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Thursday February 29, 2024

Observations of gender, their sociocultural and political manifestations

By News Desk
February 11, 2024

The Canvas Gallery is hosting an art exhibition featuring artworks by Farazeh Syed. Titled ‘Madar, Mater, Mataram’, the show will run at the gallery until February 15.

Farazeh Syeds artwork can be seen on the gallery wall on February 10, 2024. — Facebook/Farazeh Syed
Farazeh Syed's artwork can be seen on the gallery wall on February 10, 2024. — Facebook/Farazeh Syed 

“Situated within the context of South Asian feminism and art historical portrayals of women, my practice centres on the female body and observations of gender and their sociocultural and political manifestations,” the catalogue released by the gallery for the exhibition quotes the artist as saying.

“As a child, I grew up in a home surrounded by orchards, the lush flora and fauna serving as the sanctuary I now surround my women in. Combining the female body with motifs from nature, I celebrate the dynamism, strength and resilience of womanhood and the abundance and generative power of the female body.

“Through my practice I touch upon broader themes of gendered expectations while asserting women as empowered individuals with agency over their sexuality. Deeply rooted in my own history, culture and subjective experience, I create visual narratives that are autobiographical, yet universal.

“I am also fascinated by the historical process with its accumulative overlapping narratives and erasure. I use acrylics because they allow me to construct images in layers of opaque and translucent paint, adding depth and interactions within a palimpsest.

“I strive to preserve the making as a record of layers with visible under drawings, overlapping and intersecting lines, and traces of my process. Drawing is a subjective language for me, its directness speaks to the innate impulse to make a mark and render shape.

“It occupies the liminal space between looking and rendering, where the surface becomes the meeting point of the external world — in the form of an object or stimulus — and the internal world — in the form of the unseen; a vision, a memory, an imagining.

“I allow the process of making to be spontaneous and organic which involves challenges, problem solving and risk taking — it is the chance occurrences, the accidental marks, the unexpected stroke of the brush, even the sudden arrival of a subject, that I find most rewarding.”

Born in 1971, Farazeh Syed is a multi-disciplinary visual artist working across the mediums of painting, printmaking, mixed media and textile art. Her personal history and experience as a woman inform her art practice that challenges the art historical narrative surrounding women and their bodies and prescribed notions of gender and sexuality.

After completing two years of the foundation programme at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, Farazeh went on to acquire a diploma in printmaking at the Gandhara Art College, Islamabad.

Inspired by the Ustad-Shagird relationship, she trained with renowned painter Iqbal Hussain for over 15 years, learning painting and acquiring an acute understanding of the human form, subsequently refining her own visual and conceptual vocabulary.

She also attended Continuing Education courses in painting and drawing at the Parsons and Art Students League, New York. She has been involved in art teaching through formal studio classes, lectures, critiques and talks.

Farazeh received her MA (Hons.) in visual arts from the NCA, where she has also served as associate professor of fine arts (visiting faculty), and her MA in education (gold medal) from the Beaconhouse National University, where she has taught academic writing and critical reading.

She has been trained in South Asian classical vocal music and has performed on several platforms. Her connection with music lends her work rhythms and a certain lyricism that can be experienced as subtle sensations.

As a research associate at the Sanjan Nagar Institute of Art and Philosophy, she has researched extensively on classical music, written academic papers and lectured on South Asian classical music and cultural history at the NCA’s Musicology Department.

Farazeh has exhibited her work extensively in prominent international shows and local galleries, and her work is in the collection of eminent national and international collectors.

She has attended several art residencies, was awarded merit grant for artists’ residency at The Vermont Studio Centre, USA, in 2020, and was nominated for the 2021 Sovereign Asian Art Prize. Her work has been featured in several international and local art and literary journals.