Indo-American arts council's 7th annual erasing borders 2010:
Exhibition of contemporary Indian art of the Diaspora
Ruby Chishti
Ruby Chishti Ruby Chishti

Artist Statement

My work explores gender relationships and disparities in the light of personal experiences and traditional beliefs. It also unveils the presence of power and violence as a social critique. I feel the incessant need to translate my emotions and memories into a stimulating language of forms that initially appear naive and simplistic but are psychologically complex and compelling. These works evoke sympathy; bring humor, subversion and sarcasm to the viewing experience.

I have my own history with this substance “fabric”, my work is rooted in common feminine craft and it is the fusion of instinct, ability and profound life experiences. As a child I was drawn towards making dolls with cloth, as young girl meticulously stitched my own clothes but until 1999 I did not discovered cloth as a medium of sculpture when I felt a connection between the exhausted castoffs and a frail body of an inert being… my mother. All those heaps of scrapes of fabric started transforming into figurative forms that I had collected over the years and never wanted to throw away… just like we tend to adhere passionately to our joys as well as sorrows even when they no longer exist. I remember the early memory of doll making, I think of my own birth; my work unfolds individual tragedies of unwanted, discriminated existence millions of female experience in this part of the world.

My work offers the link between the tradition of doll making (India and Pakistan) and the contemporary sculpture. The work I create in ephemeral materials like fallen twigs and straw refers to transitory constituent of life. I enjoy using material in a way that leaves no option to be either possessed, transported or preserved.

To me sewing, mending, tying seems a process of hope and a satisfaction of the desire to repair the scars that time leaves behind, my hands desire to feel the world with their touch as if it is a living being, a tireless, but defenseless against the forces that attempt to capture or control. I continue, pointing out the parallels running through the narration of my life my art and the world.


Born in 1963 in Jhang Pakistan Ruby chishti now lives and work in USA and Pakistan. As a fourth daughter in a middle class Pakistani family Ruby experienced closely the bias that society hold towards a female child, her work often voice the very notion.She Studied at National College of arts, Lahore Pakistan. Soon after graduating in 1988 she disappeared from the art circuit for almost 11 years to take care of her severely disabled mother. She recorded her in the form of small sketches while she sleep…or help her husband in his projects.

Ruby chishti’s mother died in the spring of 2001 Ruby took up a residency in summer at Harris museum Preston England With shisha, threads dreams desires. Nawai Sarosh (voice of an Angel), Solo Show at Rohtas II, Lahore Pakistan. Narrative of her work in eye still seeks contemporary art from Pakistan 2000. Her interest in working in such materials that raises the question of permanence as well as refer to transience of life. For her the Individual mark of hand presented through the artist’s touch of material – perhaps is the most precious aspect in todays technological and virtual world. Her work in scrapes of fabric bridges the gap between the tradition of doll making and contemporary sculpture. Unvailing the visible,lives and work of women artist of Pakistan Illustrated children’s books. Walsh gallery Chicago show affiliations in 2003.

In 2005 Her work was chosen for Feats of Clay .

Soft restraints with SAvac Toronto 2006, Nest of memories at Vermont, She has participated in several international workshops and residencies including first international triangle workshop at Giddani Pakistan in 2006 .Several outreach workshop with children in UK ,Canada and Pakistan. She received the Fellowship Award at Vermont studio center. Her recent work “Sketch of a fading memory” is on view at National Art Gallery Islamabad..

“Today when world is at war, I look for my material, a bandage…. or dressing.”

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