Portraits is a series of paintings that were produced between 2016 – 2018; the subjects comprised of queer friends, allies, and encounters mainly in Pakistan.
Painted in stereotypical postures associated with portraiture, the figures were deliberately kept faceless – highlighting a hidden existence of their identity. More broadly, however, these images investigated complex renditions of masculinity, intimacy, and vulnerability, challenging heteronormative ways of seeing such constructs. Often painted live, each studio encounter would involve the sharing of private stories relating to first loves, encounters, and heartbreaks. Taken together then, these paintings become an archive of a particular time and space through which to understand formations of a queer culture in urban Pakistan.
Third Muslim, SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco
Co-curated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Yas Ahmed
25 January - 22 February 2017
Photographs courtesy: SOMArts
The story of myself and some friends in these fragments of daily loves, Zahoor ul Aklaq Gallery, Lahore
24 March - 6 April 2017
Photgraphs courtesy: National College of Arts, Lahore