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Naiza Khan

Born 1968, Bahawalpur, Punjab; lives and works in Karachi

Constellation of Attire
Charcoal, conte, and acrylic on Fabriano paper
H. 70 7/8 x W. 59 1/8 in. (180 x 150 cm)
Collection of Fabio Rossi and Elaine W. Ng
Image courtesy of the artist


Galvanized steel and suede leather
H. 26 x W. 12 5/8 x D. 6 3/8 in. (66 x 32 x 16 cm)
Collection of Amna and Ali Naqvi
Image courtesy of Mahmood Ali


The use of clothing in my work began as a strategy to explore the emotional content of the body through attire. Lingerie, armor, straight jackets, and other imagined pieces create multiple identities or personae. These objects address contemporary anxieties and desires, at a time when ideas about the “self” seem unstable and rapidly shifting.

The steel structure of Spine is transformed through the stitching of red suede, and was inspired by the two-piece choli that is worn at weddings in the Subcontinent. Spine led me to rethink the function of the choli and the inherent contradictions it carries; it is, at the same time, flirtatious and oppressive.

These objects occupy a place between love and war, and are ambiguous in their position of aggression and seduction. Alongside these works, large-scale drawings link to discursive as well as visual references that I have accumulated over the years, across diverse cultural experiences.

I feel they are a part of my ongoing research into the nature of body politics as it is lived and felt in my present cultural context.

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