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October 8, 2015

Sara’s art work on display at Rohtas 2


October 8, 2015

The concern, inquiry and pursuit of beauty has perplexed the people over centuries and has been -due to its very nature - of particular interest to women. Sara Aziz’s new works titled “PAINFULLY BEAUTIFUL”, being exhibited at the Rohtas 2 Gallery, Model Town, at 5.30pm, give an artistic dimension to this centuries old intriguing question.
The artists explain that over the years and across the cultures - from Chinese foot binding to Victorian whalebone corsets to present day cosmetic surgeries, women have suffered tremendous pain to conform to the normative standards of feminine beauty. Today, this obsession feeds numerous industries and it seems as if nothing is impossible. However, channeling Mary Shelly, with the pursuit of great beauty, can come great grotesqueness.
Keeping theories of universal, cultural and normative practices of beautification in mind, my work explores perceptions of feminine beauty in the South Asian region. I am interested in the dichotomy presented by this quest: the partnership of the undeniable pleasure gained by the acceptance of one within the criterion of normative beauty standards with the physical, psychological and financial price that this can come with. Furthermore, it explores how the establishment of the strictly confined beauty standards today rejects an unbelievably large amount of women who are led to believe that they are inferior and insufficient because they do not fit into an artificially constructed ideal.
In this series, I have created contraptions that could technically be used by women for purposes of enhancing their facial beauty. Constructed in gold-plated metal or silver, these works are striking, seductively glimmering in dark wood and acrylic cases. The pouter, for example, can result in pouter lips after prolonged use. The Face Lifter, much like the name suggests, is a stunning golden hairband which can give its wearer a face lift – pulling up eyebrows and pronouncing

cheekbones. The Frown Fixer, studded with pearls and stones, is designed to prop onto the nose with acrylic pads and uses a spring like system to push out frown lines. The Neck Elongator is a neck brace, made in brass and gold plated, with hand painted ‘meenakari’- a tradition South Asian art of painting jewellery with specialised paints. It has adjustable lengths, easily adaptable for any length of initial neck. With time, the wearer can keep lengthening the height of the neck piece.
The immediate allure of these pieces veils a darker, poignant truth. Hovering between the beauty and torture they ask you what to price beauty.

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