Ayan Farah's often large paintings are soaked, painted or dyed with natural pigments, mud, ash, clays and plant dyes. Made of antique linen and jute, these works start as one large solid work, the off-cuts later becoming the patchworked pieces of Farah‘s future paintings. Sometimes these historic fabrics have endured so much wear and tear due to their nature as domestic linen, their only use is as part of a patchwork painting. All materials in her studio are reclaimed and saved for later, often re-dyed, re-stitched to form new works. Her studio practice functions within a cycle of material production and reclamation. Informed by the history of landscape and land art in formal and material sense respectively, these works are formed by the place the pigments are sourced and it's geology. Often reflecting on personal history, the geographical location of the source material and the place of production are key. Socio-cultural concepts and geological properties as well as the aspect of mobility as part of the production process drives from Farah's own biography.
Born in 1978 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, to Somali parents, Ayan Farah grew up in Sweden and lived for many years in London, where she studied painting at the Royal College of Art. Today she lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Ayan Farah's works are in institutional collections such as Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, the Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Klein Collection, the David Roberts Art Foundation, London, Public Art Agency Sweden and the Kadist Foundation, Paris. Recently she has exhibited at the Klein Collection in Germany, "The London open" at the Whitechapel Gallery, "In the Eyes of the Beholder" at the Tarble Arts Centre, Charleston, USA and "Textile Abstraction" Casas Riegner, curated by Jens Hoffman. In 2021 she was awarded with the Black Rock Senegal artist residency.