Wednesday 18 July 2012

Aisha Khalid: Larger Than Life

New Moon, 2012

There are still ten days left to catch Aisha Khalid’s exhibition of delicate works on paper at Corvi-Mora in London.

Khalid is one of a group of artists creating work inspired by the Mughal tradition of miniature painting (others include Khalid’s husband Imran Qureshi and Rashid Rana), but using the detailed, traditional style to explore contemporary social and political themes.

Larger Than Life, 2012

Her paintings, which are displayed on large pieces of wasli paper, feature complex designs, with repeated motifs of flowers and geometric shapes, and at an initial glance, this surface beauty can seem the sum of the work. Look closely though, and veiled figures are shown camouflaged within the patterns: their faces hidden, they have been swallowed into the designs with only the ripple and shift of their clothing revealing their presence.

Larger Than Life, 2012

The female figures provoke a simple political reading of the works: the women presented appear trapped within the traditional backdrops, with all individualism erased. In earlier works, from the late 90s, Khalid presented women in narrative-based, communal settings, though in recent years has portrayed them in abstract isolation, present but invisible.

Larger Than Life, 2012. All images courtesy Corvi-Mora, London

New Moon (2012), shown top, offers more hope. Created in gouache and gold leaf, it illustrates the ever-changing moon, and expresses the eternal passing of time, with all the change that may bring.

Aisha Khalid, Larger Than Life, is on show at Corvi-Mora until July 28. More info is at

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