Human perception can present things very sensitively and for me, art is not just an activity, it is a passion. It is a medium that I use as an activist describe my feelings and my pain.
I have chosen miniature painting because of its intricacy and delicacy of brush work which lends itself to the unique identity of the subject. Most of my work is a mixture of traditional and contemporary miniature painting. I am always attracted to the graceful lines, rhythm and depth of colours in a miniature. My work is the constant search for the best way to interpret the ideas which express my own ideology through symbolism.
I have created a number of artworks for Stát na mBan, presented for the Smashing Times project State of the Art: The Nation State as both Violator and Projector of Human Rights. The pieces created are connected to the theme of migration, the idea of birds and how they symbolise the movement of migration. We cannot restrict the movement of birds, like we cannot restrict equality, movement of people and freedom.
Migration and the human misery related to it has been troubling me deeply for quite some time now. I relate to it as I migrated from my homeland, Pakistan, for multiple reasons, mainly survival.
This issue further engenders the concern of racism and inequality in the world. To me, migrants are displaced because of special circumstances and are never accepted or in many cases welcomed. We don’t accept or give attention to any human misery related to migration. The issue is deeply disturbing to me, therefore it is reflected in my work at times.
For the exhibition I have created four miniature paintings – Stranded 1, Stranded 2, Stranded 3, Migration Series, 2021, and Borders – and two large, abstract paintings – Skin 1 and Skin 2. I have worked on three miniature paintings based on birds, which represent the case of migration. Through these birds, I want to voice the idea that a bird is free in its movement and flies from one place to another but remains attached to its origin, its past. These birds symbolize us, as humans. We remain identified with our past, the people and places we have left behind. But the people we have left behind do not treat us the same as before. Even the new place we go to, the people in this new place don’t accept us, rather they may see us as ‘invaders’. This gives rise to racism and inequality.
My four miniature paintings symbolize the issue of migration, the two larger paintings have more abstract connotations and address the issue of skin colour and racism. No skin colour takes precedence over another. No person of one particular skin colour has the right to suppress others. And more specifically, no person of a particular skin colour has any right to strangle any human being to death just because of their skin colour.