Artist Exclusive: Our City In Film

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All the artwork on display at the Summer of Smiles festival is unique from the others on display at TheSprout’s tent, but Faaris Ahmad has taken on the challenge of expressing how he sees Cardiff in video form. 

What inspired your artwork? 

“It wasn’t necessarily a lightbulb moment. This is a culmination of my experiences growing up in Cardiff, and my background has helped me with my work.” 

“I have had so many positive experiences in Cardiff, as a young person. It is a diverse, inclusive and friendly city. As an Asian person, I have noticed that everyone is supportive of you regardless of where you come from, so it is comforting to know that there is a support structure around you in this wonderful city.” 

“So, when I was making this project, this is what I wanted to exhibit more than anything. Hence the colour and vibrancy of my video.” 

Faris expressed his own relationship with Cardiff; having discovered where he fits in in the city, he continues to love life in the place where he spent most of his time growing up. 

“I moved here from London when I was two, and since being here I have gone to different festivals and viewed the different cultures here. I have also seen events like the Pride March and some of my friends attended it. To see how inclusive the whole city is, compared to other cities I have been to as well, makes Cardiff stand out”.

How did your masterpiece come together? 

This creative 14-year-old has taken an unorthodox method to express himself. In the Information Age, video editing skills and experiences with professional equipment (like video cameras and microphones) are still very advanced in 2021. 

“Firstly, I made a storyboard of different shots in my collection that reflected what I wanted to display about Cardiff. Once I had it all in my mind, I went to some iconic locations in Cardiff such as the Wales Millennium Centre and Roath Park Lighthouse.” 

“I also filmed all the activities in and around Cardiff, for instance there is Cardiff Bay Beach and go-karting for fun. To exhibit the inclusive part of Cardiff, which I want to emphasise, I have been to churches, mosques and temples.” 

“Eventually, I found an instrumental track to go with it and I added a search bar animation at the start, for which I had to learn how to use a new special effects programme.” 

Modest, as ever, Faaris told us he hoped his work had turned out okay in the short turnaround between starting his masterpiece and the start of the exhibition. 

How does this work impact your future? 

Faaris’ developing passion and talent for filmmaking is a testament to his bright future. Being the eloquent speaker he is, it comes as no surprise that this young man aspires to forge an exciting career in the film industry. 

“In the future, I would love to be a filmmaker. It’s what makes me happy, and I can’t picture myself doing anything else right now.” 

“The thing I really love about art and being creative is a versatility that comes with it and being able to use your imagination.” 

“With art, you can start to influence change and make a real impact on society. One day, I hope my work will be able to make a difference. But I don’t want to miss out on any of the journey, instead I’m taking it one step at a time and trying to see where it takes me.” 

Why choose to make a video? 

Every piece of art can be designed to be as impactful as the next, because they can all be used to reflect and influence various things. For example, a drawing could exquisitely craft a political statement, and maybe a photograph can teach us to capture the stillness of a moment, and have it in our pocket for future memories. 

“With me, there is no extravagant answer to this question. I have grown up watching films and they have shaped my outlook on life. I just love them.” 

“So many people watch films, too. It offers such a big platform to make a statement, so I would advise anyone who is interested to learn a certain software and take it up in your spare time because it makes such a difference.” 

“Being able to tell a story over a period of time seemed appealing to me a well.” 

Yes, we are speaking to an award winner!

Faaris is an award winner with local theatre company: Theatr Iolo. Before even starting his GCSEs, this young man is already making instrumental change within his community by using his talent as a force for good. 

To give you an idea of the type of person Faaris is, he looked directly at the other artists wondering who the award winner was before remembering it was himself. When he had remembered he had won the award, he told us more about it. 

“I entered a script for another film I had made, which was called Two Worlds, One Meal. It was a film about two different sets of siblings, where one of the families were quite poor and the other was pretty wealthy.” 

This film has a contemporary relevance to it, as Faris explains he thought of this script with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. 

“The poorer set of siblings lost their parents to Covid, while the wealthier siblings were costing up the price of a holiday. I wanted to distinguish the similarities and differences between them.” 

It is quite apt, then, that the pandemic threw a spanner into the works with the production of the play that was meant to have arisen as a result of Faaris’ winning script. 

“The play couldn’t happen, because of Covid, so it got turned into a Spotify Podcast instead for anyone and everyone to listen to. It was still a fantastic experience overall, though, and I enjoyed it.” 

“I always try to incorporate a social message in my work, to try to bring everyone together. I don’t know if my work actually does that, but it is certainly the intention every time I set out to pull something together.” 

Faaris was ecstatic to learn that his most recent work will be on display for everyone to see at Summer of Smiles and that his work has been recognised by lots of important figures in Cardiff. 

“It is surreal to think that I started making films when I was eight years old. If somebody, then, had told me that I would be commissioned to make a film for TheSprout, to be shown to everyone in Cardiff, I wouldn’t have believed you.” 

“It motivates me to know that so many different people are going to be affected by my work, and I can’t wait to see all the other pieces of art during exhibition week.” 

Related Information

If you’re interested to see more of the commissioned pieces at the Summer of Smiles, check out Rosie’s artwork merging the old and new in Cardiff, inspired by Cardiff Castle.

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