Saima Rasheed’s practice has its roots in the Indo-Persian tradition of miniature painting, but like many of her contemporaries, she has rejected traditional subjects for modern, topical ones. Her work explores human rights in a society where ones existence is defined by gender, taboos, traditions, religion and culture. It unravels individual or collective memories and experiences in visual form, with an empathetic outlook that hopefully stimulates recognition for a collective effort for change.

Some of her work is deeply personal drawing on her own remembered experiences, like the constrictive conditions placed on female children forbidden to play on the streets after a certain age, and how this solitude, for her personally, led to endless hours of drawing. Along these lines she has depicted and celebrated women on the cusp of creative moments, moments when unconscious impulses replace cultural expectations. Something, she does purely for her self, not for the sake of duty or social pressure. Images of women absorbed in their favorite activity like singing, knitting, drawing, and reading. Although these moments are captured on the traditional medium of paper wasli, they stand in stark contrast to the portrayal of women who stand like trimmed objects as if arranged for decoration in traditional works.
The work is a result of the direct and intimate observation of my friends and family thus a sort of dialogue is created.

Sponsored by the British Council and Arts Council England


A Lady with a Hukka
Two Ladies on Terrace