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The Passerby Exhibition – Sana Khan – A suitably eerie exhibition to visit this Samhain

October 21, 2013

ArtsPhotography | by Maxine Kirsty Sapsford

Sana Khan with her work - Upholder of Delusions
Sana Khan with her work – Upholder of Delusions

If your looking for something suitably eerie and dark to see as halloween draws in then look no further than Stour Space in Tower Hamlets. This expansive gallery space is currently home to the hauntingly surreal work of Sana Khan, artist photographer whos creations depict fantastical scenes that would seem out of place anywhere except your wildest dreams and nightmares.


Inspired and fascinated by fleeting moments of time which she attempts to capture through the lens of her camera and cleverly staged set design, Sana Khan’s photographic compositions best display her desperate attempts at struggling to attain comfort between the oscillating realms of moments of pure bliss to periods of deep isolation. 

Existing as a contemplative passerby entranced between these parallel universes, it is this grappling with the ephemeral nature of life which fuels her dark and mysterious interpretations, while simultaneously providing a playful and idiosyncratic glimpse into the mind of a spectator who wishes they could experience it all! While holding on ever so tightly to her precious observations, she carefully takes the time to construct an atmosphere which perfectly complements her inward visions. Combining this with characters of all shapes and sizes, intrinsic animalistic elements (both dead and alive) and her photographic talent, she allusively illustrates a scene which allures and entices casual observers to re-evaluate life’s possibilities.


Dialogue with a man, Sana Khan
Dialogue with a Man, Sana Khan, 20×30 inch, C-Type Archival Print

I went to meet Sana at the gallery and gaze through these shadowy windows into parallel worlds. One piece ‘Dialogue with a man’ uses a real human head, only Sana Khan could pull off such a feet. I asked her how she got the head and she told me it was a long process that involved working in a morgue for three months until she was trusted enough to ask, then the image had to be shot in the morgue in a makeshift studio setup. “People will let you do anything if you drink enough tea with them” she tells me grinning, “I drank a lot of tea during those three months.”


Sana, originally from Pakistan, travels across the globe to get her hands on what she desires to photograph, whether it’s the head of a dead corpse or a live rhino; which she tells me can be a bit of a headache to work with. I can imagine. But despite the need to set up her portable studio anywhere, a morgue say or a zoo, Sana’s photographs appear meticulously planned and every detail looks artistically placed. Her artistic handling of the medium brings a unique and surreal quality to each picture and you too will find yourself sucked into the bizarre and eccentric worlds that lay in wait in Sana’s photographs.


The Passerby runs until 4th November, 9am-5pm daily at Stour Space Gallery, 7 Roach Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3 2PA. For more information go to – http://www.stourspace.co.uk/portfolio/october-2013/

For more information on the artist Sana Khan go to –  www.sammykhan.com

Words Kirsty Sapsford, Arts Editor

Until the Quiet Comes, Sana Khan
Until the Quiet Comes, Sana Khan, 30×40 inch, Giclee Print on Canvas