My ART | Artist: Anoushka Akel

Artist: Anoushka Akel

Artist: Anoushka Akel

What do you do?

I am a painter, a printmaker, a mother of a 6 year old, and sometimes a teacher.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

I like the idea of being an experimental psychologist, that way I could observe and analyse human behaviour more overtly. And by night a folk singer (for emotional release).

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

My own drawing of Caravagio’s ‘Boy Bitten by a Lizard’; Louise Bourgoise’s ‘Legs’; an upside down print of Cezanne’s ‘Still Life with Apples’; an X-ray of a carp, Etel Adnan’s ‘The Arab Apocalypse’; a collaborative drawing of rooty plants; pastel sketches of the sea; Paul Theks ‘Fishman’….

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

Pinpointing the first artwork that affected me is tough but the first practicing artist that had an impact was Allie Eagle. I was 15 when I learnt life drawing with her at what is now Studio One Toi Tu and in my mind she was bold and radical.  Later, the artwork which had the most memorable physical impact on me was Bruce Nauman’s sound / language work ‘Raw Materials’, which was exhibited at the Tate Modern Turnbine Hall in London. I had a strong psychoacoustic experience from the repetitive and unidirectional voices that in certain moments seem to hit you all at once, an accumulation of waves or sound shadows I guess.

An artist (living or dead) you would like to meet?

In this moment I’d like to meet with Marissa Merz, at her kitchen table in Turin surrounded by her sculptures . I find the way that she integrated her family life with her materially rich and ambitious practice so encouraging.

Who is your ideal studio buddy?

I’ve had such good studio friends over the years and the artists I’m currently sharing with at Samoa House are no exception. Amongst other admirable qualities, they’re clever, warm, and share my taste in music.

What are you listening to?

Before we got shut out of the studios it seemed like we had Caroline Polachek on repeat.

What’s next?

Up next is ‘Wet Contact’, a solo show of recent work in the downstairs space at Michael Lett Gallery.

Share a recipe or secret from your lockdown kitchen?

The most (cardiac) arresting thing I’ve cooked in lockdown is called a Dutch Baby. It’s a large, sweet Yorkshire puddingesque pancake that swells out of the pan. I followed the New York Times recipe but there are others without the killer butter.

September 2021

Anoushka Akel is represented by Michael Lett, Auckland.

Image: Andrew McLeod