Growing up in Lahore, Pakistan, and now living in the United States, I am fascinated by the physical occupation of space by the body and the norms and laws that govern it as a political subject. My paintings, sculptures, installations, and performances use the body as both medium and subject. I am interested in exploring the nuances of contemporary narratives within the materiality of the work by using multiple everyday objects in my artwork, ranging from empty bullet casings collected from around NYC shooting ranges to objects of healing and trauma collected from individuals in NYC, Lahore, and Miami.
One object that has always captivated my attention from my motherland is called Peyti- a traditional South Asian metal trunk to store things while traveling or to store household goods. This specific object carries a rich history and cultural symbolism, I use Peytis asa allegory for a container of emotions, memories and belongings; it carries strong connotations with dowry and one’s social/economic status traditionally. The work is inspired by my childhood memories of constantly packing and unpacking these trunks every two years as my family moved nationally and internationally following my father’s postings in the air force.
In my recent exhibition, “Meray Dil, Meray Musafir” (My Heart is My Traveler), I have utilized the elements from traditional crafts amalgamating with contemporary art-making techniques of mixed media, AI, researched documentation, installation, and other found objects to represent concepts of migration, displacement, and belonging. My new works encompass large-scale paintings, 2d/3d sculptural pieces using cutting, flattening, and crunching the metal sheets. I aim to create nuanced narratives and interpretations that challenge our assumptions about what it means to belong and behold.
QinzaNajm is a Pakistani-American interdisciplinary artist based in New York City and Lahore. She received her academic training from Bath University England and at the Art Students League of New York under the mentorship of renowned artist Larry Poons.
From more than a decade now, Najm’s has been vigorously exhibiting her works in New York and
Internationally with experience of working beside prestigious institutions like Queens Museum (NY),
Christie’s Art (Dubai), Art|Basel (Miami, FL), and the Museum of the Moving Image (NY), Karachi Biennale (Karachi, Pakistan), Spring Break Art Show (NYC), among others. She has also participated in numerous artist residencies throughout the globe with a prominent one at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). In her recent achievements, she was selected for Bronx Museum, NYC Fellowship with an upcoming show in 2024.
Her work centers on the transformation of everyday materials and objects to create immersive experiences that tap into the collective history and evoke critical reflection. By addressing social issues and cultural traumas her art challenges social norms and explores the complex relationship between the human body, identity, and power. Najm aims to create empathy and understanding between diverse communities, encouraging the viewer to reconsider their relationship with the world around them. Her work has been featured in prominent publications including ArtNet News, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, NY Daily News, International Business Week, Herald and Public Art Journal.