Sophiya Khwaja Pakastani, b. 1982


"The work - Temporary Space, Permanent Place, a series of questions, observations, opinions and passions - interrogates and challenges the concept of the transient status of long-term residents in the UAE. Those that call it home yet are forever called expats. It explores the depth of the personal claims these residents lay on their surroundings, both space and place deep as my non-white, upper-middle class, female body tries to lay down roots in these temporary spaces - its color, status and curves complicating them even further."  Sophiya Khwaja

Sophiya Khwaja is a Pakistani artist living and working in Dubai.  Her images often picture a solitary female figure, the artist herself, navigating the strange world. Fantastic landscapes and interior and exterior views diverge from reality and the atmosphere is marked with symbols - twitter birds, thread, tape, chairs, walls and masked faces, balloons - that indicate the emotion of the work. Khwaja's pieces use her familiar iconography throughout her work whether they are encased in embroidery hoops not only for their obvious association with women's work, or her large scale wall installations. The scale of the work may change but the figure is forever depicted in a never ending bind, intricate and measured.  One feels for the protagonist and her predicaments. One asks who is this comic and sardonic solitary woman navigating forces beyond her control and are we joining her on this quest in a dream-like state of mind.


Sophiya Khwaja received her MFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design (2007) and her BFA in Printmaking from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan (2003). Khwaja is the recipient of an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center (2016), a Fulbright Fellowship (2005-2007) and is a selected artist for Campus Art Dubai's (CAD) 4.0 Core Program (2016). Her work is in the collections of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University, CT; UNESCO-Andorra, Ordino, Andorra; RISD Museum; and The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), Islamabad, Pakistan.


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