Amna Walayat-Self Portrait Holding Noor Muqadam head


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’.