Misha Japanwala Creates Casts of the Human Body as an Act of Resistance and Resilience

Hannah Traore Gallery has unveiled a new solo exhibition by rising Pakistani artist and fashion designer, Misha Japanwala. Born in London and now based in New York, Japanwala captures the nuances of the human figure — a process she started by painting silicone and plastic on her own body. The resulting works are elegant sculptural casts that chronicles and celebrates stories of femme, queer, and trans lives in her native Pakistan.

For her latest show, entitled Beghairati Ki Nishaani, which translates to Traces of Shamelessness in Urdu, Japanwala presents new work that uses the body as a vehicle of resistance and resilience. In one series, Japanwala invited friends and strangers in her native Karachi to have their breasts molded. Some participants were recently divorced, another had breast cancer and wanted to have her nipple cast before undergoing surgery, while others, such as a young trans woman, sought to craft a new relationship to her body.

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Each of the breastplates are coated in bronze, copper and gold, along with chemicals on the surface to add an aged effect — a purposeful technique Japanwala uses to impart the idea that these objects will become excavated much like artifacts today. “Inverted, pierced, scarred, and textured, these interlinking nipple moldings form a dupatta, a chainmail of people who dare to live on their own terms,” wrote a release by the gallery.

Traces of Shamelessness will be on view at Hannah Traore Gallery in New York from May 4 until July 30.

In related news, Hypeart spoke with gallerist Hannah Traore for the latest Collectors.
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