Painter Farida Hughes captures the temporary intimacies of people mingling and moving through space, by way of vivid, fluid, aerial-view abstractions.
December 16, 2016

Farida Hughes, Urban Groove, resin paint and mixed media on wood panel, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

This is the eighth in a sponsored series of articles featuring member artists of Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, a non-profit arts organization that works to build a more vibrant, diverse and economically healthy community through the arts.

There are no hard lines in Farida Hughes’ paintings, no rigid angles or fixed grids. Her abstract forms appear as vivid, loosely bound cells – some are conjoined, others just barely touching, many of them clustered in groups; a few are left to stand alone. There’s a sense of movement in her works, of imminent but capricious flux between, among, and around the constituent elements.  She says, “I’ve always been fascinated by flocking birds, butterflies, schools of fish, crowds of people; I’m interested in watching how they move, particularly as they navigate the edges of the landscape.” In fact, her first paintings were landscapes, she says. “But when I took the horizon line out, it opened the world to me,” she says, “stripped things down to movement in space.” 

“My husband once said, I’m a blend of city girl and farm girl,” Hughes says. She grew up in New Jersey, and she’s comfortable in the confines of urban spaces, but she also lived for many years in rural South Virgina. It was an impoverished area, she remembers, struggling at the time she lived there with a downturn in fortunes: unemployment and steady declines in population with the loss of the tobacco industry. But the residents of that rural town still lived among the remnants of its heyday, surrounded by a bereft built landscape their population could no longer support.  “And you’d still have people moving through these spaces, but differently now that they were no longer in active use,” Hughes says. “Of these buildings, people still visited the church, the club, but you’d have to leave town for practical things, to get to shopping, performances – anything to do with the arts.” She found herself watching how people navigated those barely used byways, how they moved through, but no longer dwelled in, those little-used spaces.

Farida Hughes, Beaches. Oil on linen, 2013.

Farida Hughes, Gathering. Oil on canvas, 2009.

She says she started paying attention to pathways, more generally. Specifically, she noted the attractions and repulsions of spontaneous groupings of people, how they alternately forge ahead alone or mingle together to move about and through shared environments. Her eye is drawn to edges – alleyways, borders, and corners – she says, not for the pathways themselves, but for the wayfinding that happens as living things work, singly and together, to navigate them.

She has a series of paintings that are abstractions of spectators along the edges of parade routes; other works offer aerial views on abstracted congregations of beach-goers, or skaters in a rink. “People never gather themselves in straight lines, you’ll notice,” she says. “Even crowded together, we tend to cluster and self-segregate, constantly realigning ourselves as individuals enter and leave the group.” She describes her work, in her artist statement, as explorations of the “intimacies and relationships created in temporary spaces, either staged or spontaneous, at public areas used for passage, performance, exhibition, protest, and celebration.”


“There’s an energy that manifests when people gather,” Hughes says. And it’s at once political and personal, if not entirely conscious, “how we choose to move through space, individually and together.”


She removes the grids and fixed pathways around which her forms move in the frame – centering the eye’s focus on the collective movement at the heart of the composition as seen from above, following the structural paths that shaped its flow by way of the negative space left behind. “The world doesn’t stop, but rather moves along and off the edges,” she says. “I want my paintings to reflect that; the movement is primary, to me.”

Farida Hughes, Actors and Spectators. Oil on linen, 2014.

Hughes says she’s inspired by the activity of the painting itself, the gestures and materials of the work of making it: “Color is a dominant driving force; I do thumbnail sketches when I have an idea, but it’s when I’m in the studio, actually making the work, that it comes alive,” she says. “I love the luminosity of oil, the fluidity; and then, in 2012 and 2013, I started working with resin, too – pouring color directly into the piece, and then painting with it.”

“There’s an energy that manifests when people gather,” Hughes says. And it’s at once political and personal, if not entirely conscious, “how we choose to move through space, individually and together.” In her paintings, there are no distinct figures, no hard edges of demarcation; her interest in the fragile activity of connection in motion is evidenced by the “mark of the hand among and between the abstract forms, linking them in all kinds of unfettered, unplanned,” but no less significant ways.

Farida Hughes, Wander 5 Square. Oil, mixed media, and resin on board, 2016.

Farida Hughes, White on White 1. Oil, mixed media, and resin on board, 2016.

In an email exchange after our studio visit, Hughes shares some final thoughts. “At the heart of my work are questions: What is it that causes or incites collective group emotion? How is it that groups perform and react as a ‘body’ in a certain way, feel an energy together, and remain comprised of individual parts?” More broadly, she says she’s also thinking about “what social, economic, cultural or traditional forces bind people together across differences?” She says, while her work isn’t expressly political in nature, her background in a “dual ethnic/dual religion household” certainly informs the substance of her concerns – she’s invested in pluralism, committed to the pursuit of tolerance and ways we might better understand one another. “When I paint, I think of myself as observing and recording what I see in how we move together” in an effort to show the nuances of both what we hold in common and our differences.

Farida Hughes. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Related links and information:

See more work by Farida Hughes on her website: You may visit her studio in the California Building by appointment.

Susannah Schouweiler is a critic and arts writer, and Editor of Mn Artists.


This article is commissioned by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association and funded by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Find Farida Hughes’ profile on NEMAA’s website.



I really love would you rather questions funny would you rather questions for kids would you rather questions for couples hard would you rather questions would you rather questions clean would you rather quiz good would you rather questions would you rather questions for guys.



This is the star trek jacket for mens which is available in the amazon online click here store. Go ahead and place your order today.



She has a series of paintings that are abstractions of spectators along the edges of parade routes; other works offer aerial views on abstracted congregations of beach-goers, or skaters in a rink usps tracking
 “People never gather themselves in straight lines.


Posts shared useful information and meaningful life, I'm glad to be reading this article and hope to soon learn the next article. thank you


happy wheels | monkey go happy |  unblocked games


happy new year Felicitaciones de Navidad 2016  Frases de Navidad 2016 thank you so much


<a href="
">Happy New Year 2017 Wallpapers</a>



Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic.  This has really made me think and I hope to read cannabis


Thanks a lot for sharing us about this update. Hope you will not get tired on making posts as informative as this. click here


Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic.  This has really made me think and I hope to read more. click here


Great post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I as well believe this is a very superb for source


Wow what a Great Information about World Day its very nice informative post. thanks for the post.structured annuity settlement


I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information?

PRISM Center


The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing..Calgary office movers


I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me.SEO services company


I can’t imagine focusing long enough to research; much less write this kind of article.  You’ve outdone yourself with this material.  This is great content.

Augusto de Arruda Botelho


This is my first time visit here. From the tons of comments on your articles,I guess I am not only one having all the enjoyment right here! Used RV Dealer in Missouri


I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.

Georges Sadala Rihan


Thanks  for another wonderful post. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing?


I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! store locator widget


<a href="">calendar</a>

<a href="">2017 calendar</a>

<a href="">blank calendar</a>

<a href="">cool calendar</a>

<a href="">yearly calendar</a>

<a href="">awesome calendar</a>

<a href="">icalendar</a>

<a href="">our calendar</a>

<a href="">new year calendar</a>

<a href="">free calendar</a>

<a href="">printable calendar</a>

<a href="">real printable calendar</a>

<a href="">timetable calendar</a>

<a href="">schedule calendar</a>

<a href="">school calendar</a>

<a href="">calendar 2017</a>

<a href="">calendar printable 2017</a>

<a href="">blank calendar 2017</a>

<a href="">2017 calendar</a>

<a href="">2017 free calendar</a>

<a href="">all calendar 2017</a>

<a href="">useful calendar 2017</a>

<a href="">schedule 2017 calendar</a>

<a href="">2017 schedule calendar</a>

<a href="">schedule calendar 2017</a>

<a href="">blank calendar 2017-18</a>

<a href="">calendar blog</a>

<a href="">awesome site</a>

<a href="">click here</a>

                <a href="">hello</a>

                <a href="">calendar</a>

                <a href="">lovely</a>

                <a href="">small</a>

                <a href="">big</a>

                <a href="">sweet</a>

                <a href="">lonely</a>

                <a href="">sexy</a>

                <a href="">fast</a>

                <a href="">slow</a>

                <a href="">hot</a>

                <a href="">holl</a>

                <a href="">ball</a>

                <a href="<a href="">bat</a>

                <a href="">cricket</a>

                <a href="">player</a>

                <a href="">dhoni</a>

                <a href="">virat</a>

                <a href="">youraj</a>

                <a href="">rahul</a>

                <a href="">rahane</a>

                <a href="">chottu</a>

                <a href="">hi</a>

                <a href="">ok</a>            

                <a href="">you</a>          

                <a href="">he</a>

                <a href="">she</a>              

                <a href="">is</a>

                <a href="">not</a>    

                <a href="">perfect</a>     

                <a href="">bastman</a>     

                <a href="">and</a>           

                <a href="">bowler</a>

MN Artists