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Contested Cartography

Thursday, February 23, 2023 | 4:00 PM | Top Floor, Academic Block, LUMS

The deadline to register is Wednesday, 22nd Feb 2023 till 3:00pm. For (free) registration, please CLICK HERE.

Contested Cartography - An inquiry into nuanced history

Saba Qizilbash (b. 1977) is an artist and an art educator based in Dubai, UAE. She has a BFA in Painting from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore and a Masters in Art Education from RISD, USA. She obtained an MFA from the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, UK, in 2022 where, other than a Distinction, she won both the Mansfield-Ruddock Prize and the Pembroke Embery Prize for her thesis. Her work has been showcased in Oxford, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, San Francisco, as well as Pakistan, including several solo presentations. Saba’s work has been regularly featured at Art Dubai and in 2017 UAE Unlimited commissioned her for works for the Royal Collection. South Asian Institute (SAI) at UC Berkeley, USA declared her Artist of the Year 2022. In 2019 she was the recipient of Vogue Hong Kong Woman Artist Award and in 2018 she was awarded the SEAF fellowship in partnership with RISD. Saba has been a finalist for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize from 2017-2020, a member of Campus Art Dubai from 2014-2016 and was artist-in-residence at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology Oregon, USA from 2000-2001.

The Works:

Saba’s large-scale and thought provoking works are a complex spatial engagement with history and human movement. They are like portals to journeys, some real and some imagined, which offer viewers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the expanse of territories, at times familiar landscapes and spaces to reassess, contentious geographies, willful migration, conquests as well as historical displacement, in ancient lands around the Arabian Gulf (Middle East & South Asian peninsula). These panoramas divulge a cultural and scholarly ‘excavation’ by the artist, who takes a nuanced approach towards accepted history and attempts to re-stage it. Her mural-like drawings are meticulously rendered in graphite on paper, and invite the viewers to undertake at-times arduous journeys with her to re-examine historical events, with an oblique eye on the future. Her refined mark-making seemingly provides smooth transitions between disparate events, natural and man-made elements, and yet alludes to a collision of narratives, leaving the viewer engaged in an exercise of continuing exploration.

Curator’s Bio:

Fatma Shah is a curator and writer, with a keen interest in Art, Literature and Cultural Heritage. In 2010 she formed Jadeed an arts management platform and has curated a number of exhibitions in Dubai & Pakistan. She has also organized a number of events including book launches and performances. Her recent exhibitions included Revival & Reincarnation–Art Craft & Design, Immaculate Decay–a solo presentation by Rabia Ajaz, Of Other Spaces–a group show in partnership with The Creative Process, Imagines Archives – Residual & Remembrance a group show in a historical house. She writes about the visual arts and artists, cultural heritage and reviews books in her areas of interest. Her articles have been published in the Friday Times, Libas Magazine, Art Now, The Karachi Collective & The Nishaan Quarterly. Since 2018 she has also been a volunteer curator at APWA Crafts, Lahore with a motivation to revive interest and promote a wide range of artisanal products.

Opening: Thursday February 23, 2023 (4:00pm)

Venue: Academic Block Corridors (Outside A-5 & A-6)


Fatma Shah & Dr. Nadhra S Khan in conversation with the artist 5:00pm

Venue: Faculty Lounge, VC Office

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