© 2016 by Sobia Ahmad

Three-Dimensional Works

Searching for Home

2018-ongoing

Hand embroidery on chiffon

15x30 in. each

                                          

Where is “home” for those who are uprooted? What does it mean to belong? My personal search for home and belonging is ongoing and ever changing. As an immigrant, I sometimes seek to be rooted to a place to call home. Yet, often my desire for home transcends notions of place, nationality, or country of birth. The question of belonging for me also shifts from group identity and community to the metaphysical realm - from the God outside to the Divine within oneself. I see this work as self-negotiation of belonging. I sit with these questions and give them physical form through thread on delicate chiffon in an effort to bridge the gap between the internal struggle and external reality, the invisible and the visible world of existence. The chiffon is not hemmed and may disintegrate over time as my understanding of self evolves, referencing the impermanence of all embodied existence, thoughts, desires and longings.

This two-part poem was written in a moment of desolation on August 11th, 2018, the night before Unite the Right rally took place in Washington DC.

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When Denied Home We Build a Memory Palace

2018

Digital collage on chiffon

Diptych, 36 x 16 in. each

Using images of my childhood home in Pakistan and collaged cultural symbols such as the Oriental rug, Islamic tiles, and my Urdu handwriting, this piece explores the metaphorical relation to home and belonging as an immigrant through images, language, and memory. 

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Part of Sadat Art for Peace Permanent Collection, 2016

 

Theme: Refugee Crisis 


"The Fear"
Ceramic tiles, ink
2016 

 

These tiny mosques are made of famous western towers and represent the widespread Islamophobia not just in the U.S., but generally in the West. The piece is a response to the U.S. government’s policy to drastically limit the number of Syrian refugees offered asylum and laments the government's incapacity to show empathy toward human beings fleeing the horrors of war.

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Part of Sadat Art for Peace Permanent Collection, 2015

Theme: “How have the 9/11 tragedy and our government’s reaction to it changed us and the world around us?”


"Arbitrary Boundaries"
Wood, Glass, Ink
2015

Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen 


Each of these countries differs drastically from the other politically, culturally, religiously, and ethnically. These differences make them each uniquely beautiful. Clumped together, however, by the U.S. government as sites for drone attacks, they become an unrecognizable mass, losing their idiosyncratic beauty. Clumped together, these countries become just a mass of arbitrary boundaries.

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"Fate"
Wood, plexiglass, ink
2015

In the Pakistani culture, like many others, lines on one’s palms are considered a fate-determining entity. I juxtapose scans of my hands and my Urdu handwriting to reimagine the concept of fate and its relationship to selfhood. The ink on the plexiglass produces shifting shadows with changes in light, causing the palm lines to transform. I question the idea of permanence in relation to identity and visualize the self as complex and inherently fluid, yet inevitably informed by many ever-changing internal and external forces.