Aisha Khalid / Pakistan b.1972 / Water has never feared the fire (detail) 2018 / Fabric, gold-plated and steel pins / Triptych:492.75 x 167.65; 492.75 x 83.8cm;492.75 x 83.8cm / Commissioned forAPT9. The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 2018 with funds from The Myer Foundation through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art / © The artist / Image courtesy: The artist

Aisha Khalid
Water has never feared the fire 2018

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 1.1

Aisha Khalid’s work in APT9, Water has never feared the fire 2018 measures nearly five metres high. The sharp, gold-plated and steel pins, piercing several layers of cloth, add a three-dimensional, sculptural element to the work. Its design is based on the quadrilateral garden design of the Charbagh (‘four gardens’ in the Urdu language), which is based on the Islamic garden from the Qur’an, a principal symbol for paradise on earth. Four sections constitute the four gardens of paradise (soul, heart, spirit and essence), which are delineated by four water channels representing the four rivers of paradise. Within the four sections, the artist has depicted dragons and phoenix, while the outer panels, representing water patterns, feature sea creatures and ships symbolising trade and the movement of peoples and cultures.

Aisha Khalid uses traditional art forms and techniques to make contemporary artworks. Her visual language is based on the pattern, colour and geometry found in Persian culture. Her large-scale hanging tapestries — embedded with thousands of pins — highlight her background in miniature painting, textiles and pattern-making.

With a rich knowledge of centuries-old traditions, Aisha Khalid honours — but also challenges — how their principles operate in our world today. She contributes to the evolution of these  traditions, and translates their meanings to a contemporary audience.

Contemporary context

How does Aisha Khalid:

  • 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 Aisha Khalid:

  • 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 Aisha Khalid:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?

Formal context

How does Aisha Khalid:

  • 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?
  • share characteristics with art movements, times, places or events?

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