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As a Pakistani-American multidisciplinary artist based in New York City, my practice explores the tensions and possibilities inherent in the real – and imagined – “clash of civilizations” between east and west.

This cross-civilizational encounter continues in my 2011-14 painting series, along with 2015 Islamic Graffiti, in which I layer found images of canonical works of Islamic art and architecture with bold strokes of color recalling the abstract expressionism of modern western painting. Working first at a small scale (8” x 12”), I then blow these “miniature” creations into vivid, canvas-sized works, consciously engaging the material grammars of both traditions to create a hybrid visual language informed by both.

Yet in juxtaposing the centuries-old aesthetic of Persian and Mughal miniature painting with modernist and postmodernist modes of mark-making, I seek not only to compel contrasting mediums – meticulous and spontaneous, time-consuming and instantly gratifying, collective and individual – to co-exist peacefully on the page, but to move beyond dichotomy in a deeper rumination on the human condition that binds us together.

To this end, I draw upon both my unique, multicultural perspective as an artist as well as an academic background in emotional intelligence (PhD in Psychology) to produce visual, performance, and installation pieces designed to challenge the stereotyping and violence which dominate the political conversations of our time.

This constant interplay of the personal and the universal is heightened in my upcoming collaborative installation (as half of the artist duo ‘Bolo’, Urdu for ‘Speak Up’) called “The Passage of Wishes.” Here, Pakistani wish lockets will be recast as the interactive building blocks of an Islamic vault installed at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, encouraging the values of selflessness and self-awareness in children around the globe.

Above all, in a time of heightened tension between the Anglo-European and Islamicate worlds, my work represents a conscious oscillation between the perceptions and misperceptions of daily life and the culture-transcending visions of mystics to tear down layers of cultural facades, re-affirm the power of seeing others with compassion and empathy, and reveal the eternal humanity in others and myself.