With Pain, Comes Curiosity and Prayer

Written by Huda Hafeez | Visual Artist

On the artistic experiences of  Bisma Hussain

Recently graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the National College of Arts, Bisma is a 25-year-old artist living in Lahore. Previously, she has exhibited in an international online exhibition titled Art Influx at Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore. Interested in the field of Arts from a young age and despite pursuing her education in other fields, her heart was always inclined towards pursuing this field, which led her to her admission in the National College of Arts, and this is the main reason behind her practice; to shed paint on the forbidden and sensitive rather than just making something that appeals to the eye.

Aiming to voice awareness for anxiety, depression, and suffering through chronic pain, Bisma utilizes her personal experiences as chronic pain, making them tangible for others, allowing a visual experience by putting the ignorant in her shoes. The works are similar to having a collective experience rather than suffering alone. Bisma elaborates the struggle of endurance, staying staunch and, balancing her social life and mundane routine in a never-ending period of severe pain. She remains optimistic, for herself and the people around her, never showing her underlying traumas or making anyone feel threatened around her existence.

A true reflection of herself coping with ever alarming pain every day, the protagonists in her works can be seen putting themselves together while doing chores that are otherwise, harmless. The architectural settings of her work juxtaposed with multiple figures carrying each other in the washroom, bedroom, kitchen, and laundry do an accurate justice to the everyday struggle. Bisma talks about the uncertainty of being a chronic patient, saying, ‘Pain is my alarm’ as she further narrates the uninvited and uncertain nature of her pain. Her work also highlights her interests in pop and retro culture and cartoons.

She has composed her protagonists in a manner that gives them volume and individual voice. The places give a sense of personal space; they are dressed in night wears or sport wears, delivering cosy vibes.

This experiential narrative is developing a balance between inner traumas and social life, ultimately developing an air of comfort and positivity. The works break the silence on discussing anxiety and depression in society, as these discussions are often considered taboo. Bisma sheds light on the non-cooperative behaviors by the elders and the forbidden nature of such issues, encouraging individuals to speak, acknowledge and seek help before it becomes worse.

Bisma’s optimistic approach in unpredictable times is the reason behind her success as an artist and, a beloved and respected member of the young community.

May 03, 2021

CAN I?, Bisma Hussain, oils on canvas, All copyrights retained by the Artist, 2021.