Arts Writing Artist Features

Sabina Haque

Sabina Haque. 2014 Individual Artist Fellow, Oregon Arts Commission.

Photo: Sabina Poole

Originally published January, 2014

Sabina Haque’s current work is a stop-motion animated installation and video performance entitled Remembrance, bearing witness to the socio-political ruin wrought by drone warfare carried out by the United States military in eight countries, including Haque’s native Pakistan. Stills from the work in progress include too many tally marks to count inscribed in white chalk on a black wall, the silhouette of a drone, and images of the artist manipulating a great white cloth that eventually becomes soaked in a blood red, staining the floor of the space from corner to corner. Another still has a quotation inscribed in chalk, “I no longer love blue skies. I prefer grey skies. The drones don’t fly when the skies are grey.”
Haque plans to develop drawings from Remembrance into a series of hand-printed etchings she will work on during during her Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency in Sitka, OR this year. She will send these prints and the film to Karachi, Pakistan to show at Koel Gallery, which represents her. The etchings from the printmaking residency will be included in the collections of the Portland Art Museum and The Jordan Schnitzer Print Collection. In addition to the Koel Gallery exhibition, Haque will show this new body of work in Portland and Houston. During the Portland exhibition, Haque plans a panel discussion and workshop with members of the PSU Departments of Fine Art, Technology and International Studies on “exploring our relationship to place, political and historical memory.”

Raised in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan, by her American and Pakistani parents, Haque has spent half her life in America. “This cross-cultural experience,” she has said, “informs my art, which presents imaginary, dreamlike places as a way of exploring time, memory and shared emotion. I blend Persian miniatures, oil painting and digital media to create alternative realities.”

For example, the Nishana War Games series of paintings and etchings recasts digital maps of Karachi from the video game Call of Duty into brightly colored surreal and ethereal abstracted water/sky/landscapes. Haque looks at the project as an effort to reclaim the city of her childhood, to reconcile, as she says, the virtual drone’s eye view and her lived experience.

Haque’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at Avampato Museum of Art, West Virginia; Bowery Gallery, New York; the Boston Contemporary Art Center; the Los Angeles Arts and Cultural Center; the Lincoln Arts Center in Colorado; and the South Asian Visual Arts Center in Toronto. In 2013, Sabina had a solo exhibition at Koel Gallery, Karachi, along with a three-person show at Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan.
Haque received an MFA in Painting from Boston University in 1998 and joined the studio art faculty at Portland State University as the James DePriest Visiting Professor in Ethnic Art in 2006. She continues to teach at PSU part-time.

Courtesy of The Oregon Arts Commission.

Artist Credit: Sabina Haque

Exhibition: Oregon Arts Commission Fellows

Project Website

Oregon Arts Commission