Promises to Keep

curated by Rabbya Naseer

Promises to Keep examines the close relationship between autobiography, self-portraiture, and performance in the construction and (re)presentation of "identity." Exploring the use of the artist?s body in self-representational acts of twelve female artists from Pakistan who span three generations, the exhibition looks at how self-parody, activism, nationalism, popular culture, and feminism cross paths in these enactments. Memory, history, gender, and socio-political/cultural constructs coexist within the same space when performing these self-portraits.

The works included in this exhibition explore the possibilities for proactive engagement with socio-political issues, reconfiguring the status and function of art from passivity to active agency and direct confrontation. They aim to generate a discussion about the obligations and responsibilities of belonging and do not attempt to describe themselves or bring forth a conclusive argument. Instead, these works encourage a dialogue about the definition of selfhood and its distorted reflections provided by the looking glass. The viewer is invited to join the artist, in the act of staring intently at her reflection in the mirror, while she herself fails to differentiate between the real and the reflected.

  • artists:
    Nilofar Akmut
    Hurmat ul Ain
    Naazish Attaullah
    Lali Khalid
    Amber Hammad
    Salima Hashmi
    Mehr Javed
    Ayesha Jatoi
    Umber Majeed
    Rabbya Naseer
    Zoya Siddiqui
Rabbya Naseer is engaged in making, curating, writing, and teaching of Art. She has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from NCA, Lahore (2006) and is a 2008-2010 recipient of Fulbright scholarship for Masters in Art History, Theory and Criticism from SAIC, Chicago. Naseer’s practice is broadly concerned with exploring the parallels between Art and everyday-life and highlighting the similarities (in production, representation, reception, interpretation) between the two. She has participated in exhibitions, residencies and conferences in Pakistan, India, USA, UK, Dubai, China, Japan, Germany, and Netherlands.

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.