Rehana Mangi

Rehana Mangi

artist bio

Rehana Mangi was born in 1986, Larkana in Sindh, Pakistan. She opted to specialize in Miniature painting at the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 2007. Currently based out of Lahore, Mangi has taken part in various Solo and Group shows around the globe: Emerge Gallery, Paris at international Art fair, Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong (2015) The Lives Of Lines at Canvas gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2014), MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen, Germany (2014), From Hair to Eternity at Rohtas 2, Lahore, Pakistan (2013), Mere Humd (r)um at Aicon gallery, New York (2012), Intimate Pictures at Gandhara Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2011). Drawn from life at Abert Museum and Gallery UK (2011). Green Cardamom at Art fair Hong Kong (2011), Pacific Asia Museum California USA (2010), Through Other Eyes Contemporary Art from South Asia Herbert Art Gallery, at Swansea, Aberystwyth, Wales, England (2009) and many more. Her works are part of important private collections across three continents. She has developed a unique approach towards contemporary miniatures and continues her pursuits as a practicing artist.

artist statement

I have a habit of unconsciously collecting fallen hair, in order to prevent “Black magic” (a supernatural evil power which is often practiced on human hair) which I inherited from my grandmother. In my final year at college, I was losing a lot of hair due to stressful circumstances and during that period I became detached from my surroundings. In order to counter my depression I started meditating, which helped me to discover myself and recall my childhood memories. I started practicing “Cross-stitch” again, a form of counted thread embroidery that I had learnt when I was twelve years old. It is a complex technique in which every stitch and pattern created is counted and calculated. I introduced hair into my works as a metaphor for loss and death, and I picked colourful patterns from my childhood memories - like flowers and butterflies stitched on pillow covers back in Larkana. I started to stitch these patterns on wasli paper using the fallen hair that I had already collected, to avoid the probability of black magic as per my cultural belief. This led me to develop the idea of giving them a beautiful shape and making them useful again. The execution of that idea is a meticulous process that involves making grids, punching holes and then stitching the fallen hair into the patterns.

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is my mother’s wish for putting up “beautiful curtains” in our home. We have beautiful curtains in our house now, but this simple desire had remained out of our reach through all the years that I was growing up in our village home. This and other such simple, yet impossible desires form the context of my current practice.

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