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Adeela Suleman is a contemporary Pakistani sculptor and artist. She is currently the Coordinator of Vasl Artists’ Collective in Karachi, and is also the Associate Professor and Head of the Fine Art Department at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. She lives and works in Karachi, Pakistan, and is known for the social and political commentary underlying her sculptures, which are created out of mundane, everyday objects.
Early life & education
Adeela was born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1970. She first did an MA in International Relations from the University of Karachi in 1995, following which she switched her focus to art, completing her BFA in Sculpture from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi, Pakistan in 1999.
Adeela Suleman's work takes found domestic objects and materials from everyday life and transforming them into sculptures. "The everyday object, through its multiplication and assembly, becomes the delegate of a new, stimulating inner vision," she said. Her art has consistently reflected an engagement with contemporary socio-political concerns, primarily gender in Pakistani society, an engagement that has continued from her earlier university days.
Her early work displayed the transformation of found objects into art. A theme running through her earlier work is the restrictions that women face in the private sphere. She created helmets, body armour and corsets made out of kitchen utensils and other functional tools, to show the entrapment that the private sphere imposes upon women in Pakistani society. Her more recent work has moved towards flatter silhouettes, creating tableaux on steel sheets, where pastoral scenes are rendered in the filigree tradition of Islamic art on the hard steel surface. These pastoral images are juxtaposed with symbols of destruction like weapons, the contradiction in these images signifying the indifference of society to the violence present within it. Suleman's work displays recurring motifs of organic elements like flowers and birds.
- Art Festival: Urban Voices, Karachi, (2000)
- The Thakhti Show, Freer Hall, Karachi, Pakistan (2001)
- Imagined Workshop, 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Fukuoka, Japan (2002)
- Twenty-four Shots per second, Kara Film Fest, Karachi, Pakistan (2003)
- Spielen mit geladenem Gewehr (Playing with the loaded gun), Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel, Germany (2004)
- Urban/Culture, CP Open Biennale, Jakarta, Indonesia (2005)
- Flights of Fancy, Royaat Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan (2006)
- Confinement (solo exhibition), Commune Artist Colony, Karachi, Pakistan (2007)
- Uncertainty (solo exhibition), Gallery Rohtas 2, Lahore, Pakistan (2008)
- Farida Batool, Adeela Suleman and Tazeen Qayyum, Aicon Gallery, New York (2008)
- Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2008, 2009)
- Aicon Gallery, New York, USA (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014)
- Fiera Internazionale d'Arte Contemparanea, International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Bologna, Italy (2008)
- Video Loop '08, Barcelona, Spain (2008)
- Women of Light, Galerie Davide Gallo, Berlin, Germany (2008)
- Tradition, Technique, Technology – II; Contemporary artists from Pakistan - featuring Farida Batool, Ayaz Jokhio and Adeela Suleman, Aicon, Palo Alto, USA (2008)
- Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan at the Asia Society Museum, New York, USA (2009–10)
- The Emperor’s New Clothes: Dress, Politics and Identity in Contemporary Pakistani Art, Talwar Gallery, New York, USA (2009)
- Signs taken for Wonders: Recent Art from India and Pakistan, Aicon, London, UK
- After All It’s Always Somebody Else…, (solo exhibition) Aicon Gallery, New York, USA (2010)
- In Defisa, Fondazione 107, Turin, Italy (2010)
- Svelando l’Utopia, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy (2010)
- Resemble Reassemble, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India (2010)
- Drained (solo exhibition), Asia Triennial Manchester, Manchester Cathedral, UK (2011)
- Home Spun, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India (2011)
- Phantoms of Asia, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA (2012)
- Band Baaja Baarat, IVS Gallery, Dubai Art Fair, Dubai, UAE (2012)
- Indian Art Summit, New Delhi, India (2012)
- Mein – the Artist and the Self, Koel Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2012)
- I Had No Choice But To Hear You, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea, (solo exhibition) Turin, Italy (2012)
- Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (2013)
- Impulse (solo exhibition), Aicon Gallery Booth I-5 at Pulse Art Fair, New York, U.S. (2013)
- Towards the End (solo exhibition), Aicon Gallery, New York, U.S. (2014)
- Mapmakers III, Aicon Gallery, New York (2014)
- Black and Silver (solo exhibition), Alberto Peola Arte Contemporeanea, Turin, Italy (2015)
- Eat Pray Thug, Aicon Gallery, New York (2015)
- Sown Together, Aicon Gallery, New York (2016)
VASL Artists' Collective
VASL Artists' Collective is a non-profit organisation that organizes national and international collaborations between artists worldwide, bringing them together for periods of cultural and artistic exchange by offering residencies, art programs and events. Largely based in Karachi, VASL's work also sometimes extends to Islamabad and Lahore. It is affiliated to the Triangle Network, UK – an international network of artists and art organizations. Adeela Suleman is the founding member of VASL Artists' Collective.
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- "An interview with Adeela Suleman". State of the Art. 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "24 Hour Auction: Art Of Pakistan -Nov 7-8, 2012 -Lot 36 -Adeela Suleman". Saffronart. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
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- "Vasl International Artists' Collective". www.transartists.org. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
- "About Vasl – Vasl Artists' Association". vaslart.org. Retrieved 2018-03-03.