Mirage Journey - Gauge

Artist: Hina Khan

Medium: Painting

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.


Hina was born in born in Pakistan in 1980 and completed an MFA, majoring in Miniature Painting from Pakistan. Hina’s work uses a mixture of traditional and innovative techniques in miniatures. She portrays social issues, immigration, humanitarian crises like prostitution, gender discrimination, gender restrictions, trauma, child abuse and killing in her work.

Hina uses miniature in her work as the intricacy and delicacy of the brushwork has a unique identity. Hina’s work began as a mixture of traditional and contemporary miniature and her practice has now expanded to include small and large-scale installation, videos and 3D. 

According to Hina ‘My work is a constant search for the best way to interpret ideas and to express my own ideologies through symbolism.  I am creating a dialogue through my art. My art is a reflection of inner connection, and how immigrants and nomadic artists are a part of this land. Migration is deeply rooted in my blood. I have carried two cultures, one from where I was born and the other is this culture where I am trying to re-root myself. Sometimes a situation is not in our control, but life always takes us on different voyages. This journey has built up a constant transition in my art, personality, and in terms of experimentation, enabling me to evolve my artistic practice.’

Hina has participated in number of groups shows in Pakistan from 2002 to 2011. Hina came to Ireland in 2015 and participated in a number of exhibitions in Dublin, Laois, Mayo, and Cork. Hina was awarded several residencies with Fire Station Arts Center, Create Ireland, West Cork Art Center and Cow House Studio and has displayed solo exhibitions at Ballina Art Center, Mayo, and Stradbally Art house, Laois. 

Hina’s art pieces are held in the permanent collection of The Arts Council of Ireland. She is the recipient of several awards from The Arts Council of Ireland, Create Ireland, and from different counties. She is the recipient of an R&D award from Create Ireland in collaboration with Tomasz Madajezak under the mentorship of Jesse Jones and is also collaborating with filmmaker David Bickley. Currently she is preparing artworks for State of the Art: The Nation State as both Violator and Protector of Human Rights presented by Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality,  funded by The Arts Council and is working on a  solo show which will be displayed in the LHQ gallery in 2022.

Hina says that ‘as an artist,  I am inspired by Sadequain, Michelangelo, Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Shahzia Sikander and Anselm Kiefer.’