Juxtaposed Femininity

A two person show by Amber Arifeen & Sana Saeed.

Two emerging female artists living in of Pakistan portraying their idea of how femininity is perceived and their reaction to it.

Amber Arifeen is a self-taught painter based in Karachi. She picked up painting when she took AS level Art at Lahore Grammar School. She left for her undergraduate degree in Development Studies at UC Berkeley, USA but continued to paint intermittently. She resumed it full time after moving to Karachi in 2015 and has since displayed at MyArtWorld, Islamabad, Alliance Française in Karachi and to private collectors.
Amber Arifeen’s work is informed by the ever-vexed relationship between the feminine form and space. The anxiety to contain and conceal oneself in a public setting stems from an inexplicable aversion to one’s body, as if the very contours of the female form are cause for offense. Her work explores and problematizes this dynamic. In this series, Arifeen presents urban women in domestic settings, enlarging their presence on the canvas through unambiguously masculine posturing. Each subject is shown dominating the literal space of the frame; more importantly, the women claim space by elongating, stretching, sprawling their bodies, as if to assert their presence in an otherwise vacant setting. Their body language suggests control and certainty, while the masculine attire underscores an aura of nonchalance and unspoken power. Arifeen’s work highlights the subtle strategies—what we might call “woman-spreading”—that challenge the discourse on women and space. The subjects are rendered in clear and bold strokes while colors spill from the outline, creating a playful contrast between the languid poses and the chaos surrounding them. The clarity of the feminine form amidst vibrant and untamed strokes begs the question of whether there can ever be harmony between mind and body, desire and discipline, speculation and reality. Ultimately, each painting poses itself as a challenge to the viewer, a dare to imagine women as engaging in the simple act of existing unadorned and unapologetic, questioning the boundaries of their bodies, the space they inhabit, and the interplay between the two.

Sana Saeed is a Lahore based practicing artist. She completed her degree in visual arts from NCA in 2017. With a major in painting she also learnt calligraphy and film making to enhance her artistic expression. Growing up in a very strict literary and religious environment, Sana took fine arts as a way of rescue and a platform to speak up her fears and concerns. She started exhibiting her work from a very early age and when she was in her 3rd year at NCA, she did her first group person show in Islamabad with gallery MY ART WORLD. In her final thesis display she has been rewarded with Distinction. In Alhamrah Young Artist Exhibition 2017, she has been rewarded with ‘’excellence award ‘’and is also a member of Artist Residency Program at Shakir Ali Museum. Sana has displayed her work in different galleries of Pakistan, including Canvas Gallery Karachi, Artscene Gallery Karachi, O Art Space Lahore and Zahoor-ul-Ikhlaq Gallery Lahore.
Her recent show was a solo in Taseer Art Gallery Lahore.
Whenever we leave we always leave a mark behind, it could be a physical mark on any surface or a nontangible mark floating in the memory. For Sana, “to live is to leave traces” and her artistic practice revolves around these traces. Marks on walls, doors, stains on clothes, dust particles on different objects, all of these surfaces document time.
Her work focuses on the uncertainty of life. Moments that change in the blink of an eye.
The idea of “nothingness” which lies between the present and past where a person sets out to look for his/her sense of belonging is the concept that drives her to paint the hyperrealist figures in her work.


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