Maria Khan’s solo show to open at Canvas Gallery Karachi

KARACHI: At a time when most of Pakistani visual culture is trying hard to be gratifying, Maria Khan’s work is a breath of fresh air. Bringing traditionally unglamorous characters to life through her drawings is what first drew the art world to Maria Khan around 2013, stated a press release.

Khan completed her Masters from the prestigious National College of Arts where she graduated as an honours student in 2012. She is currently a faculty member at the College of Art and Design at Punjab University.


Khan’s choice of models for her portraits are usually imperfect, ie they are old or fat. In her work though, they are glorified instead of pitied, and shown to be reveling in their bodily reality, often placed in fantastical settings.

This theme has followed suit in most of her post-graduate work and organically the female figure took precedence to everyone else, comfortably exposed in her reality in age, sexuality and unabashed joy.


While the idea of pride and self-love is still consistent with her previous work, this time round Khan is fascinated with a new character. “I still include women in this show, but I’m really obsessed with old men.” In her new show opening at Canvas this Tuesday, titled, Vanity is Stronger than Love at Sixteen, she depicts many of the men she asked to model for her not as frail old beings, but harbingers of joy, often wearing cosy, comforting sweaters with bold prints such as stars and hearts and cupcakes, that are age-inappropriate but endearing. “The clothes and the background play an important role in the story of each character. They are wearing prints that one usually sees a child wearing, and are placed in a setting that is almost dreamlike,” she explains “settings and that are at odds with their expressions


For Maria the process is a journey of discovery; partly of self. She believes that these visuals are in our head but all of us have locked them away far from the eyes of the public. Unlike us these figures are comfortable in their skins and emotions regardless of the norms of the society they live in and very much like us they aspire for more – love, beauty, power and the stars.

The show opens on Tuesday January 9, 2018 at Canvas Gallery Karachi at 5pm.

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Exhibition will continue till 10th of November

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