Works by acclaimed Pakistani artist feature of I Am and I Am Not exhibition

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The latest exhibition at NPDC’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery|Len Lye Centre blends beauty and struggle in unique and remarkable artworks that are already mesmerizing visitors.


The exhibition I Am And I Am Not presents more than 40 artworks by acclaimed Pakistani artist Aisha Khalid, who aims to touch viewers with feelings that come from her heart and are pertinent amidst contemporary global life.


The idea that beauty and struggle are fundamental to deep spirituality is potent in her comprehensive retrospective curated by Masuma Halai Khwaja, presenting more than 40 of the artist’s works dating from 1993 to the present day.


Formally trained in Indo-Persian miniature painting traditions at the National College of Arts in Lahore and having experienced a forced migration from her farmlands in Sindh to urban Punjab at a young age, painting has informed Khalid’s artistic language and been a vehicle to reflect on contemporary life for women, especially living with the expectations of Islam.


As Khalid took up textile practices and other media her interests expanded to conveying allusions to loss and suffering resulting from colonisation and other conflicts as well as the potential for all to counter sorrow through finding balance. A follower of Sufism for over two decades, the poetry of Sufi Saints such as Rumi and the concepts of hope and balance are fundamental to the creation of poetic yet unsettling works.


In addition to painting and works on paper, this first exhibition of her work in Aotearoa New Zealand includes video installations, sound, and a number of the large scale, elaborate tapestries Khalid has become known for. Formed with dressmakers pins and symbolic imagery, these works’ multiple meanings are unlocked by talking to one of the gallery’s front of house team.


Khalid’s bold and unapologetic artworks create a powerful space for reflection on the self and the potential of the co-existence of spiritual and worldly existence.


Caption:  Aisha Khalid, I Am And I Am Not, 2023. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view.