Event Information

Internationally acclaimed artist Adeela Suleman is known for her works exploring social and political issues, particularly the links between historic and contemporary violence experienced in her home city Karachi, Pakistan. This will be her most comprehensive solo exhibition at a public gallery in the UK. 

Suleman employs recurring motifs such as organic subjects including birds and flowers to form detailed, repetitive patterns, referencing the decorative traditions of the Mughal style. Notions of loss and disappearance quietly resonate through her sculptures. 

The exhibition features a selection of works including film projections, metal repoussé work, ceramic plates, intricate applique and installation. Traditional crafts, such as appliqué, are used to make domestic quilts which incorporate storytelling and pass time for women after the daily chores in rural areas of Pakistan. Each stitch and layer is embedded with memory, colossal pain and loss. Suleman ornaments and embellishes the cloth with hand embroidery, beads and sequins.

A commission has been created with Suleman and a group of Birmingham artists and makers, specialising in stitch and appliqué artwork. This collaborative project is inspired by traditions practiced by women in the Sindh province of Pakistan, who come together to create textiles while sharing skills and stories as part of the making process. 

The exhibition features The Killing Fields of Karachi, an installation and video representing the victims of extra judicial killings as the result of alleged police encounters, alongside Harbingers of Death - a newly commissioned installation comprising a sound work and 444 crows within a room which visitors are encouraged to enter to experience an overwhelming sense of foreboding. In mythology and superstition, crows are considered an omen of bad things to come. 

Many of the works focus on the systematic violence experienced daily in Karachi, her work acts as a memorial to the victims, but also an interrogation of the juxtapositions of art and beauty, creativity and destruction.

A selection of catalogues detailing Adeela Suleman's work and past exhibitions are available to buy in MAC's shop and online.

With support from Art Fund. Special thanks to Henry Moore Foundation, John Feeney Charitable Trust, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and The Roughley Trust for their generous financial support. Presented as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

Adeela Suleman, Untitled (detail), 2021-22. Appliqué with hand embroidery on Jamawar and Banarsi silk. Courtesy the artist.

Adeela Suleman: Allegory Of War

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