Sevda Uykan’s bold, vividly coloured artworks reflect her cosmopolitan background
‘For me, art is about freedom and power. It should have no restrictions; that’s why I enjoy confronting fears and expectations in my paintings.’ Born into a Serbian family living in Istanbul, Sevda Uykan grew up juggling two diverse cultures, one liberal and one conservative, and that background has profoundly influenced her work.
‘Inevitably, I faced the dilemma that what was culturally acceptable in my family was often not so in wider Turkish society. I suppose that made me something of a rebellious child and my painting, which primarily focuses on the experience of women, reflects a desire to challenge commonly held perceptions.’
Sevda moved to London four years ago and is settled in Grove Park. Having originally taken a Chemistry degree and then worked in business consultancy, she changed tack and studied Figurative Art and Sculpture. ‘My passion for art comes from my father, who was a designer, and he taught me to draw and paint. Usually, I use acrylic on canvas, often adding pieces of embroidery; I learned that from my mother and it’s lovely to combine skills passed down by both my parents.’
During lockdown one of Sevda’s paintings won a virtual competition organised by the Saatchi Gallery (Saatchi Takeover) and this autumn she will be participating in a prestigious exhibition at the Brick Lane Gallery. ‘My work has been described as edgy and assertive. I like that: if we don’t dare to ask questions, then that is the point where control and limitations start.’
Sevda’s artwork can be viewed on her website and Instagram page and she is happy to arrange a ‘physical’ viewing by appointment.