ART CRITICS ON MY WORK
Does the humanization of animals help to transcend the Eurocentric binary of human/animal and does it bring self-reflexive awareness? Or is it another form of inhuman colonization? How do we “identify” with the differences and continuities that separate and fuse being and non-being or self and Other? These are some of the questions that arise when one encounters Saroop Soofi’s taxidermied artworks. Soofi has been working with taxidermies for the past eight years, and is still interested in correlating them with animalty of being human. Her affair de coeur with taxidermied sculptures started during her BFA at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. Having experimented with a variety of non-conventional mediums, today she continues to explore several aspects of taxidermy at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her aestheticized taxidermies of dead animals - like Love Foolosophy (donkey sitting in a posture of a man holding a cushion), Darkness Within (an ostrich submerged in a panel with decorative patterns), Eternity (two rabbits composed against each other in a recessed rectangle) or Untitled (black and white pigeons entangled and intertwined together) - reflect on the civilizational barbarism inherent in the processes of “humanization”. Social factors in Pakistan like shooting rare birds and animals to assert marksmanship and masculine authority, also contributed to Soofi’s interest, adding another dimension of engagement with how ideas of power and dominance circulate and find expression within elite cultural forms like animal taxidermies. Although taxidermy is not a new art form and is embraced by many contemporary artists, Soofi playfully engages with the medium in order to find expression for different forms of violence, and to address the questions and complexities of otherness. Her first solo show of sculptures and taxidermy art works took place in 2012 at Alhamrah Art Gallery in Lahore, Pakistan. After graduating from the National College of Arts with a BFA in 2009 she moved to Canada to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts. Distance from her homeland, along with her status as a migrant, have brought a sense of identification with the different ethnic communities that make up the Pakistani diaspora here in Vancouver. Pakistan as an independent state founded in 1947 by the Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the threefold principle of “one nation, one culture, one language,” also celebrates the coexistence of its multiple ethnicities and diverse regions that is etched in its name. “Pakistan” is an acronym, in which “P” stands for “Punjab,” “K” for “Kashmir,” “S” stand for “Sindh,” and “tan” for “Balochistan.” Being aware of the irony that is inherent in any process of construction of nation - homogenization in the name of nation on one hand and celebration of diverse ethnicities on the other - made Soofi meditate on the contradictions of the concept of Nation. Concerned with the complexities of Otherness, and with the cultural violences, Soofi, through her diasporic experiences, attempts to enrich her body of work by reflecting on her ethnic Punjabi identity, and the dynamics of its sociocultural and political relationships with several regional communities within and outside Pakistan. In her works, she looks at two different phenomena. The first is the creation of a secular socialspace that, for several decades, has allowed the assimilation of cultures and the coexistence of different communities through a shared cultural ethos within Pakistan. The second is the process of “economic migration” which makes millions of people move outside Pakistan, leaving their native lands in search of better economic opportunities in the West. By means of her diasporic encounters, she seeks to contemplate the haunting memories - shared by many migrants - of an uninhabitable, distant land that was once home. By Art Historian Samina Siddiqui University of British Columbia Art History Visual Art and Theory Department
Saroop Soofi engages in a displacement of signifiers. Drawing on forms laden with reference to traditional Punjabi folk-tales and cultural practices, Soofi sharply questions the legacy of British colonialism in the Indian Subcontinent, as well as the nationalist violence engendered in its aftermath. A taxidermied bird becomes a metaphor for the active dissection of previously entangled ethnic and linguistic groups, and the production of colonial knowledge associated with them; a portable wooven cot - manji, known also as charpai in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Pashto and other languages - instantiates the spaces of precolonial history, and its intermingled realities, in life and in death. By Art Historian Ignacio Adriasola University of British Columbia Art History Visual Art and Theory Department
Soofi’s attempt to approach issues of great importance through a language that is rare is commendable. Her metaphors translate her message and make it understandable. The diction of animals used in her works, invokes base attitudes within us, which have become basic instinct these days. Soofi performs the actual (and expected) task of a creative individual: of being a mirror that is more real than reality. By Art Critic Quddus Mirza National College of Arts (Lahore) Fine Arts Department

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ART CRITICS ON MY WORK
Does the humanization of animals help to transcend the Eurocentric binary of human/animal and does it bring self-reflexive awareness? Or is it another form of inhuman colonization? How do we “identify” with the differences and continuities that separate and fuse being and non-being or self and Other? These are some of the questions that arise when one encounters Saroop Soofi’s taxidermied artworks. Soofi has been working with taxidermies for the past eight years, and is still interested in correlating them with animalty of being human. Her affair de coeur with taxidermied sculptures started during her BFA at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. Having experimented with a variety of non-conventional mediums, today she continues to explore several aspects of taxidermy at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her aestheticized taxidermies of dead animals - like Love Foolosophy (donkey sitting in a posture of a man holding a cushion), Darkness Within (an ostrich submerged in a panel with decorative patterns), Eternity (two rabbits composed against each other in a recessed rectangle) or Untitled (black and white pigeons entangled and intertwined together) - reflect on the civilizational barbarism inherent in the processes of “humanization”. Social factors in Pakistan like shooting rare birds and animals to assert marksmanship and masculine authority, also contributed to Soofi’s interest, adding another dimension of engagement with how ideas of power and dominance circulate and find expression within elite cultural forms like animal taxidermies. Although taxidermy is not a new art form and is embraced by many contemporary artists, Soofi playfully engages with the medium in order to find expression for different forms of violence, and to address the questions and complexities of otherness. Her first solo show of sculptures and taxidermy art works took place in 2012 at Alhamrah Art Gallery in Lahore, Pakistan. After graduating from the National College of Arts with a BFA in 2009 she moved to Canada to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts. Distance from her homeland, along with her status as a migrant, have brought a sense of identification with the different ethnic communities that make up the Pakistani diaspora here in Vancouver. Pakistan as an independent state founded in 1947 by the Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the threefold principle of “one nation, one culture, one language,” also celebrates the coexistence of its multiple ethnicities and diverse regions that is etched in its name. “Pakistan” is an acronym, in which “P” stands for “Punjab,” “K” for “Kashmir,” “S” stand for “Sindh,” and “tan” for “Balochistan.” Being aware of the irony that is inherent in any process of construction of nation - homogenization in the name of nation on one hand and celebration of diverse ethnicities on the other - made Soofi meditate on the contradictions of the concept of Nation. Concerned with the complexities of Otherness, and with the cultural violences, Soofi, through her diasporic experiences, attempts to enrich her body of work by reflecting on her ethnic Punjabi identity, and the dynamics of its sociocultural and political relationships with several regional communities within and outside Pakistan. In her works, she looks at two different phenomena. The first is the creation of a secular socialspace that, for several decades, has allowed the assimilation of cultures and the coexistence of different communities through a shared cultural ethos within Pakistan. The second is the process of “economic migration” which makes millions of people move outside Pakistan, leaving their native lands in search of better economic opportunities in the West. By means of her diasporic encounters, she seeks to contemplate the haunting memories - shared by many migrants - of an uninhabitable, distant land that was once home. By Art Historian Samina Siddiqui University of British Columbia Art History Visual Art and Theory Department
Saroop Soofi engages in a displacement of signifiers. Drawing on forms laden with reference to traditional Punjabi folk-tales and cultural practices, Soofi sharply questions the legacy of British colonialism in the Indian Subcontinent, as well as the nationalist violence engendered in its aftermath. A taxidermied bird becomes a metaphor for the active dissection of previously entangled ethnic and linguistic groups, and the production of colonial knowledge associated with them; a portable wooven cot - manji, known also as charpai in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Pashto and other languages - instantiates the spaces of precolonial history, and its intermingled realities, in life and in death. By Art Historian Ignacio Adriasola University of British Columbia Art History Visual Art and Theory Department
Soofi’s attempt to approach issues of great importance through a language that is rare is commendable. Her metaphors translate her message and make it understandable. The diction of animals used in her works, invokes base attitudes within us, which have become basic instinct these days. Soofi performs the actual (and expected) task of a creative individual: of being a mirror that is more real than reality. By Art Critic Quddus Mirza National College of Arts (Lahore) Fine Arts Department
ART CRITICS ON MY WORK
Does the humanization of animals help to transcend the Eurocentric binary of human/animal and does it bring self-reflexive awareness? Or is it another form of inhuman colonization? How do we “identify” with the differences and continuities that separate and fuse being and non-being or self and Other? These are some of the questions that arise when one encounters Saroop Soofi’s taxidermied artworks. Soofi has been working with taxidermies for the past eight years, and is still interested in correlating them with animalty of being human. Her affair de coeur with taxidermied sculptures started during her BFA at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. Having experimented with a variety of non-conventional mediums, today she continues to explore several aspects of taxidermy at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Her aestheticized taxidermies of dead animals - like Love Foolosophy (donkey sitting in a posture of a man holding a cushion), Darkness Within (an ostrich submerged in a panel with decorative patterns), Eternity (two rabbits composed against each other in a recessed rectangle) or Untitled (black and white pigeons entangled and intertwined together) - reflect on the civilizational barbarism inherent in the processes of “humanization”. Social factors in Pakistan like shooting rare birds and animals to assert marksmanship and masculine authority, also contributed to Soofi’s interest, adding another dimension of engagement with how ideas of power and dominance circulate and find expression within elite cultural forms like animal taxidermies. Although taxidermy is not a new art form and is embraced by many contemporary artists, Soofi playfully engages with the medium in order to find expression for different forms of violence, and to address the questions and complexities of otherness. Her first solo show of sculptures and taxidermy art works took place in 2012 at Alhamrah Art Gallery in Lahore, Pakistan. After graduating from the National College of Arts with a BFA in 2009 she moved to Canada to pursue her Masters in Fine Arts. Distance from her homeland, along with her status as a migrant, have brought a sense of identification with the different ethnic communities that make up the Pakistani diaspora here in Vancouver. Pakistan as an independent state founded in 1947 by the Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the threefold principle of “one nation, one culture, one language,” also celebrates the coexistence of its multiple ethnicities and diverse regions that is etched in its name. “Pakistan” is an acronym, in which “P” stands for “Punjab,” “K” for “Kashmir,” “S” stand for “Sindh,” and “tan” for “Balochistan.” Being aware of the irony that is inherent in any process of construction of nation - homogenization in the name of nation on one hand and celebration of diverse ethnicities on the other - made Soofi meditate on the contradictions of the concept of Nation. Concerned with the complexities of Otherness, and with the cultural violences, Soofi, through her diasporic experiences, attempts to enrich her body of work by reflecting on her ethnic Punjabi identity, and the dynamics of its sociocultural and political relationships with several regional communities within and outside Pakistan. In her works, she looks at two different phenomena. The first is the creation of a secular socialspace that, for several decades, has allowed the assimilation of cultures and the coexistence of different communities through a shared cultural ethos within Pakistan. The second is the process of “economic migration” which makes millions of people move outside Pakistan, leaving their native lands in search of better economic opportunities in the West. By means of her diasporic encounters, she seeks to contemplate the haunting memories - shared by many migrants - of an uninhabitable, distant land that was once home. By Art Historian Samina Siddiqui University of British Columbia Art History Visual Art and Theory Department
Saroop Soofi engages in a displacement of signifiers. Drawing on forms laden with reference to traditional Punjabi folk-tales and cultural practices, Soofi sharply questions the legacy of British colonialism in the Indian Subcontinent, as well as the nationalist violence engendered in its aftermath. A taxidermied bird becomes a metaphor for the active dissection of previously entangled ethnic and linguistic groups, and the production of colonial knowledge associated with them; a portable wooven cot - manji, known also as charpai in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Pashto and other languages - instantiates the spaces of precolonial history, and its intermingled realities, in life and in death. By Art Historian Ignacio Adriasola University of British Columbia Art History Visual Art and Theory Department
Soofi’s attempt to approach issues of great importance through a language that is rare is commendable. Her metaphors translate her message and make it understandable. The diction of animals used in her works, invokes base attitudes within us, which have become basic instinct these days. Soofi performs the actual (and expected) task of a creative individual: of being a mirror that is more real than reality. By Art Critic Quddus Mirza National College of Arts (Lahore) Fine Arts Department