Bani Abidi, The News, 2001, video still, video duration 4:24 mins. Courtesy of Rabbya Naseer


Performing an Identity: A Discussion with Rabbya Naseer and Saadia Toor

June 15, 2017
AAA in A, '09-'21

43 Remsen St. Brooklyn, NY

Artist and curator Rabbya Naseer and scholar Saadia Toor discussed how memory, history, gender, and socio-political/cultural constructs cross paths within the work of many female performance artists from Pakistan.

Naseer will presented on the close relationship between self-portraiture and performance in the construction and (re)presentation of “identity” in her exhibition at apexart, Promises to Keep, featuring twelve female Pakistani artists (on view June 8-July 29, 2017). Building on Dr. Toor’s research into culture, nationalism, and gender/sexuality, the two explored the political and personal act of performing identity during everyday life. Naseer also introduced her developing archive on performance art practice from Pakistan across genders and mediums.

This program was co-organized by apexart and Asia Art Archive in America in conjunction with the exhibition Promises to Keep at apexart.

Rabbya Naseer is engaged in making, curating, writing and teaching art. Her practice is broadly concerned with exploring the parallels between art and everyday life and highlighting their similarities in production, representation, reception, and interpretation. Naseer has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from NCA, Lahore (2006) and is a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship for Masters in Art Theory and Criticism from SAIC, Chicago (2008-2010). Her installations and performance works have also been exhibited at Today Art Museum, Beijing; Devi Art Foundation, Delhi; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, re.act.feminism traveling (across Europe) performance archive, Hedah Gallery, Maastricht; Fitz Theater, Stuttgart; thejamjar, Dubai; Fukuoka, Japan. Alongside her ongoing artistic practice, Naseer is currently working on compiling an archive of performance art from Pakistan.

Dr. Saadia Toor’s scholarship revolves around issues of culture, nationalism, gender/sexuality, state formation, and international political economy. Her book, The State of Islam: Culture and Cold War Politics in Pakistan was published by Pluto Press in 2011. A special issue of Women’s Studies Quarterly on the theme of Solidarity co-edited by Dr Toor was published in November 2014.

Video documentation courtesy of apexart

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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.