Textile artist Sarah Naqvi's feminist work is breaking taboos and starting conversations


Textile artist Sarah Naqvi’s feminist work is breaking taboos and starting conversations

Her first show at the Museum of Conflict in 2018 took on the subject of menstruation

By Rajashree Balaram  January 23rd, 2020

We live in times of strange contradictions. Even as means and mediums of artistic expression are burgeoning in numbers, artists everywhere are being compelled to school themselves to more painfully constricting guidelines on rectitude. A new breed of artists though is dodging it all—and bravely so. They are the ones taking Instagram by storm as they showcase bold new concepts fearlessly, post after post, to a live worldwide audience 24/7. We got the fiery warrior Sarah Naqvi to share with us her ammunition.

 

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Sarah Naqvi: This textile artist from NID knows exactly what her work stands for: “They are part personal, part communal and rooted in the understanding of self within an institution that consistently strives to silence any kind of dissent.” If you think she is simply mouthing big words, think again—her first show in 2018 at the Museum of Conflict in Ahmedabad had panties embroidered with scarlet crotches. No better way to break the silence around menstruation. Period.

Feminism first: “My work focuses on narratives that are and have existed for centuries, but little to no emphasis has been given to assess and highlight them. This erasure, this resistance to constructive change is a huge part of why my practice is heavily inspired by female-driven narratives.”

 

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Keeping it real: “Instagram as a tool for communication and accessibility is extremely motivating, but as far as feedback and validation go, I distance myself from it because this space is also a virtual realm that can feed one an illusion of power that can be misused for personal gain.”

Surviving Instagram: “The people who write to me about their disgust and shame concerning my work do so in an attempt to receive a reaction. Mostly I choose to avoid engaging them, but given that they aren’t completely blinded by their contempt, I discuss the subject at hand and that, ever so occasionally, goes well.”

 

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Looking inside: “I seek inspiration in the ones closest to me, and look up to figures who fought in the context I was born in. Now, I look back and look within for inspiration and the motivation to create. The people I meet and their stories reflect in my work. ”