Erasing Borders: Passport to Contemporary Indian Art  Feb-June 2008

Niema S. Khan-Qureshi

Niema Khan Qureshi Niema S. Khan-Qureshi  

A large color photograph of a woman’s torso is mounted on the back wall. On closer inspection of the photo one discovers that the hand is gently but firmly holding a delicate metallic thread to the navel. Several strands of the same metallic thread are suspended in front of the photo and each strand holds several circular acetates each with an image of a family portrait.

Here, the belly or female stomach symbolizes the womb. The delicate thread symbolizes the connection we have to the womb, the place we all came from – our original home.

On each circular acetate are black and white family portraits. Some of these black and white images are reflected in the circular mirrors which are also mounted on the back wall around the color photograph.

The viewer also participates in the work. As they gaze at the small photos they see their reflection in the mirror too. The combination of the viewer’s gaze and the reflection of the small photos in the mirror create a brief image - a temporary ephemeral image like a passing thought or a memory.

The artist is making reference to how we all struggle to make sense of home, particularly those who have moved away from their homeland. What is home and how do we define it? Is it our past, our family, or a physical space that creates home? Do immigrants ever really feel a sense of home or do they just remain rootless and floating?


Biography – Niema S. Khan-Qureshi
Niema was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She grew up in England and studied at Oxford Brookes University where she completed a Bachelors Degree with Honors in Visual Studies. She then went on to complete a Masters Degree in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, England. After moving to the United States, Niema worked as a Museum educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Terra Museum of American Art and The Art Institute of Chicago.
Niema’s work addresses colonial experiences from the perspective of family history, integrating the experience of immigration and the idea of home. Niema has exhibited her mixed media work in the US as well as the UK

  • Master of Arts – Fine Art, Sculpture
    theory and practice of contemporary art
    Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK (Sep ‘95 – Sep ‘96)
  • Bachelor of Arts Honors (First Class) Visual Studies
    theory, practice, and history of fine art
    Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK (Sep ‘92 – Jun ‘95)


  • ‘Those Who Do, Teach’
    Marwen, Chicago, USA – 2001
  • ‘Empire and I’
    Pitshanger Manor & Gallery, London, UK – 1999
  • ‘Image and Identity’ Festival of Asian Arts and Culture
    Bulls Art Center, Barnet, UK – 1997
  • Fine Art MA Degree Exhibition
    Chelsea College of Art & Design, 1996
  • ‘Half Empty Half Full’
    198 Gallery, Railton Road, London, UK – 1996
  • ‘Now We Are Seven’
    Curtain Road Arts, Curtain Road, London, UK – 1995
  • Graduate Show,
    Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK – 1995
  • ‘Shaynakht/Identity’
    Blooming Arts, Oxford Community Center, Oxford, UK – 1994


  • Coordinator of Art Partners (Apr ‘01 – Sep ‘02)
    The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA
  • Artist-teacher (Jul ‘00 – Dec ‘01)
    Marwen, Chicago, USA
  • Museum Educator (Nov ‘99 – Mar ‘01)
    Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, USA
  • Volunteer Guides Program Intern (Jan ‘99 – Sep ‘99)
    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA

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