Pakistani artist Naiza Khan captures the experience of living and working in Karachi, where everyday life has been disrupted by natural disaster, migration to the city, and political violence. For her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Khan will show oil paintings, sculpture, and video works that map the tragic geography of violence in Karachi and place the human figure within it. Khan uses the term “disrupted geography” to describe her oil paintings and video works, in which she layers striking images and words to create a dream-like topography. In her landscape paintings, ruined structures are the lone traces of life. Her steel sculptures of lingerie armor similarly refer to the human figure without actually representing it, but are evocative of both delicacy and strength. In artworks of extraordinary beauty, Khan’s work provides a complex and sensitive window onto life in one of the world’s most troubled cities.
About the Artist
Born in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, in 1968, Naiza Khan is based in Karachi, Pakistan. Raised in England, Khan trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, and Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, including in the 2012 Shanghai Biennale and exhibitions such as Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan at the Asia Society, New York; XV Biennale Donna, Ferrara, Italy; Art Dubai 2008, Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain; and the 2010 Cairo Biennale. She has been selected for residencies in the Gasworks International Residency Programme, London, and at the Rybon Art Centre, Tehran. As a founding member and longtime coordinator of Vasl Artists’ Collective in Karachi, Khan has worked to foster art in the city, and participated in a series of innovative art projects in partnership with other workshops in the region, such as Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi; Britto Arts Trust, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Sutra Art Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal; and Theertha International Artists’ Collective, Colombo, Sri Lanka. In addition, Khan has also curated three exhibitions of Pakistani contemporary art, including The Rising Tide: New Directions in Art from Pakistan 1990–2010 at the Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi. In 2011 she gave lectures at several universities across the United States, which were sponsored by the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. From 1991 until 2008 Khan was a member of the faculty in the Department of Fine Art at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Karachi.
Naiza Khan: Karachi Elegies is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU and curated by Karin Zitzewitz, MSU assistant professor of art history and visual culture. Support for this exhibition is provided by Dipti and Rakesh Mathur. Additional funding is provided by the Asian Studies Center at Michigan State University, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and the Broad MSU's general exhibitions fund.