This Pakistani Artist Is Talking About Taboo Topics Through Her Incredible Art

By Atiya Abbas | 21 Mar, 2017

Art has the ability to not only connect various cultures but also to transcend boundaries, such as language, to reach to people from all across the world. And with the increasing need to be able to transcend the noise of the globally connected world, through your art, it has become more important for artists to stay relevant and converse with people, in an entertaining way.

This is exactly where this artist from Karachi comes in, who’s speaking up about taboos that we generally don’t talk about, through her incredibly creative art.

 

This is Amna Abbas.

Her colorful hair and artistic photos have been quiet popular in the Twitterverse but it was this t-shirt design of hers that caught our attention.

Talk about daring, fun, sci-fi, pop all mixed into one. We can’t help but keep staring.

 

While speaking to MangoBaaz, the artist talks about why her art shocks and awes and why she wants to create a dialogue around sexuality and our relationship with technology.

“I did my bachelors in fine arts at NCA Lahore and majored in miniature painting. I know what you must be thinking, my work is so different from the my academic mastery, but trust me, creating art within many rules and limitations helped me break the rules smartly. I love using mixed media, my thesis project was one of the most elaborate work I’ve ever made using lights, sound and X-rays and various computer parts to an installation. As an illustrator, I derive inspiration from sci fi and regular everyday human behavior as content for my work. I love putting in an element of humor as that resonates in audiences better.”

While my art is not political, I think every artist creates in the environment they are most familiar with. My relationship with technology features prominently in my art because I am a product of the digital age. I tweet, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat constantly and my life online is a basic part of who I am. That said, we use technology as a way to build connections, deepen relationships, get validation and information. The very insecurities technology creates it also lessens. So it’s messy and deep and that is what I try to portray in my work.

On using her art to express sexuality

Unidentified F***ing Object ? Prints available (inbox) Delivery only in Pakistan.

A post shared by Amna Abbas (@mad.scientst) on

Sexuality is a topic repeatedly explored in Pakistani art. Artists like Asim Butt, Amrita Sher GilI, Faiza Butt and Maryam Agha are just a few names of artists who have done tremendous work.

Sexuality is a taboo topic in our society. There is a lot of political limitations attached to it.

We rarely approach the topic with sensitivity and depth because we are so afraid to express it. It’s often seen as a bad thing. Art, is the only place where it can find meaning and expression. I find I can openly tell my story through my art. Like the “We Cum in Peace,” digital drawing, I wanted to have a cheeky, calm take on the idea of making love rather than the violence and hate it often incites. In my art piece titled “Birth”, I was going for an interpretation of womanhood from the pomegranate representing the forbidden fruit to all the potential women hold within them, biological and other wise.

I never gave it much thought as to why I don’t like to showcase at galleries, but to be honest, there is very little scope for digital art in the traditional gallery scene

“Galleries showcase fine art that is usually made in mediums other than digital. It will take a while before digital art will make to the fine art community in Pakistan as there are many stigmas attache”, Amna says.

“I must say, creating something that’s specifically made for the Internet takes as much thought in execution as it would in a gallery, it is more about the audience than the space where the work is presented.

But just because you can’t display at a gallery doesn’t mean you stop working, the internet is a free space to showcase your creativity and that works for me. This day and age is all about what’s viral.”

 

Posting my work online lets me reach a wider audience and helps create a wider network.

'Why can't we be free' -Jazbatijharoo Read full Zine entry on auntyriot.tumblr.com

A post shared by Amna Abbas (@mad.scientst) on

 

 

“People who don’t know or haven’t been exposed to art much often criticize my work. I also get comments like my work is too bold for the narrow mindsets of our society.”

A post shared by Amna Abbas (@mad.scientst) on

“People find it easier to say negative things as long as they remain anonymous. I just ignore it and keep working. The more negativity thrown my way, the stronger my will to create work becomes.”

“Also not all comments are negative, I get more support than backlash from the internet community. And that’s what matters.

Check out more of Amna’s work over here.

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