Bio

About Ashley

 
Ashley Khirea Wahba is an Egyptian-American artist and jeweler from the NYC area. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Jewelry + Metalsmithing in 2011, and is attending Royal College of Art for her MFA studies. Ashley has been collecting trash objects for several years and is interested in her relationship with these pieces; she wonders why she is drawn to each discarded item she has picked off the ground, and through her work seeks to accurately communicate with the world-at-large these relationships as well as the potential she sees in each object.

Ashley Khirea Wahba is an Egyptian-American artist and jeweler from the NYC area. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Jewelry + Metalsmithing in 2011, and is attending Royal College of Art for her MFA studies. Ashley has been collecting trash objects for several years and is interested in her relationship with these pieces; she wonders why she is drawn to each discarded item she has picked off the ground, and through her work seeks to accurately communicate with the world-at-large these relationships as well as the potential she sees in each object.

 

Artist's Statement

Lifeless industrial objects are transformed when they become lost in the world, worn, weathered, beaten. They begin to take on unique shapes, developing their own identities. My eyes are calibrated; by collecting trash over time I’ve become a lot more selective. With a critical eye, I curate only the most exquisite trash I encounter: I have earned the title of trash connoisseur. I interfere with objects that are already beautiful, that caught my eye from the start, and give life to these things that have been discarded, lost, forgotten, passed over time and time again. I study the objects and pay close attention to what they want and need (trash whisperer), interfering appropriately and elevating them to a point that other people can appreciate their beauty. My aesthetic preferences are greatly influenced by contemporary fashion; as a result, I give trash what it needs to become irresistibly stylish.

One role of contemporary jeweler is to study humankind’s relationship to objects and to build upon or exploit that. How far can I veer from the viewer’s idea of jewelry before it loses this identity? Jewelry is made from or imitates precious materials. Jewelry is meant to relate to the body. This is how we understand jewelry in its most essential form, and so these are the topics I enjoy exploring as an individual artist and with the help of my peers within this ever-expanding community.

I may wash, polish, add material to, subtract material from, or recreate in order to accentuate the object’s most alluring features. I will transform these objects into something special, a jewel that someone might find so delicious they would want to adorn themselves with it, allowing it to become part of their physical identity. From worn by the environment to worn on the body, my interference allows decontextualized objects to be repurposed as elements of jewelry that are greater in value than the sum of their parts.