Hamra Abbas

Object Lessons
Anna Sloan, 2009

This publication focuses on the work of Pakistani-born, Boston-based artist Hamra Abbas (born 1976). Straddling a range of media, including paper collage, painting, sculpture and video, Abbas' activities adopt a playful approach towards the traditions of her native region. Appropriating the iconography of the Kama Sutra or drawing on Islamic decorative geometries, Abbas creates new platforms from which to conceive notions of culture and exchange. In the work "Read," for example, a labyrinthine wooden structure is suspended in the air, while concealed speakers play the sound of children learning the Qur'an. Object Lessons captures the range of Abbas' oeuvre, mirroring its diversity by calling on many critical voices. Eight curators and academics each focus on a specific work, taking a detailed look at a particular aspect of her work. The book also features an in-depth interview with the artist.