Masuma Khwaja Delights Art Lovers in Southern California
By Haya Farooqui

Pakistan Arts Council (PAC) of University of Southern California (USC) Pacific Asia Museum prides itself on organizing aesthetically charged events bound to enthrall its audience; and on July 14, the PAC board convened a special talk by Masuma Khwaja, Pakistan’s highly acclaimed artist, at Tahira Shabbir’s (PAC Board Member) beautiful home.
Khwaja has received several awards and medals throughout her career and she’s Karachi Biennale’s founding member, trustee and public outreach chairperson for 2017. Additionally, she has taught at some of the most prominent institutes of Pakistan like the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, and Karachi University (KU) and has exhibited her work both locally and internationally.
Samira Saleh, President PAC, introduced the artist and welcomed a diverse group of art lovers. Khwaja started her presentation by carefully going through a collection of colorful slides showcasing her artwork, giving vivid details and background of each painting/tapestry and keeping the audience engaged throughout. She narrated her journey and struggles as an artist, and how her art evolved from her work as a young student at NCA to her current avant-guard visual innovation, “Encounters of the Third Kind”.
Her most recent work is a bold quintessence of Pakistan’s identity crises and social, political and cultural disintegration. Her collages originate from intricate Baluchi, Sindhi and Afghani hand embroidered fabric mercilessly cut up into small pieces only to be sewn back on old Afghani and Turkish carpets, kilims, etc., evocatively outlining human faces and figures. The deliberate images of Chinese terra cotta soldiers expressed her concerns of the Chinese influx in Pakistan due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement.
An interesting discussion and question answer session took place after her presentation which was followed by an array of delicious sweet and savory snacks arranged by the PAC board and, as usual, this event too, exceeded expectations. - Haya@sbcglobal.net

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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