The seminar explores South Asian British women artists contributions to contemporary art in presentations by artist Naiza Khan, art historian Rina Arya, curator Uthra Rajgopal and artist Uzma Sultan.
Monday 17 October, 2pm - 4pm (BST)
Online via Zoom.
Free, register via Eventbrite
The event is chaired by Jasmir Creed, painter, and PhD researcher, joined by Professor Kristen Kreider, Head of the Doctoral programme at the Slade. There will be an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session after the presentations.
The speakers will discuss the relatively insufficient exposure of South Asian British women artists in British and international art, exploring reasons including racism and misogyny from within and outside South Asian British cultures. Strategies for addressing this imbalance will be identified with the speakers presenting their unique practices and experiences.
Naiza Khan will present the transcultural dimension of exchange and artistic networks that offer ways of learning and knowledge production. In 2000, Naiza will mention how she co-founded the Vasl Artists’ Collective (Pakistan) which is part of the Triangle Network, with Gasworks as a node in London. This project continues to build community and foster creative collaborations between artists in Pakistan, South Asia and beyond.
Naiza will also share two recent projects, including Walking in Common, which is a series of podcasts from the field, produced as a chain of creative collaborations with different practitioners. Through this performative gesture, she explores how we can create a complex field site of situated knowledge; from a specific geography, text or memory.
Naiza Khan’s work has been presented in a number of solo and group exhibitions, including the Sharjah Biennale 15: Thinking Historically in the Present, Sharjah Art Foundation (2023); Monsoonal Multiplicities, London (2021); Between the Sun and the Moon, Lahore Biennale 02 (2020); The Sea is History, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo (2019); Manora Field Notes, Pakistan Pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale (2019); 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2018); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi (2016); Karachi Elegies, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan (2013); Khan received the Prince Claus Award, the Netherlands (2013).
Rina Arya will give an overview of British South Asian women artists from the 1980s to the current day by looking at themes that they’ve been preoccupied with and the challenges they have faced in their careers. Many of these challenges persist and it is imperative to address these head-on in order to ensure that progress is made for current and future generations. Rina will highlight the importance to look at the sense of evolution in the work across generations as a way of ensuring that the preoccupations that the first- and second- generation artists don’t come to define emerging concerns.
Rina Arya is Professor of Visual Culture and Theory at the University of Huddersfield. She is author of Francis Bacon: Painting in a Godless World (2012) and Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature (2014). She is currently working on a monograph about the cultural appropriation of Hindu symbols.
Uthra Rajgopal will mention how with the Art Fund New Collecting Award she was able to purchase a collection of contemporary South Asian textile artworks made by women artists from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the South Asian diaspora in England. The aim of the collection was twofold. Firstly, to bring a fresh narrative to the existing South Asian textile collection held at the Whitworth, which had originally been established during the time of British colonial rule, resulting in the erasure of the identities of the original makers. And secondly, to generate a conversation between the South Asian diaspora ‘over here’ and those living in South Asia, ‘over there’, so that stereotypes and presumptions from within the communities can be challenged and begin to be broken down. After a period of travel and research artworks were acquired from the following artists Artpro (Bangladesh), Madi Acharya-Baskerville (UK), Kangan Arora (UK), Suman Gujral (UK), Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai (India), Yasmin Jahan Nupur (Bangladesh), Rehana Mangi (Pakistan), Bharti Parmar (UK), Rakhi Peswani (India). By bringing together these textile artworks here and now we can help foster a greater sense of belonging and celebrate a permanent place for South Asian women’s voices in the Whitworth’s collection.
Uthra Rajgopal is an Independent Curator with a specialist interest in South Asian textiles. In 2019, Uthra won the prestigious Art Fund New Collecting Award to build a collection of contemporary textile artworks for the Whitworth in Manchester, specifically artworks made by women artists working in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and the UK diaspora. In 2021 Uthra guest curated the group exhibition Rehang for Anant Art at Bikaner House, Delhi and this year she was appointed as consultant curator on the Crafts Council exhibition, Cotton: labour, land and the body. Uthra is currently the first Writer in Residence at the Art House in Wakefield, working with the artist, Perminder Kaur, in collaboration with Corridor 8 and she has most recently been appointed as Associate Curator of the British Textile Biennial 2023.
Uzma Sultan will explore how her gestural and visually crowded paintings show the process and questions of abundance. Paintings have much to do in being in different parts of the world, the fact that we live in a condition of hybridity.
Uzma Sultan is a Pakistani British artist who lives and works between London and Berlin. She attended the Chelsea College of Art, Wimbledon School of Art and then MFA at The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL all in London. Sultan has exhibited in both group and solo shows across Europe and in her native Pakistan. She exhibited her works in the Beep Painting Prize Bienniale 2020, Elysium Gallery, Swansea, UK & the ING Discerning Eye exhibition 2020.Most recently is one of the winners of the first Newsprint Open 2021 and will have an exhibition at Three Works, Scarborough.
The Inter Scape: South Asian British Women Artists seminar is supported by the British Art Network (BAN). BAN is a Subject Specialist Network supported by Tate and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, with additional public funding provided by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The Network promotes curatorial research, practice and theory in the field of British Art. Its members include curators, academics, artist-researchers, conservators, producers and programmers at all stages of their professional lives.
Image: Jai Chuhan, Dancer, 2012, oil on canvas, 120 x 180 cm