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 diverge from reality where the earth sprouts fuzzy black hair and the atmosphere is marked with symbols - a tiny black cloud, a single rain drop, a blue balloon - that indicate the emotion of the work. Khwaja's recent pieces use her familiar iconography, this time encased in embroidery hoops not only for their obvious association with women's work, but also for their shape. The hoops trap the figure in a never ending bind, intricate and measured.


In her large scale work, Push the Red Button, missiles are launched and everything spirals out of control. The situation in the narrative deteriorates rapidly resulting in an ending that is completely mad with no respect for form or boundaries. It is a dark comedy of errors, a devastating tale. Khwaja's colored paper self seems to continue through the narration completely unscathed. The artist imagines herself with a green skin, representing envy, alien, sickness and the Pakistani flag. By the end when the plot unravels, all is revealed and all is lost.


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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