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interview 3: Sarah Khanum Maple, artist & activist, UK

Q: Can you describe your work in terms that

a 4 year old can understand, please?


A: With influences as diverse as Munch and

Buckminster Fuller, new insights are

generated from both explicit and implicit

meanings. Ever since I was a child I have

been fascinated by the essential unreality of

the moment. What starts out as triumph soon

becomes finessed into a tragedy of t

emptation, leaving only a sense of dread

and the prospect of a new beginning.


ONLY JOKING! I got that from an art statement generator website!


Q: What is your favourite pastry?

A: Without doubt a chocolate twist from Costa. Best – Pastry – Ever.


Q: I am from a Muslin family too, how does your heritage influence your work?

A: It influences pretty much every decision I make in my work. Probably because who I am now is how I’ve been brought up, which was with big religious influences. I think it helps me see the world in a different way, especially when it comes to identity issues. I don’t think I’d be doing this if I wasn’t a Muslim.  


Q: Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

A: I have many inspirations, most of them women! One of my favourites is Angela Davis, one of the biggest icons of the feminist movement, she had to represent herself in court in the seventies and won! An incredible women, check her out!



Q: Who is you favourite Disney princess and which Disney princess do you think is the strongest (in emotion or in physical strength) ? Are there any princesses (don't have to be Disney, can be real people too) that are powerful feminist icons?

A: Well I actually focused on the 'main' Disney Princesses for this series which was in 2011 so I am sure the ones that have come out since then are much more interesting! And in my work I was kind of focusing on

how even though they bring out new Princesses, they still market the old ones as if they were relevant now so maybe this is interesting also for young girls to see how women's roles have changed over the years. I think from my series Belle has to be my favourite as she's booky and everyone thinks she's weird. I think she was probably the first in the Disney franchise when they started to modernise the Princesses in some way! Interesting question about real Princesses....I don't know any who I would say are powerful feminist icons.I may just not know of them. The princesses in our Royal family are not allowed to express political opinions and that is something I can't support! I thought it was sad that Megan Markle had to delete her personal social media accounts when she became a Royal, like she wasn't allowed to be her anymore. 


Q: Why are you an artist?

A: Good question, I often ask myself that haha! Apart from loving art and loving the impact it can have, it allows me to be political and make sense of the world and say the things I feel need to be said. I know it sounds cheesy but I still think art can change the world!


Q: What is your best piece of work?

A: I think definitely my big painting ‘Menstruate with Pride’, because of the message it puts across, the impact it has and how long it took for me to produce! I also like how uncomfortable it makes people. My Mum said ‘It would be great without the period stain’ haha!


Q: What can we children do (one thing) that will make the world substantially better for us when we are adults and for our children if we have them?

A: I think keep questioning everything around you. I think when I was a kid I didn't tend to do that, I wish I'd started earlier!

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