INTERVIEW: Zarin Cenna Talks About Art, Identity and Dreaming Big

Recently I spent a beautiful spring morning getting to know local artist Zarin Cenna aka 'Cenna Ink'. I first saw her work in the Creative Village Newcastle Store, and was really drawn to the intricacy and movement in her work. When she agreed to come and model some of our clothes and answer a few questions I was thrilled, and was blown away to hear about her creative process and her incredible ambitions.

CHINCHEN_ST: Tell us about yourself and your would you describe your style?

ZARIN CENNA: My art is very much inspired by my culture, heritage and the nature/world around me. Over time I’ve refined my style so that it is almost a reflection of the way I choose to interpret the world. My art is a personal and emotional experience that flows with the motions I go through in day to day life. I can use it to capture feelings, markers in time and emotions, not just for myself, but also for those who I create for.
I work sporadically, so when I feel the creative itch (haha) I know it’s time in that moment for me to create. My concept and drive behind my art is that I want my art to be on things, not just on walls. I want it to be able to enhance every day experiences by being put on candid everyday objects and spaces.  

CS: What have you been working on recently? 
ZC: Recently I’ve been working on a lot of what I guess you could call “upcycled” skateboard art. I’ve been taking old skateboard decks which people have used til they’ve had to move on and have been happy to give away. What I do is keep the original artwork on the board as well as the effect of the wearing and scraping from the use of the board, and hand paint over the entire board in flowing patterns (the one featured in the pictures is one of them!)

CS: Tell us a little bit about your faith and culture...has this influenced your work?

ZC: My parents moved to Sydney from Bangladesh a few years before I was born, and we are of Islamic faith.
I was brought up quite culturally traditionally, and while at times I struggled with my identity trying to balance the two cultures, throughout the recent few years in I’ve found a way to take the best parts of my heritage and the best parts of the place I live in and call home to create a world for myself that looks beautiful, and which I strongly communicate through my art. You can see the influence of my Bengali and Islamic heritage in the intricacy off floral patterns and organic progression of the shapes and how they meld together to create something that makes you need to look at more to take it all in.

CS: What is your aim for the near future? With your art and your personal journey?

ZC: I actually have really big dreams and plans for the future that get me so excited (ALWAYS DREAM BIG) now that I’m nearing the end of studying Speech Pathology at University.
I want always be creating and sharing my art with anyone and everyone, but I want to incorporate my two passions; art and the power of communication. I want to work with mainly children and youths, in the area of speech/language pathology but by taking a creative approach. I have found even through the art therapy based things I’ve done so far with kids around Newcastle, that art and creativity can help many to communicate in a way they may not be able to, or feel comfortable to in just words. I want to bring this concept to life. 

Model & Artwork Pictured by Zarin Cenna for Cenna Ink
Photography & Blog by Bonnie Lee Tipper for Chinchen St

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