Zara Asgher visual artist and educator from Lahore, Pakistan, currently living and practicing in Finland. She graduated from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2011. She was awarded the prize for the 10 Best Works of the Young Artists Exhibition, Day After Tomorrow in 2012, by the Punjab Arts Council, Pakistan. Asgher has participated in group shows nationally and internationally. She was awarded a full scholarship to pursue an M.A. in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education at Aalto University, Finland. She has worked on art educational programmes with the Espoo Museum of Modern Art and the Finnish Museum of Photography.
Displayed with us in 'The Spark'
Merry-Go-Round 2022 Etching 16 x 16 inches
Zara Asgher's practice is influenced by the themes of gender and sexuality and their relationship with their cities. We use the term ‘public spaces’ when in fact not all spaces render themselves accessible to certain genders or groups of people. She questions who makes up these places and the ways in which abstract notions of power that govern the outdoors, play out. We are instructed to perform and interact with each other in public spaces in certain mannerisms. In Pakistan, women do not occupy the streets the same way men do. We take the idea of movement for granted. By walking we break and reestablish our balance with our surroundings. To establish a relationship with one’s city, it is important to experience it on foot. By walking we establish a sense of belonging, a closer bond with our environment. When movement is restricted, a large part of self-identity is stripped away. Dependance on others rather than one’s own self is promoted as to keep the hierarchies of places intact. Drawing around Lahore is an integral part of research, observing movements of the different bodies that occupy these spaces. Drawing opens up a different channel of experiencing and understanding different bodies passing each other by in public spheres. It is a language in itself, one that is able to trace out various manifestations of power. These initial drawings translate into patterns or structures of the ways in which dominant bodies influence other bodies.