AYESHA DURRANI did not embark her path as an artist until after she was married. Her artwork explores issues of female bondage and arranged marriages in Pakistani culture. Prevalent images in Durrani’s work include roses and mannequins. The artist believes the like roses, women are passionate and precious, but often end up crushed. Similarly, like headless mannequins, women are expected to be innocent and dumb, without a personality. In this fashion, the artist draws out feminist topics in her work with a beauty and controversy that resonate with the rest of the world.
Explaining her position in an interview with Asainart.com, Durrani notes, “On a bus to the NCA [Lahore’s National College of Arts], some students asked me if I was a feminist. ‘Was I feminine? Do you believe in equal rights?’ my classmates continued. I said, ‘No!’ There was silence. ‘No, I want more rights, I would not be content with just equality! I love my husband, love looking after him and I love it when he takes care of me. I enjoy this. I want it all, freedom, choice and being looked after.’”
Durrani received her Bachelor’s degree in Miniature Painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2003. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Law from Jinnah College for Women in Peshawar, Pakistan. Her first solo show was ‘Pieces’ at Aicon Gallery, New York, in 2009. She exhibited extensively in group shows at galleries in Karachi and Lahore over the course of her artistic career. Durrani was a resident artist at The Vermont Studio Center in 2006; and Karachi’s VASL in 2005.