Aisha Khalid

Birth of Venus

1972- Pakistan

The title 'Birth of Venus' brings to mind the Italian painter, Botticelli's work. In this piece the woman wearing a blue wave-pattern burka on a lotus flower, together with the women in lotus-pattern burkas in the four corners are rendered in the fine detail of miniaturist technique. After Shahzia Sikander (p.98) who initiated an innovative modern form of miniaturist art moved to the United States, Aisha Khalid, together with her husband Muhammad Imran Qureshi, is a leading contemporary miniaturist artist in Pakistan. She began to focus on the position of Muslim women in society while on a long term stay in the Netherlands in 2001. The burka is a type of traditional clothing worn by Muslim women that covers the whole body, and here it is used to symbolize the oppression of women in the Islamic world. However, among Muslim women there are those who decide to wear the veil to avoid being judged on looks or becoming an object of lust. Therefore the burka as a symbol of oppression assertion is rather one-sided, and on the contrary, this reveals the falsity of the, at first glance, apparently liberated nude Venus. (YY)

Work description

Title Birth of Venus
Name of the Artist Aisha Khalid
Year 2001
Medium watercolor and gold leaf on paper
Size 28.9×28.8 cm