Tazeen Qayyum

Artist Statement -2006

My work comments on aggressive global politics and the subsequent suppression of difference. I use insects as motifs, my favourite being a dead cockroach. The dead cockroach is repeated in a pattern and is simultaneously rendered compelling and repulsive; commenting on human rights violations and human fatalities in our current war-time environment. The paintings have an attractive appeal, only when looked at closely, the work reveals death and destruction. Where people are killed like insects we question our own insensitivity and the diminishing value of human life. In my most recent works I mimic entomological museum displays where insect bodies are violated and spread open for investigation. With the use of original entomology pins, I not only violate the image but also do violence to my surface, which is laboriously hand made. I use labels in my compositions containing significant yet vague text to explore how categories and classifications can parallel the discursive agendas of political propaganda. I further complement these works with reference to universal pesticide labels to evoke ideas that dehumanize and destroy.


Short Biography

Tazeen Qayyum (Toronto) is a contemporary miniature painter who graduated from the National College of Arts Lahore, Pakistan in 1996. She has two solo shows to her credit and Directed a collaborative performance artwork produced by SAVAC and AKA Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada. Qayyum has participated in numerous International group shows some of which include ‘A Thousand and One Days: The Art of Pakistani Women Miniaturists’ at the Academy of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, ‘JAALA Exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, Japan, ‘Negotiating Borders’ Miniature Paintings at Katmandu, Nepal and ‘Homecoming’, at the National Gallery of Pakistan. Her work was included in the 10th Asian Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh and 2nd Painting Biennale, Tehran, Iran. Qayyum was also awarded a UNESCO bursary in 2000 to work and exhibit in Vienna. In 1997 she co-founded ‘Offset Portfolio Centre’, a resource centre and gallery for artists in Pakistan. Her most recent works comment on aggressive global politics and the subsequent suppression of difference.

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