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Saberah Malik

Bountiful, 2020, Polyester fabrics, antique metal tray, Courtesy of the Artist.

Hear from the Artist



My name is Saberah Malik. I am exhibiting two works at the Newport Biennial 2022, titled Bountiful and Habitats Unknown.

My process is simple yet painstakingly labor intensive. I stretch and tightly fit textiles onto artifacts; these are then boiled for the memory of the form to be permanently imprinted into the stretched or scrunched fibers. After cooling, the mold is removed and the form finished by hand-sewing.

At first glance, these delicate fiber works are nature-based still-lives quoting Islamic art traditions of arabesque, geometry and repetition. These could be motifs plucked out of a Mughal miniature painting or an architectural relief into a three-dimensional iteration.

Beyond the joy and serenity of these works, however, is a web of many underlying darker emotions. The pale, transparent, ghost-like apples are spirits of a crop destroyed, symbols of traumatic loss and grief, a memorial to the brutal destruction of apple orchards in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Habitats Unknown plays upon our ignorance of micro or macro communities where homes, habitats, are painstakingly built only to be destroyed by unbridled forces, perhaps rebuilt, or not. While the rest of the world moves on.

Stepping past the obvious, I like the idea of ambiguity in art interpretations. This allows the audience to find meanings to compliment or contradict their individual experiences, emotions, reactions and responses. Irrespective of my intent, I hope the content and the craft of these visual presentations will encourage you to ask more questions, find more answers for making our world more equitable, more habitable.

Thank you for spending time with my work.