Ubiquitous Follies

by Sara Khan

When someone comes from a very different place compared to where you grew up, you find you can still relate to each other on a more basic and human level. This connection comes from elsewhere, it is not common to cultural backgrounds or skin colour; instead, it comes from the minute details of our personalities. The atmosphere of the home you grew up in, the kind of mother you had, your interests; universal attributes which vary, but share a oneness in their “universal-ness.”

I study the repulsive and beautiful found in ordinary spaces and situations, and question the normalcy of the seemingly mundane matters in life. For example; as a child, the coziness of pretending the bed is a ship on a vast expansive sea belies the notion of it capsizing and drowning us. Or how close relationships between women can be warm and nurturing, but mixed in the flock are those present who want worshipers and followers instead of the honesty of friends and family. Or how a man inside a woman leads to the birth of another human; turning the woman into a mound of soil in which a human germinates like a plant from a seed, and in the process disfigures the woman to the limits of possibility.

It is in dealing with these observations that I draw them out, to find a place for things that are neither here nor there. Slowly laying out translucent layers of watercolour, I work toward pronouncing some areas, while covering others entirely, almost decoratively as if to say “you didn't belong, but now you do.” I leave some questions to chance, answer others more definitively, hovering somewhere between restraint and complete spontaneity. The idea is to develop a space or landscape with both extremes in it, the abhorrent and the fantastic. Coexisting to form one complete picture; thriving in the gray areas, it’s a subtle dance between “is it” and “is it not.”


Sara Khan was born in Birmingham, England in 1984 and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She holds a BFA (with honours) from National College of Arts, Lahore (2008). Her works have been featured in several national and international group exhibitions. She was selected as one among 13 international artists for the Bag Art camp, an international art residency in Bergen, Norway (2012). She was also selected to be a part of the 13 Satellites of Lahore, a public art work shop held at the Annemarie Schimmel Haus, Lahore (2006). She lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.