Archival pigment print mounted on dibond (Edition of 5 plus 2 artist’s proofs)
Hamra Abbas’s artistic practice draws from a myriad of sources and takes a diversity of forms. Her works originate from encounters and experiences – an image, icon or gesture – that are manipulated by the artist transforming its scale, function or medium. Her intention is to deconstruct the act of seeing by recreating images that form part of a collective memory. Unrestrained by subject matter or media, she takes an investigative approach to produce a diverse and holistic body of work addressing notions of cultural history, sexuality, violence, ornamentation, devotion and faith.
Miniature painting has influenced a large body of her work. But it is important to realize that most of these works are not miniature paintings, rather a reinterpretation of miniature. Abbas employs a humorous approach in her practice often using materials that hint at playfulness. In Artists for instance she uses plasticine to make miniature portraits of great-canonized artists of contemporary art.
These have been photographed and hugely distorted in scale in order to emphasize the quasi-religious significance that has often been attached to the great artists in history. Through this approach, Abbas is able to convey the way in which, throughout history, artists have been mythologized and in doing so taken on an identity far greater than that of mere mortals.
Text by Justine Ludwig.
Abbas was born in Kuwait in 1976 and currently lives and works between Lahore and Boston. Hamra Abbas received her BFA and MA in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 1999 and 2002 respectively before going on to the Universitaet der Kuenste in Berlin in 2004 where she received the ‘Meisterschueler’. She is the recipient of the Jury prize at Sharjah Biennial 9, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize in 2009.
Image Courtesy | Hamra Abbas