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Pakistani artist Nausheen Saeed created a series of sculptures depicting women as luggage. I saw two of these at the Scope Art Fair this past weekend here in NYC and they were sort of jarring to literally stumble upon. The carpet-like patterned fabrics are wrapped around sculpted fiberglass giving a mummified look to them while the zippers, straps and handles make them look bound and enslaved. The notion of women as burden seems to be the implication, and after reading up a little on the artist, it appears she remarked the following on the series: “Since childhood, family elders, through concealed remarks, give girls the impression that they are a ‘burden’ that should be packed off in marriage as soon as possible.” Saeed sees luggage as a possession, and women in their roles of mother, wife, sister and daughter, always belong to others. Yet, what is stored inside can be deeply personal.
The top sculpture is titled Transitory, the one that follows Belonging and the third one down, Carrier. There is a fourth, not shown here, titled Handle with Care… thanks goodness.