mna Asghar experiments with the a relationship between painting and printmaking on paper verses canvas to conduct her individual style.
By using Photoshop, airbrush, screen prints, and painting Asghar conducts an exploration of art through exanimating the West’s point of view of the East. As a Pakistani, Muslim American, Amna Asghar, was drawn to how the western world she grew up in depicted the eastern world were her parents came from. As a child she explored this narrative through the depictions of brown people in Disney’s Aladdin and Jungle Book cartoons.
Her interest in the color and depiction of the foreign landscapes drew her to find inspiration in her later in life from the works of Jean-Léon Gérôme, an Orientalist painter who brought his artistic view of his 1856 travels through Egypt back to all of Europe to see. Asghar goes against today’s narrative of ‘cancel culture’ and rather, as she describes, perverts the perverted.
“Disney and Gerome are done so well, but its perverted”
She was never uncomfortable working with the perverted rather found success in using lightness and humor to talk about certain things. Asghar would research her parents’ favorite Hindi Films, history lectures on Gérôme, Napoleon’s journey to the East from YouTube for 10-12 hours a day to find inspiration for her work. By exploiting the lack of ownership over how brown people are depicted, she finds that she can manipulate and find influence to create her own ownership of their work.
Through cropping images, and paying attention to the proximity of images in relation to each other the foundation of Asghar’s message to the viewer is set. Asghars’s use of text allows her to communicate along side the images to lead the viewer in the desired direction. Paintings are like portals to emotions, people, and places. Asghar paints the skies as a meditative practice to break away from the woes of the world today. These quiet moments looking at the sky are more meditative to counteract the uncomfortable experiences viewing the current administration and world today.
Asghar stands her ground in saying,
"Everyone makes identity work, but I am pigeonholed because of being a woman of color."
The identity of an artist is indirectly included within their work. There are many different identities east to west and all artist are identity artist no matter your location. In Asghar’s work she plays on the notion of ownership over images. Pondering the notion of who owns what, is their ownership of culture and relationships. She is more appreciative of how she is able to come in contact with her culture. For her the largest location of her individual culture only exists on the internet. She is able to reclaim and redefine how brown people are depicted by people from the west.