Amna Walayat-Chained

Artist: Amna Walayat

Medium: Painting

My work in general deals with socially conscious subjects and my experience of hybrid cultures. Through my work I am seen as an observer of society from a feminist perspective. The body of work for this show deals with violence against women in the name of shame, such as the exploitation of women in Irish ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ or the oppression of women throughout the South Asian region where I belong.

The lotus flower is a recurring symbol in my work and is taken from Buddhism where it represents ‘modesty and purity’. The flower starts to grow in the water which is dark, dirty, and muddy but manages to surpass the water in order to become a perfect flower when it reaches the light. Many Hindu gods and Buddhas are depicted sitting or standing on a Lotus flower for the same reason. Here I have used the symbol to create a new meaning. The Lotus here represents ‘the children of Sin’, the children born out of wedlock and mistreated for this reason in Mother and babies’ homes. In current contexts, the painting also deals with the Eighth Amendment on abortion rights in Ireland, and historically is a manifestation of the suffering of the mother and child  in the religious context of ‘Pieta’.


I am a Cork-based Pakistani-born emerging visual artist. 

I hold an M.A. Art History in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism 2016 and an M.A. Fine Arts University of the Punjab Pakistan (2002). I am a member of Sample-Studios, Art Nomads, Smashing Times and VAI.

I received the Cork County Council Creative Producer Residency and was invited to exhibit my new work in IMMA for a year by Sean Kissane 2021-2022, and recently exhibited in IMMA and Cork County Council’s online shows 2021.

I’ve worked as Programme Organizer with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts; Curator with Alhamra Arts Council and PhD studio-based researcher with PURAF, Punjab Uni 2001-07, and recently established the Ireland-Pakistan Arts Exchange. 

I received the Arts Council Ireland’s Next Generation Award 2021, Agility Award 2021, Visual Artist Bursary Award 2020, Professional Development Award 2020 and the Dilkusha Award 2020.