With a sensitive and whimsical hand, I explore the human fragility and vulnerability concealed under the pressures of daily continuation. Festering in negligence, these insecurities lay amassing strength for inevitable, internal putrescence. The ability to speak about a disturbing, painful yet relatable reality with playful wit is one of the greatest strengths of my work.
My minimalist drawings or paintings cannot easily be slotted thematically, though they all reflect me and my environment in a subtle, sometimes cheeky way. The GentlemenÔÇÖs Guide to Understanding Ladies is a drawing of a set of 25 female facial expressions visible from behind the restricting view of the ÔÇÿpurdahÔÇÖ. Rock You uses the lyrics from a famous song in response to a particular incident of stoning a woman to death in Pakistan. Beauty Rules challenge the strongly unaccommodating and unrealistic standards of South-Asian feminine beauty by creating playful ÔÇÿWords of WisdomÔÇÖ placards that make simple didactic statements like ÔÇÿBe FairÔÇÖ. The works in their jest raise compelling questions.
ÔÇÿPainfully BeautifulÔÇÖ is an ongoing series of work that explores perceptions of feminine beauty. I am interested in the dichotomy presented by this quest: the partnership of the undeniable pleasure gained by the acceptance of one within the criterion of normative beauty standards with the physical, psychological and financial price that this can come with. Furthermore it explores how the establishment of the strictly confined beauty standards today rejects an unbelievably large amount of women who are led to believe that they are inferior and insufficient because they do not fit into an artificially constructed ideal.
In this series, I have created contraptions that could technically be used by women for purposes of enhancing their facial beauty. Inspired by body modification tools like Chinese foot binding shoes and Victorian whalebone corsets, these jewellery-esque pieces are made from gold-plated metals. The Pouter, for example is a customized retainer that could result in poutier lips after prolonged use. The Face Lifter, much like the name suggests, is a stunning golden hairband that can give its wearer a face lift ÔÇô pulling up eyebrows, reducing the appearance of crowsfeet and pronouncing cheekbones. The Frown Fixer, studded with pearls and stones, is designed to prop onto the nose with acrylic pads and uses a spring like system to push out frown lines. The Neck Elongator is a neck brace, made in brass and gold plated, with hand painted ÔÇÿmeenakariÔÇÖ- a tradition South Asian art of painting jewellery with specialized paints. It has adjustable lengths, easily adaptable for any length of initial neck. With time, the wearer can keep lengthening the height of the neck piece.
The works are designed to float somewhere within the grey area between beauty and pain. They are immediately striking, seductively glimmering in dark wood and acrylic cases like cherished museum objects or high-end jewellery displays. Their immediate allure, however, veils a poignant darker truth. Hovering between beauty and torture they ask you what to price beauty.