This week You! takes a look at the artsy and vibrant home of artist
Amina Tahir in Lahore…
In this day and age, Instagram has become many things; a personal scrapbook, a digital diary, a source of inspiration and a way to scroll endless hours away. While doing that one of these days, I came across a rather unique page; ‘two and a half monkeys’ that instantly made my day brighter with all its colours and beautiful home décor in a small space.
Run by Amina Tahir, an artist, although not by profession, the page tells the story of her home. A mix of boho and chic, Amina’s home reflects her and her husband who supports her with every nook and corner. “I’m sure all interior people say that, but it’s true. It’s not perfect, and neither am I. I try to keep it real and try to mix the old with the new, the fun with the mature. I like to keep it balanced. I guess there’s no inspiration behind it (there’s always Pinterest of course!) but I guess I’m just letting myself show in my space,” she shares.
What stands out about Amina’s place is its experimental décor that is both daring and unique. She plays with colours without fear; teal and red with a throw of mustard and not an inch of fear of how it will all blend in. It is this experimental nature of her home that makes it stand out so much and adds character to it.
Amina has also carefully curated décor elements in her house. Whether it’s decoration pieces or artwork, every addition in her house has a story to tell. “Even if it’s something as small as a glass, or an artwork that catches the attention, everything has a story behind it or at least some thought has gone into it. I do like to curate everything, even though I am very spontaneous with my purchases too,” she elucidates.
One of Amina’s favourite artworks that play a major role in the décor of her house is the painting of an African American woman on her gallery wall. “It’s a statement piece I would like to mention that a lot of people ask me about. It was very painstakingly yet lovingly made by my husband – who continues to paint and explore his hobby. That was in the early days. We were meant to paint on canvases to just fill that wall up but by the time he was done with it, it truly was breathtaking,” she adds.
Besides this, most of the artwork at Amina’s place has been picked spontaneously. “When I see something I want and think that would look good in a particular spot, I don’t think too much about it. I just go with it. Also for me, it’s more about curating than collecting. None of the art pieces you see in our living room are very expensive. It’s a lot of stuff that we have made ourselves or prints we’ve bought from here and there and a lot of it comes from local artists. If it’s in your budget, makes sense in a particular space and looks good, I think it works.” Amina’s current favourite is the Mahoor Jamal’s ‘Mehnaz’ that hangs in her staircase area right now.
It’s interesting that for Amina it is not just the artwork or the more significant pieces that hold value. For her it’s the small elements too. “I believe it is all in the little details and the small pieces, creatively put together. My process is simple. I see something online for instance and if I can instantly think of a spot for it in my head, I buy it if it’s not too expensive of a purchase. If it’s slightly pricier, I’ll sit on it, discuss it and always Photoshop it in my space to see how it would look before investing. I do consciously buy from a lot of local small businesses and online thrift stores though – that helps keep things interesting.”
One can also feel the presence of nature at her home and when asked, she mentioned that it happened naturally too. “I know the ideal answer to this question is that ‘I’m allowing the nature in’. And that is exactly the concept, but it didn’t happen purposefully – it just flowed like that. There already was a lot of light in the portion of the house which I was given and the plants were an aesthetic decision. It was later that they became the babies I had to nurture and keep alive, and that’s what it’s about now.”
My last question to Amina was why she kept her page’s name ‘two and a half monkeys’, and she laughed and said that she has got three little monkeys protruding on one of our walls in the entryway. “This little detail in my house inspires our name; these dreadful monkeys hang in our corridor, so the number of times they have been knocked over by guests is embarrassing. (Always a lot more for them though). The look on their faces when one of them gets knocked over makes us laugh in the middle of a random day. As a result, we’re left with two and a half monkeys. And that’s where the name comes from”.
If you fancy a space that pops colour, energy and life, she’s the person to reach. Amina can be found on Instagram (@twoandahalfmonkeys)