Saima Usman

About

Artist, Researcher & Art curator.

Saima UsmanArtist Stockholm, Sweden

Saima Usman is an artist and curator, raised in Lahore, Pakistan. In 2011 she moved to Sweden and is today based in Stockholm. In her artistic exploration, she is interested in Orientalism, capitalism, subcontinental diaspora, postcolonialism, Sufism and Muslim feminism.

In her work, she mixes a variety of media such as paintings, textiles, drawings, poetry, AR & VR, animation, installation and performance. Among her most prominent works are “Lesser-Known Stories” funded by Konstfack University and Botkyrka Art Hall, as well as “Fear or Freedom” a mural textile collage which is a permanent installation and mural at Folkets Hus in Husby, Stockholm.
Saima strives to create sustainability and equality on earth by spreading knowledge, justice and peace through social, cultural and religious integration in today’s multicultural and globalized world.

Artist BioBridging Cultures Through Artistic Exploration

Saima Usman, a versatile artist born and raised in the culturally rich city of Lahore, Pakistan, brings a unique perspective to her artistic endeavors. Born into a historical and vibrant environment, Saima’s early experiences in Lahore profoundly influenced her artistic sensibilities. After completing her master’s studies in Textile Design, she embarked on a transformative journey that led her to Sweden in 2011.


In the serene city of Eskilstuna, Saima delved into her passion for art, particularly painting in acrylic medium. Over three years, she honed her skills and artistic vision, laying the foundation for her future endeavors. In 2014, she moved to Stockholm, where she pursued postgraduate studies at Konstfack University of Art, Craft, and Design in the Fine Arts department’s Curator Lab.


During her academic pursuits, Saima undertook a significant project titled “Lesser Known Stories.” Collaborating with Botkyrka Konsthall and Fittja Mosque, she aimed to unearth narratives that often remained overshadowed. Her project reflected her deep-rooted fascination with history and culture, a product of her upbringing in Eastern traditions and her exploration of diverse cultures upon migrating to Sweden.
Saima’s artistic exploration extends into themes of identity, culture, history, and migration. As someone navigating between the contrasts of Eastern and Western cultures, her work delves into the questions of existence and the complexities of migration, both politically and historically.


In her independent artistic journey at Transit Cultural Incubator, Saima delves into the intricate layers of her experiences. Her dedication to her craft earned her a certificate in Artistic Research from Stockholm University of Art. However, her artistic journey took a challenging turn when she became an eyewitness to the Quran burning incident, an event that left a profound impact on her mental well-being.
Navigating through the complexities of cultural identity, Saima turned her attention to exploring Muslim identity in Sweden. She grapples with questions about her existence and the reasons behind migration, examining these issues through political and historical lenses. Her work reflects a deep engagement with the theories of orientalism and imperialism, seeking to understand their implications on contemporary societal attitudes.


Drawing on her observations, Saima has come to the conclusion that Islamophobia is rooted in Eurocentric theories, emphasizing the urgent need for open discussions facilitated by art mediation. Her commitment to fostering dialogue on cultural and societal issues is evident in her ongoing exploration of potential solutions to bridge the gaps between diverse communities.


Saima Usman stands as a testament to the transformative power of art, using her creativity as a tool for understanding, dialogue, and social change. Through her compelling artistic journey, she continues to unravel the threads that connect us all, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries.

Artist Statement

In the tapestry of my artistic exploration, I traverse the realms of interdisciplinary expression, seamlessly weaving together diverse mediums to articulate a narrative that resonates with the intricacies of human existence. My creative journey encompasses a myriad of forms, from traditional silk miniatures that echo the heritage of bygone eras to zoomed-in perspectives that invite viewers into an intimate connection with the subjects. This exploration reflects a profound engagement with the multifaceted dimensions of the world around us.


As a storyteller with a brush, I embark on a quest to capture the essence of emotions and experiences. Each stroke carries the weight of history, a testament to my fascination with the intricate tapestry of Sufi traditions, mysticism, and spirituality.


My canvas extends beyond the tangible, delving into the intangible nuances of human existence. I am captivated by the resilient spirit of individuals, both women and men, as they navigate the complex tapestry of life. Through my work, I strive to give voice to the silent struggles, aspirations, and triumphs that echo across diverse landscapes.


Nature, with its ever-changing hues, holds an eternal fascination for me. The intricate dance of birds, the silent whispers of towering buildings, and the cyclical rhythms of life in the natural world inspire me to explore the delicate balance between urban landscapes and the sanctity of untouched environments.


Religion, with its profound impact on cultures and societies, becomes a lens through which I examine themes of spirituality, gender equality, and human rights. My canvas becomes a sacred space to explore the mysticism embedded in Sufi traditions, fostering a dialogue that transcends the boundaries of faith and resonates with the universal quest for meaning.


In this diverse tapestry of themes and mediums, my work becomes a testament to the interconnectedness of the human experience. Through brushstrokes and words, I strive to initiate conversations about identity, culture, and the shared human journey. My artistic expression becomes a call for reflection, fostering an understanding that transcends differences and embraces the shared threads that bind us all.

As an artist, I paint and write down what I scream deep down with power. My art serves as a colorful voice that has the ability to reach far and contaminate itself before returning, just as an echo. Through my art, I am able to express emotions that may be difficult to convey through words alone. By utilizing colors and visual elements, I can communicate my innermost thoughts and feelings in a way that is both powerful and resonant. I believe that art has the ability to transcend boundaries and speak to individuals on a universal level. By sharing my colored voice through my artwork, I hope to inspire others to connect with their own inner selves and express their own unique voices.

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