My work is an active and engaged prayer that seeks to delve into the untold narratives of human emotions, the lives we are born into and then limited by. Through painting, sculpture, and poetry the pieces in my body of work explore the human capacity for tenderness and vulnerability. I capture nostalgia, sorrowful sweetness, romance, ephemeral femininity, grief, and pain. Drawing inspiration from tarot cards, runes and the Quran; I explore how my unique placement within different forms of systemic oppressions, and cultural conditioning affect how I think of the world, and how it taught me to think of myself.
My pieces seek to explore the surreal landscapes of human consciousness. Paintings are created with woven constructed tapestry oil paintings. I begin each piece with a portrait on canvas, the heart of the painting. On separate pieces of canvas I paint objects, maps, and botanical gardens that symbolize experiences and history of the subject/s. The symbolic images are then sewn to the core (the portrait), as a border; to give shape, insight, or a glimpse of what lies behind the surface of a face. The sculptures are created using found and previously used fabrics, embroidery, beading, and paintings on canvas.
I create to humanize identities of people regardless of ethnicity, education, sexuality, or gender. As a Black, lesbian, multilingual, and intersectional feminist in an art world designed by and for white, heteronormative-masculinity, I own the tools to create this political work. This is my purpose as an artist.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ibtisam Tasnim Zaman is a Black Lesbian American, conceptual, multidisciplinary, intersectional feminist and self-taught artist. Her art practice consists of creative writing, spoken word poetry performance, narrative painting of BIPOC people, and community art projects. Her work draws inspiration from Persian Islamic geometric art, Indian classical art, surrealism, and magical realism. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ibtisam moved at age six to England, followed by the UAE. Her mother made the decision shortly after 9/11 to escape the violence that Muslims and BIPOC are still facing today. From thirteen onwards, she lived between the UAE and India over the proceeding nine years.
Ibtisam’s work has been exhibited nationally with New York Health and Hospitals Arts and Medicine Program in collaboration with Residency Unlimited, funded by the Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund. She has also exhibited in group and duo exhibitions, and recently completed a residency at Governors Island through Residency Unlimited at KODA house. She has performed her poetry for Ruckus, and at Columbia University, in New York. In addition, she has taken part in academic panel discussion concerning Blackness, femininity, and healing, and been invited as a guest lecturer to Montclair University . Zaman will be featured in the upcoming The Ither Art Fair Brooklyn in November 2023. In 2024, she will be an artist in residence at Wave Hill in the Bronx, and Zaman will be showcasing her solo exhibition with APAC ( African Peach Arts Coalition) funded by New York Council on The Arts, at Latchkey Gallery.
© Ibtisam Tasnim Zaman