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MFA Fellowship 2023
Fiza Khatri (Yale University) is a recipient of the 2023 Master of Fine Arts Fellowship in Painting & Sculpture.
Fiza Khatri was born and grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. Their practice is informed by the ethos and politics of feminist and queer space-making efforts in Pakistan, particularly its forms of relating to the self, the other, and the collective. They insist upon multi-species cohabitation, drawing from the poetic traditions and sacred ecologies of South Asia, as integral to the forging of collaborative living practices. Their work centers these practices in intimate portraits and scenes of gatherings of human and nonhuman inhabitants of their community. The scenes are extrapolated from lived experiences, archival research, and fantasy to blur boundaries between the invented and the real. In a visual language layering the atmospheric marks of an airbrush with the tactility of a paintbrush, they create unstable spatial narratives and temporal openings to construct fictions of living otherwise and performing alternate lifeworlds.
Khatri’s recent work features Gharial crocodile specimens (a critically endangered species native to South Asia) represented at the Yale Peabody Museum. Specimens embody the colonial impulse to capture, isolate, and categorize bodies as the “other.” This work offers a fantasy of repair by witnessing and reintegrating the paintings of the corcodiles into fictitious ecosystems featuring landscape and figurative elements from a sacred habitat in Pakistan.