Omar Badrin is an interdisciplinary artist born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His work stems from his upbringing in Newfoundland and focuses on the construction and representation of cultural identity. He received his MFA at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2015, where he was awarded a graduate medal for his work in the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art Media and Design program. Since graduating, he has also received project and travel grants from the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. His solo exhibition Extra Baggage is on display at Artspace in Peterborough until February 17.
I identify as a Newfoundlander. Newfoundland is the province where I was raised, and I’m quite familiar with the landscape, having spent numerous summer vacations as a child getting to know the island’s different out ports. The province heavily influences my studio practice, from the use of materials to the medium of crochet I employ today. Growing up as a visual minority there made Newfoundland a source both of torment and joy. I think these feelings will always be with me. Even though I’ve been living away for over a decade, I still call it home.
2. Construction sites/materials
There was a period before I pursued my MFA in which I didn’t produce art. During this time, I worked as a labourer in construction and developed a fondness for industrial materials. I’ve been incorporating some of these materials into my studio practice and find satisfaction in trying to manipulate them in different ways.
There’s nothing I find more relaxing than beachcombing. I’m always amazed at what I find and what has been washed up. It reminds me of the force of nature and the often-harsh Newfoundland climate.
I’m drawn to sneaker culture. I wouldn’t consider myself a sneakerhead, but I do appreciate retro sneakers and will admit to having a number of retro and vintage Air Jordans. It reminds me of my childhood, when my mom could only afford to buy me one pair of sneakers for the school year. The sneaker market was just on the rise and wasn’t as saturated as it is today.
5. Krispy Kreme
It’s an indulgence of mine. I often binge eat a dozen in a day and a half. It’s pretty disgusting to watch. My dream is to be sponsored by Krispy Kreme.
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