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Nadia Waheed

Inquire about this work

Nikka (Red) (2018), acrylic on canvas, 168x122cm
Nikka (Pink) (2018), acrylic on canvas, 152x109cm
Blue Portrait (Sisyphus’s Boulder) (2018), acrylic on canvas, 112x86cm
Gender Reveal (2018), acrylic on canvas, 117x147cm
Mountain Climbers (2018), acrylic on canvas, 155x109cm
Odalisque (2018), acrylic on canvas, 152x122cm
Rite of Passage (2018), acrylic on canvas, 140x117cm
Sun Salutation (2018), acrylic on canvas, 150x104cm

Nadia Waheed’s works are very often autobiographical. Born in Saudi Arabia, the artist originally hails from Karachi, Pakistan, but has lived in places such as Islamabad, Paris, Sydney, Cairo, and the USA. In fact, she hasn’t lived in the same place for longer than four years. This movement–and particular the stark cultural shifts she has experienced–have significantly affected her artistic trajectory, placing her in the position of having experienced vastly differing perceptions of female selfhood. Boldly coloured and often densely patterned in areas, Waheed’s paintings are as visually eclectic as her worldly experiences. The figures depicted are vehicles upon which the artist builds symbols and metaphors pertaining to her Pakistani heritage, her westernisation, and explorations of the brown female nude–a taboo subject that would have been difficult to directly deal with in Pakistan. By painting her subjects’ skin in fanciful colours, the artist questions what it is that designates race. ‘What really signifies one’s identity,’ questions Waheed, ‘do they have to be painted brown to be brown?’ Cultural signifiers are rife in her paintings: bridal mehndi, long braided hair, patterned razai blankets. But these images are often stripped down, forcing us to read behind the more overt symbols, often unearthing a dark narrative. In Odalisque, for instance, an image of a MOAB hangs on the back wall, signifying impending doom–a fact made pertinent by the knowledge that the noun odalisque means ‘female slave or concubine’. In Nikka (Pink) a woman’s hands and arms are decorated with bridal mehndi, but missing is the adornation of heavy jewelry and clothing typical of Pakistani weddings–instead, the figure stands nude, vulnerable, clutching her hands for comfort whilst a white flag waves in the background. Elements such as these, say Waheed, ‘are metaphors for the constraints that come with the expectation of women in Pakistani culture; things may look innocuous at first, but on second glance take on a darker context’.

NADIA WAHEED (b. 1992, Al Khobar, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia) lives and works in Austin, TX. She graduated with a BFA in Painting & Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Eight Chicks in a Pod’, Bolm Studios, Austin, TX (2018). Group exhibitions include: 'Hear Me Out', ARC Victoria, Melbourne, Austrlia (2017); and 'Closing Party', The Space, Sydney Austrlia (2017). Future solo exhibitions in 2019 will take place at The Museum of Human Achievement, Austin, TX as well as another solo at Raw Paw Gallery, Austin, TX along with a 2-person show at BEERS London, UK in May (2019).



 



 


Nadia Waheed’s works are very often autobiographical. Born in Saudi Arabia, the artist originally hails from Karachi, Pakistan, but has lived in places such as Islamabad, Paris, Sydney, Cairo, and the USA. In fact, she hasn’t lived in the same place for longer than four years. This movement–and particular the stark cultural shifts she has experienced–have significantly affected her artistic trajectory, placing her in the position of having experienced vastly differing perceptions of female selfhood. Boldly coloured and often densely patterned in areas, Waheed’s paintings are as visually eclectic as her worldly experiences. The figures depicted are vehicles upon which the artist builds symbols and metaphors pertaining to her Pakistani heritage, her westernisation, and explorations of the brown female nude–a taboo subject that would have been difficult to directly deal with in Pakistan. By painting her subjects’ skin in fanciful colours, the artist questions what it is that designates race. ‘What really signifies one’s identity,’ questions Waheed, ‘do they have to be painted brown to be brown?’ Cultural signifiers are rife in her paintings: bridal mehndi, long braided hair, patterned razai blankets. But these images are often stripped down, forcing us to read behind the more overt symbols, often unearthing a dark narrative. In Odalisque, for instance, an image of a MOAB hangs on the back wall, signifying impending doom–a fact made pertinent by the knowledge that the noun odalisque means ‘female slave or concubine’. In Nikka (Pink) a woman’s hands and arms are decorated with bridal mehndi, but missing is the adornation of heavy jewelry and clothing typical of Pakistani weddings–instead, the figure stands nude, vulnerable, clutching her hands for comfort whilst a white flag waves in the background. Elements such as these, say Waheed, ‘are metaphors for the constraints that come with the expectation of women in Pakistani culture; things may look innocuous at first, but on second glance take on a darker context’.

NADIA WAHEED (b. 1992, Al Khobar, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia) lives and works in Austin, TX. She graduated with a BFA in Painting & Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Eight Chicks in a Pod’, Bolm Studios, Austin, TX (2018). Group exhibitions include: 'Hear Me Out', ARC Victoria, Melbourne, Austrlia (2017); and 'Closing Party', The Space, Sydney Austrlia (2017). Future solo exhibitions in 2019 will take place at The Museum of Human Achievement, Austin, TX as well as another solo at Raw Paw Gallery, Austin, TX along with a 2-person show at BEERS London, UK in May (2019).