The New Youth Council Online Showcase - Rabia Choudhary

Rabia Choudhary


Rabia Choudary Artwork

Artist Statement

Fajr is the first prayer of the Islamic day that takes place after sunset and just before sunrise. This painting is a representation of welcoming the light after darkness and saying goodbye to the fleeting twilight that surrounds her and her mind. Throughout this painting, I have hidden words such as "Fajr", "Welcome", "Hello", "Goodbye", "Growth", "Ritual" and "Together", to connect this cycle of transient and departing darkness to my mother tongue that I am slowly relearning.

My artwork and creative research explore the relationship between different identities, how they intersect and sometimes clash (i.e., ethnicity, religious faith, sexuality, etc). The main focus of these new paintings is my personal experiences and struggles with darkness, shame, mental illnesses and guilt in regard to my conflicting identities. I chose to explore these themes and draw from these experiences because I needed a way to share the struggles I faced and continue to face to this day.

Each painting examines aspects of one or more identity by depicting objects, clothing, jewelry, patterns, figures and/or language from childhood and life. In terms of objects, clothing and jewelry, my inspiration mainly came from aspects of my Pakistani culture, such as Mehndi art, Salwar Kameez, Churiyan and Bindi. When it came to patterns, I took inspiration from both personal Mehndi designs and traditional Islamic geometric patterns found in Masjids and in Islamic art. For language, I specifically chose phrases and words from Urdu as that is my first language and one that I would like to reconnect to through art. I incorporated my language both through naming my pieces, but also by including words and poems within the painting backgrounds or patterns. Specific phrases and words derive from Arabic, hold religious significance and reference Islamic practices I grew up with.


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