Untitled #11 (From Batin)


Saubiya Chasmawala’s recent series of works employs materials like ink and calligraphy tools that speak of filial as well as political histories of mark-making, to situate them in the present context of drawing as performance. As Skye Arundhati Thomas writes in the catalogue for Chasmawala’s solo show Batin, “It is as though she renews an ancient practice—of chanting, collectivity and togetherness.”

Reminiscent of the gestures performed by Abstract Expressionists in the 1950s, Chasmawala approaches the picture surface in a meditative yet urgent manner, selecting parts of the Arabic scripture and repeating them until rendered meaningless, enabling an abstraction that blurs the boundaries between text and form. The process itself becomes the anchoring of her practice, where the viewer is left to encounter residues of her bodily movements – fierce, gentle and contemplative.

Saubiya Chasmawala’s (b.1990) process-driven practice is an investigation into the collective memory and history of the Alavi Bohra Muslim community. Having interned under the paper artist Anupam Chakrobarty, she delves into her family’s archive of photographs, anecdotes and rituals and translates them into bold retellings on paper – her material of choice. Her inclination to working with this surface is also telling of her admiration for Nasreen Mohamedi, a pioneering modern artist who is best known for her drawings on paper.

Untitled #11 (From Batin)
Saubiya Chasmawala
Ink on Paper
H: 21.3 cm x W: 29.7 cm
Accession No.