Havva ki Nakahi


Havva ki Nakahi is part of a suite of seventeen works called Naguftaha – e – Hawwa (The unspoken words of Hawwa) that, in gallerist Mortimer Chatterjee’s words, “explores the relationship of Adam and Eve (Havva ) in the Islamic tradition and the ejection of Eve from heaven”.

The work is a typical example of Ahmadzai’s use of scripture as form, as she frames the flower dye washes with lines taken from poetry and philosophy that the artist is influenced by. In accord with her take on the biblical story, the text is also meant to challenge the written scriptures that have, at times, been manipulated to oppress women. Ahmadzai draws from her fascination with Mughal and Persian miniatures and employs the formal qualities of minimalism to achieve a unique language rooted in the feminine. Alongisde Havva ki Nakahi, this is also apparent in Siyaah where the motif of an abstracted yet anatomical bleeding heart sits against delicate washes of flower dye and accents of gold, suggestive of a boldness as well as an extreme vulnerability.

Arshi Irshad Amadzai, born in Najibabad in 1988, received her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Aligarh Muslim University, 2011 and a Masters in Fine Art from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 2013. Her deep engagement with womanhood and its multifaceted nature challenges the patriarchy rooted in history and religion. She does so with a language she has developed using several recurring motifs and a repository of poetry, philosophy as well as personal anecdotes that she draws from, with text occupying a significant space in her practice.

Havva ki Nakahi
 Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai
Flower dye paste, gold leaf and ink on Manjarpath fabric
 H: 46 cm x W: 40 cm
Accession No.