| Art |

MasterMinds 2017: Asif Farooq Is Building a Life-Size Russian Fighter Jet With Paper and Glue

MasterMinds 2017 finalist Asif Farooq
MasterMinds 2017 finalist Asif Farooq
Photo by Monica McGivern
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

The finalists in New Times' eighth-annual MasterMind Awards are a diverse bunch, representing the best locally created culture in South Florida. A group of editors and critics chose these nine talents from a pool of more than 80 applicants. The three winners, who will each receive a $750 grant, will be announced live onstage at Artopia, presented by Miracle Mile Downtown Coral Gables this Thursday at the Coral Gables Museum. The finalists will show off their work at the event. Here's what you’ll see.

Asif Farooq, a contemporary artist and expert craftsman from Miami, is creating a life-size Soviet-era jet made entirely from paper and glue. So, yeah, you could say he doesn't exactly shy away from a meticulous art project.

It takes a certain kind of artist to dedicate himself to a project containing 300,000 handmade pieces. Making things, according to Farooq, is what art is all about.

"I like the absurdity of making things, sometimes badly, while the world becomes ever more refined," Farooq says. "I appreciate when art evidences a real-world awareness. Different art means different things, right? Art that is allowed to be vulnerable and uncalculating is the most satisfying to me."

Farooq's meticulous erecting of his fully functional duplicate of the Warsaw Pact MiG-21 supersonic fighter, a project titled Balalika, is only the most recent example of the awe-inspiring contemporary art that Farooq creates in the hopes of inspiring an audience. Since Farooq was a child impressing his classmates with his highly detailed sketches of Lamborghinis, the goal has been to make an impact on others in a way that makes them think rather than react.

"Perhaps I might gently nudge them into questioning their assumptions," Farooq says. "I have no hopes or illusions about what people will do with it; projecting my insecurities onto the final disposition of what I make is toxic in my practice. Honestly, rather than provoking a reaction, I'd prefer a thoughtful response. Notwithstanding the importance of knowing one's audience, it is more important for me to know myself in order to be a good artist. It has to do with the difference between being strategic or being real."

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.