Becoming a Woman
on Thursday 24th October 2019 at 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Curated by Nimra Khan
105 Marine Point, Kehkashan, Block 9, Clifton,
Karachi – Pakistan.
It gives us great pleasure to invite you to the opening reception of “Becoming a Woman”, a solo show by NYC based Pakistani-American artist Qinza Najm, curated by Nimra Khan, at Chawkandi Art I.
A woman’s worth has long been associated with her corporeal presence. Attempts to explain female oppression through biology has long confined a woman to a prison of her own body, reducing her to a purely sexual being associated with the body (as opposed to the intellect or spirit), objectified and dehumanized as a consequence. As John Berger in his book “Ways of Seeing” talks about how “men act, and women appear”, and how she appears demonstrates to others how she should be treated. In this way, a woman’s actions are burdened with the honor of those associated with her and her modesty becomes the mechanism through which her words, actions, decisions, and existence are policed.
The works of Qinza Najm push against this perception and seek to resist through the very weapon used against women; their own bodies. Twisting the body into a provocative pose uses the very debate of physicality to overthrow notions of gender disparity and fight against the oppression that presumably springs from a physical space. Sitting legs spread apart becomes an act of defiance in a world that compels women to shrink and accommodate others, re-negotiating the dynamics of the relationship between a woman and the spaces she occupies. A provocative posture reduced to pure form strips away its personal signifiers, allowing for a critical look at its erotic perception, and turns it into a metaphor that encapsulates and addresses deeper issues of sexual, financial, reproductive, political, legal and social rights and freedoms. This silhouette is then used as a central image that threads through each work and becomes a point of departure to address the complexity of the female experience, so she can finally be more than her body, she can finally become a woman.
Qinza Najm is a Pakistani-American artist whose interdisciplinary artistic practice explores gendered violence and female subjectivity. Utilizing performance, video, painting, and other mediums, the artist, originally trained as a Psychologist, understands herself as a denizen of the world, using artistic means to create empathy and understanding between societies and cultures in order to address the deepest social traumas.
Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, Najm pursued her studies at The Art Students League of New York. She has exhibited internationally at the Queens Museum (NY), Christie’s Art (Dubai), Karachi Biennale 2019 (Pakistan), Ilmin Museum (Seoul), The Museum of the Moving Image (NY), and National Museum of China, among others. Her work has been featured in ArtNet News, the Huffington Post, the NY Daily News, International Business Week, Buzzfeed, and The Herald. She lives and works in New York.