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                      PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOS


The Unknown Self, 2018

Video, duration: 5 minutes 27 seconds

The gestures used to make the performative drawings in the video derive from Pakistani culinary processes. From using a pestle and mortar to the preparation of a roti (chappati), these skills are often passed down from mother to daughter. The performance shows the contrast between two personalities and cultures. whilst in appearance they may seem alike, the differences occur in their actions which are a consequence of their individual cultural experiences. Where one is confident in her identity, the other is frantically trying to uphold cultural rituals and leaves traces of uncertainty in the forms of black marks. 

Nisa Khan The Open Self 2018.jpg

The Open Self, 2018

Digital Photographic Print on Epson Enhanced Matt Paper and Aluminium Kappa Board, 42 cm x 59.4 cm

For my mother, the headscarf was, and still is, used as a tool to portray a modest public image. The scarf hides her true self, one of strength, confidence and at times even vulgarity.

The flowers upon the headscarf are tainted with vulgar, humorous phrases of a sexual nature, which were commonly used by her mother in her mother-tongue- Mirpuri. The texts in combination with her stance unveil the hidden identity and so the scarf no longer promotes modesty. For example, the main text reads ‘have you been sat there all that time plucking your fanny hair?’ which depicts the mothers’ true self, hidden beneath false humility.

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