"Shaheen's practise looks at the globe as a refuge for the destitute and downtrodden.
By reworking the globe, Shaheen metaphorically creates paper tent like spaces for global displacement. At the core of her work is the ten-pointed geometric pattern – this has a significance and resonance for her on many levels. The pattern is used extensively in the Alhambra Palace in Spain. In essence it symbolises the coexistence of cultures and perspectives that on the face of it were regarded as diametrically opposed. It, and the culture it emanated from, entered Europe from Africa and lived harmoniously in Europe for many centuries until a violent expulsion and eradication. Despite these attempts at its eradication it survived and graces the palace today - a lasting testimony to the organic process of cultural exchange. A process that has its own life and constancy such that no amount of human endeavor can subdue or erase it.
Shaheen uses 3D techniques and imagery extensively in this work - the world is three-dimensional as are the people that inhabit it. To suggest otherwise leads to the injustices of reductionism that have been clear to see in the conflicts of the past and the present. By accepting the complexities and contours of the human condition and by extension the bordered communities we live in we can start to address them. By insisting on reducing others and ourselves to one-dimensional entities – we simply perpetuate the non-sensical and the preposterous.
We can instead choose to accept perspectives that may be alien and give them a validity that fosters understanding, acceptance and harmonious co-existence. Her sculptures using the ten shaped star visualize a world in which this happens – a world in which difference and dimensions are not flattened out and erased but stand firm and tall, shoulder to shoulder with other equally valid differences and dimensions.
Living in and amongst inner city communities that are reflective of all the above, Shaheen is able to see all these dimensions play out in the lives of people around her - who are negotiating, exchanging, bartering these - people who are cartographers in their own right and shaping the map of co-existence transcending the differences that shape and colour them.
These contributions, like those of the cartographers before them, instill hope…"