Ayan Farah was born in Sharjah to Somali parents and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. She studied fine arts at Central St. Martins and painting at the Royal College of Art, London, receiving her MA in 2012. Farah’s work records the physical and ephemeral traces of distant geographical locations, treating swatches of fabric with natural pigments and organic materials sourced from around the world before stitching them together and stretching them as one piece.
Drawing upon historic modes of fabric production such as Bogolanfini mud-cloth making, recent work has incorporated mud from the Dead Sea, terracotta from Mexico and clay from Sweden. Her practice reveals the underlying significance of the Somali Diaspora within her family history by demonstrating how transit and mobility continue to have a psychic, as well as material impact upon her mode of working. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the David Roberts Art Foundation, London and Saatchi Gallery, London.