Historical past has a protracted custom of being recorded and handed down for generations through music and poetry. “Weight on Historical past,” Baseera Khan’s first solo exhibition in Houston, is a lyrical, psychedelic meditation on up to date popular culture, queerness, the immigrant creativeness, and the previous.
One of the crucial putting and monumental items right here is Painful Arc (Shoulder-Excessive), 2022, a twelve-foot-eight-inch-high sculpture of an Islamic arch that, through Khan’s ingenious rendering, supplies crucial perception into historic structure, sound, and subjectivity. These buildings possess an essential acoustic objective inside Islamic constructing design: Their concavities are meant to behave as resonators, magnifying and spreading sound waves. Supplies together with marble and ceramic tiles have often been used for his or her outstanding sound-enhancing properties within the creation of those arches. But Khan’s piece is produced from plywood and insulation foam, supplies that are likely to take in sound. This act of sonic subjugation reads as a playfully subversive gesture. Photos of the artist’s personal physique and a standing microphone are carved into the work, humorously inscribing Khan’s (aesthetic) “voice” into its surfaces.
On a close-by wall are works from the collection “Psychedelic Prayer Rugs,” 2017–18. These spiritual objects are emblazoned with conventional Islamic, queer, and pop-cultural motifs. One of many rugs options an Urdu poem that reads: “The correct to talk will be taken away, however not the proper to remain silent.” Sadly, this sense of quiet doesn’t play a serious position in Western political discourse; nonetheless, silence could be a highly effective formal ingredient in musical compositions and lyrical narratives. This stillness, nonetheless, doesn’t equal voicelessness, particularly in Khan’s Acoustic Sound Blankets, 2017–20. These sound-absorbing clothes with round gold-embroidered openings have been worn by the artist for varied dwell performances. Maybe these enigmatic, glamorous vestments have been designed to defend Khan from the surface world’s uglier forces, whereas permitting some type of essential bodily connection to these nearest and dearest to them.