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Literary Synesthesia translates famous literary works into abstract visual representations, capturing the experience of each book/poem.

With backgrounds in English literature, art history, and psychology, I'm a firm believer that all human modes of communication are ultimately linked, whether visual, written, or oral. Being a member of a multi-cultural background (Indian Muslim American, with parents from Tanzania and London) has only increased this awareness and the conviction that no mode of communication is "better" or "worse" than any other mode. 

My Literary Synesthesia project aims to take classic, important works of Western literature, things that may be seen as "high" culture or somehow inaccessible or difficult to understand, and essentially translate them into a more primal, visual form that even non-Western cultures might connect with and explore. I don't believe I'm creating a new element of the written work; rather, I'm simply working as a moderator between the verbal and visual worlds. My aim is to capture the experience, affective and perhaps even physical, that these great authors have contributed to world culture. The canvases will be 24"x48", lengthwise, because I'd like the viewer to "read" the image and canvas as they may have read the English words, from left to right.

Because I am currently an unemployed artist living with her parents, your funding will not only help me purchase my canvases and paints, but also give me the opportunity to rent some much needed studio space. Right now, I'm using garbage bags as my studio floor and a 2'x5' area in my bedroom as my studio, a space that barely holds the large canvases I want to use for this project. 

As of now, I have created two "sampler" pieces from the series, one of them--Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. On my To Do list are the following authors:

  • Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
  • Lord Byron's "Kubla Khan"
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
  • Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
  • William Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey"

(This list will be added to as funding allows.)

Thanks so much for reading/considering my idea. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email. (I'll be excited to hear from you.)

P.S. Here are a couple sample photos. (If you haven't read the books, try Wikipedia-ing or Spark Notes before looking at my paintings. If you have the time, try reading the books before looking at my paintings.)

Kate Chopin: The Awakening
Kate Chopin: The Awakening
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein

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    In addition to my lifelong gratitude, I'll send you a hand-written thank you postcard showcasing any one of Penguin's classic book covers.

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    In addition to my lifelong gratitude and a hand-written thank you postcard, you'll receive a 5"x7" photo print of a Literary Synesthesia painting of your choice.

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    In addition to my lifelong gratitude, a hand-written thank you postcard, and a 5"x7' photo print of a Literary Synesthesia painting of your choice, you'll receive a poster print of any Literary Synesthesia painting you choose.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    In addition to my lifelong gratitude, a hand-written thank you postcard, a 5"x7" photo print of a Literary Synesthesia painting of your choice, and a poster print of any Literary Synesthesia painting, you'll receive any original [available] painting from the series. It's yours, because you are awesome.

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- (21 days)