Ashes to Ashes
Sullivan+Strumpf | Singapore
27 April - 2 June 2019
Artist in conversation with Savita Apte: Saturday, 27 April, 4-5pm
Opening reception: Saturday, 27 April, 5-7pm
Ashes to Ashes at Sullivan and Strumpf marks Adeela Suleman’s first solo exhibition in Singapore. In a career that has spanned more than twenty years, Suleman, who is both an educator as well as a practicing artist, is renowned for her continued commitment to sculptures that are aesthetically beguiling, socially critical, culturally rooted and universally relevant.
The works exhibited in Ashes to Ashes, should be seen both as an advancement, as well as a continuation of Suleman’s engagement with the narration and documentation of violence. Moving beyond the meticulously crafted, seductive miniatures of late 16th and early 17th century Akbari manuscripts, which Suleman quoted in earlier works, precisely because this apogee of miniature tradecraft masked violent death in poetic valour and bejewelled beauty, Suleman’s current works reflect the escalating brutalism and omnipresent malevolent, metastatic embeddedness of local and global violence.
From the very beginning, Suleman’s sculptures have mined personal experience and biography: the concept and the unlimited potentialities of the domestic domain particularly appealed to Suleman. Her early works repurposed prosaic kitchen utensils, initially into protective headgear for women and later into connubial missiles causing cultural commentators to align her practice with vernacular popular art and/or South Asian feminism. Rather than conform to what she considered the closed strictures of feminism, however, or be constrained by any other fashionable ‘isms’, Suleman’s sculptures continued to incorporate quotidian objects while her practice echoed her urban concerns and moved beyond the boundaries of gender, extending both the content and context of her works.