Opening Reception for Three Faculty Exhibits: Mahwish Chishty
February 5, 2020
5:00 pm-7:00 pm
Herter Art Gallery
UMass Amherst Campus
As a dual citizen (Pakistan and United States), Mahwish Chishty has focused her research on border relations of these two countries for almost a decade. Last summer, Chishty embarked on a journey from Lahore (her hometown) to Danyore (a small town in the Northern Pakistan towards Khunjerab Pass which is the world’s highest elevation border crossing and the friendliest border in Pakistan) in search of one individual, Ali Ahmedi. Ali is a local civilian from Danyore who has been sweeping the graves of Chinese workers for many years to pay respect and to honor their sacrifice. This cemetery is the final resting place for 88 Chinese workers that lost their life building the ‘Peace highway’ in the Karakorum ranges.
The complexity of Pak-China relations as a direct and indirect result of the CPEC (China- Pakistan Economic Corridor) project are captured in this five-channel video installation. Chishty sees this project as an extension of her previous projects that combine her interests in Pakistani traditional folk art/culture and contemporary politics: Wagah border series, Drone art series and Basant, Let’s go fly a kite.
Initially trained as a miniature painter from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, Mahwish Chishty has aggressively combined new media and conceptual work with her traditional practice. Chishty has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues like University of Technology (UTS Gallery) Sydney, Australia; Boghossian Foundation– Villa Empain. Brussels; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MOCADA), Brooklyn, NY; Imperial War Museum, London, UK and Gandhara Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan among others. By camouflaging modern war machines with folk imagery, Chishty is shedding light on the complexity of acculturation, politics and power.
Chishty has been awarded several residencies including Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY ; Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; and Vermont Studio Center, Vermont, NY. Ms. Chishty also has works in public and private collections including the Foreign office Islamabad, Pakistan, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka Shi, Japan and Imperial War Museum, London. Chishty is also a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.
Herter Art Gallery is located at the north end of Herter Hall west of the Fine Arts Center. Public parking is available at all times behind the Robsham Visitors Center and at meters along Haigis Mall. Nights and weekends parking is also available in Lot #71, west of the Whitmore Administration Building.