At Art Brussels 2018, Tiwani Contemporary presents 'Held' - a suite of three monumental paintings by Mequitta Ahuja encompassing the artist's contemporary, historical, painterly, personal and political concerns.
At Art Brussels 2018, Tiwani Contemporary presents Held - a suite of three monumental paintings by Mequitta Ahuja encompassing the artist's contemporary, historical, painterly, personal and political concerns. "My central intent is to turn the artist's self-portrait, especially the woman-of-colour's self-portrait, long circumscribed by identity, into a discourse on picture-making, past and present," writes Ahuja.
In each of the three large paintings, the objects held by Mequitta Ahuja's subject are of singular importance: a photograph, a slip of paper, a prism. In Renaissance Woman (2016), she distils into a single picture several themes of colonial America: the conventional pose of American women during the era derived from English mezzotints, the historical erasure of black people and interest during the period in the discoveries of Isaac Newton (Ahuja's subject holds a prism to demonstrate her skilled manipulation of light and colour).
In Sales Slip (2017), Ahuja portrays her subject with and within her paintings. She is author, owner, subject and seller. In Birthright (2017), she sits with a family heirloom, a scrapbook assembled in the 1920's. Written on the back of the photograph held by her subject are the words "Aunt Gertie." This unknown ancestor is the true subject of Ahuja's work. In gesture and expression, she exhibits her pride, self-possession and freedom.