tongue and body are warmly filled and weighed down with traditional cooking. She follows that long slippery noodle that grounds her body to her Uyghur-ness.
Ritual repetitiveness, like in the labour of cooking, manifests itself in Camilla’s practice: carding and hand spinning wool, hand-preparing paper pulp and kneading clay. Even the dust of talc in prepping latex and of plaster is reminiscent of flour. The labour of the hand is a comfort, a therapeutic task, meditative and a form of connection to heritage. Rolling, kneading, and stirring, although simple muscle memory, are filled with knowledge and feeling that Camilla wants to immerse herself in. The experiences of the body are listened to, and the limbs, hands, and stomach lead her towards a sense of place and grounding.
The comfort of personal nostalgia is pulled upon and stretched, reflecting her and her mother’s memories. Her connection to her mother is important as she is one who cooks warming traditional food and tells oral stories over the table. The qapaq (known as the calabash or bottle gourd) is an overlapping nostalgic symbol – both being no stranger to the presence of decorative dried gourds displayed in homes. As a result, the qapaq has become to act as an obsessive symbol in Camilla’s work, representing the questioning of home and place. Acting as a body and a shelter, the gourd communicates fullness and warmth as the comforting visceral experience that she is chasing while the discomfort of distance, politics and cultural genocide linger in the background.
MA Fine Art, City & Guilds of London Art School, 2021-2023
Advanced Course in Fine Art, Hampstead School of Art, 2020-2021
BA History, UCL, 2017-2020
"Anonyme Zeichner", Galerie Im Körnerpark, 18 June - 24 Aug 2022
"Meet Me Halfway", The Art Pavilion Mile End, June 2022
"MA Fine Art Interim Show", City & Guilds of London Art School, March 2022
"Full-time Student Final Exhibition", Hampstead School of Art, June 2021
“Full-time Student Interim Exhibition”, Hampstead School of Art, May 2021
“They Came Before Us: Can't Be What You Can't See”, Collage Arts, Collaborative Visual Artist, Shoreditch & Wood Green, Nov 2019
Research Volunteer, National Portrait Gallery, People Powered, 2022-ongoing
Part-time TA/Teacher, Hampstead School of Art, 2021-2022
Alumni Committee Member, The Creative Dimension, 2020-ongoing