Sapna Desai, SRHM Trustee, interviewed Pakistani artist Naiza Khan whose sculpture is featured on the cover of SRHM’s South Asia regional journal issue.
Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi II © Naiza Khan
About the sculpture
I have been interested in the notion of female heroism, in contemporary forms of female resistance as well as historical figures from South Asian history. This work is a homage to the Rani of Jhansi who fought the British colonial forces in the Indian Mutiny, 1857.
The contrast of hard steel and the softness of feathers and suede leather carry a duality of strength and vulnerability within female identity. This work developed out of a larger body of drawings and sculptures entitled Heavenly Ornaments, which explore the female body and attire as a manifestation of larger political ideas.
About the artist
Khan is a visual artist who represented Pakistan in its inaugural Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, including the Lahore Biennale 02 (2020), Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2018) and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2016).
Khan’s visual practice is built on a process of critical research, documentation and mapping-based exploration. In 2013, she received the Prince Claus Award in recognition of her initiatives in the fields of art and culture.
She is currently a research candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, London – and works between London and Karachi.