Simulacra – strategies of selves is Nusra Latif Qureshi’s first solo exhibition since joining Sutton Gallery in 2012. The exhibition features a series of digital prints that investigate ideas of identity and self-perception.
Nusra Latif Qureshi trained in Lahore in the Mughal miniature painting tradition and has developed a distinct and rich visual arts practice that engages with the visual histories of South Asia. Her work reveals a complex negotiation of stereotypes and the perceived past, presenting history as a collection of overlapping fragments rearranged to construct new narratives. Since moving to Melbourne in 2001, Qureshi’s work has also increasingly reflected upon her personal experience of being an immigrant woman in Australian society.
For Simulacra – strategies of selves, Qureshi has utilised cultural markers in their most obvious and explicit forms – clothing, jewellery and make-up – to craft a shifting and ambiguous identity. In some images the subject wears a white mask, chosen for its many charged social and post-colonial associations. Qureshi chose to engage the medium of photography for these works, given its distinct role in the formation and presentation of personal identity. Qureshi describes the photograph as ‘a space where self-perception conjoins, dissects, separates and faces the perceptions of the other … the aim of these photo-pictures is to address the absurdity of the perception that a single, formative identity must define a person’.
Although known for her miniature paintings, Qureshi has previously engaged the photographic medium to create the bold, large-scale work Did you come here to find history?, a nearly nine metre long digital print on transparent film produced for the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, which was subsequently exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, and recently acquired by the Tate in the UK.
Nusra Latif Qureshi lectured at the National School of Art in Lahore from 1995 to 1999, immigrating to Australia in 2001 to take up postgraduate studies at the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne. She has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States, including a solo exhibition at Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, in 2004.
Other selected exhibitions include: Air born, McClelland Gallery & Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria, 2013; Nothing to Declare?, The Academy of Arts, Brandenburger Tor, Berlin, 2013; Negotiating This World: Contemporary Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2012; Sub-Tropical Heat: New Art from South Asia, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand, 2012; Beyond the Self, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2011; Realms of Intimacy: Miniaturist Practice from Pakistan, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, 2011; The Rising Tide, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, Pakistan, 2010; Beyond The Page, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, 2010; Living Traditions, National Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan, 2009; East West Divan: Contemporary Art from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009; An Ever Expanding Universe, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2008; 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2006; Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut, and
San Francisco Asian Art Museum, 2005; and Beyond Borders: Art of Pakistan, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2005. Earlier this year Qureshi was invited by the Australian Tapestry Workshop to create a tapestry in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.