Naiza Khan / Pakistan b.1968 / Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi II 2017 / Galvanised steel, feathers, leather, ed. 2/2 / 88 x 40 x 32cm / Private collection, Sydney / © The artist / Image courtesy: The artist and Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong | London

Naiza Khan
Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi II 2017

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.5

Since 2006, Naiza Khan has created a significant number of sculptures that address the private and public presence of the female body. Called the ‘Heavenly Ornaments’ series, the works refer to heroines and female warriors, as well as costume and bodily apparatus, and explore how the female body has been treated throughout history and in different contexts. Some evoke ideas of beauty and elegance, while others — such as corsets and chastity belts — imply dominance and objectification.

Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi II 2017,  takes its title from a heroine of the resistance against the British Raj during the Indian Rebellion of 1857; Rani of Jhansi is commonly portrayed as a gallant fighter adorned in jewels, and equipped with weapons and armour. Other artworks from the series depict historical European costumes and garments incorporating holes, spikes and piercings, highlighting the militarism and violence that the body has been subject to throughout the world.

Naiza Khan has a special interest in what she has called ‘the ambiguous and complex relationship between the female body and female identity’. Her works explore the representation of women in
postcolonial Pakistan, as well as the political role of the body, and conventions of beauty and gender.

 

Contemporary context

How does Naiza Khan:

  • challenge ideas of the past?
  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?
  • employ imagery and/or display techniques to challenge aesthetic traditions?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How does Naiza Khan:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • create sensory experiences to generate emotional responses from the viewer?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How does Naiza Khan:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?
  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Naiza Khan:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?