Second Glance/Double Take

A small exhibition, linked to the forthcoming "Beyond Islamophobia" conference, will take place in the foyer of the Khalili Lecture Theatre at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London from 7-14 June. ‘Second Glance/Double Take’ brings together works by Lahore- and London-based Pakistani fine artists that connect in both bold and subtle ways with the themes of the conference, which aims to examine the different forms and shapes Islamophobia takes; how it can be understood; and how society might think and see towards the more trusting intercultural relationships that may be established beyond it.

The large-scale and miniaturist paintings featured in the exhibition are by artists including the determinedly political and internationally-exhibited Faiza Butt, who now lives and works in East London; the Shia Hazara artist, Khadim Ali, who is based in Sydney; and Sajid Khan and Suleman Khilji, two emerging graduates from Lahore’s NCA. They explore in various ways how fears and impressions of a militant and terroristic Islam impact on the bodies and landscapes of "ordinary" Muslims – and in particular of young Muslim men of “fighting age” – both locally, and globally. Taking as material mug-shots and photo-stills excerpted from both the Western press and popular Pakistani culture, depicting the altered face of conveniently distant peoples and lands caught in the crossfire of the so-called “war on terror”, foregrounding images and retelling tales of peaceful Islamic practice and syncretism which unsettle predominant narratives, the artworks included in ‘Second Glance/Double Take’ function collectively to arrest and expand the audience’s gaze.

In 2014, in the UK, Muslim images continue to be constrained within predictable frames and their subjects rendered suspect. The visual artworks contained in the exhibition encourage viewers to look again: to take a second glance at mass-produced “representations”; to recognise how Islamophobic ways of seeing operate to manipulate and monopolise the gaze; and to retrain our attention on the much overlooked and misperceived Muslim lifeworlds that exist in their shadow. It is hoped that the contributions of Butt, Khan, Khilji and other contemporary Pakistani artists will help effect a “double take”, as we strive to see through and beyond stereotypical images of Muslims and towards the inculcation not of fear but of understanding.

 Madeline Amelia Clements

  • Click to enlarge image Faiza Butt_Does Our Past Have A Future 2013.jpg
  • Click to enlarge image Faiza Butt_Is This The Man 2010.JPG
  • Click to enlarge image Sajid Khan_Jashan 2014.jpg
  • Click to enlarge image Sajid Khan_Untitled 2012.jpg
  • Click to enlarge image Sajid Khan_Untitled.jpg
  • Click to enlarge image Suleman Khilji_Dreamers_2014.jpg
  • Click to enlarge image Suleman Khilji_Just One Man Beneath the Sky_2012.jpg

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