Baseera Khan Wins Brooklyn Museum Prize
By Ruby Fung
On December 1, multidisciplinary artist Baseera Khan was named winner of the second annual UOVO Prize by the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Dedicated to emerging Brooklyn-based artists, the prize entails an unrestricted cash grant of USD 25,000, a solo exhibition at the Museum, and a commission for an installation on the facade of art storage facility UOVO: BROOKLYN, the award’s sponsor.
Born in Texas to Muslim immigrants from Bangalore, Khan is known for sculptures, multimedia installations, textiles, and performances that draw on disparate cultural references to engage with themes of identity, assimilation, otherness, and surveillance, particularly in the post-9/11 social and cultural landscape. After obtaining a BFA from the University of North Texas in Denton, the artist moved to New York in 2007, and graduated with a MFA from the Cornell University School of Architecture, Art and Planning in 2012. For the project iamuslima (2017), Khan embroidered the titular phrase onto a pair of Nike Air Force One mid-top shoes in remonstrance to the brand’s refusal to customize their sneakers with the words “Islam” or “Muslim.” Most recently, the artist displayed sectioned foam columns wrapped with patched Kashmir rugs for her solo show “snake skin” (2019) at New York’s Simone Subal Gallery as a gesture of resistance to institutional oppression.
Khan was chosen by a team of curators at the Brooklyn Museum. Carmen Hermo, associate curator for the Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, remarked in the press release: “Baseera Khan’s proposal for the Brooklyn Museum thrilled the curators with its poignant synthesis of historical and contemporary references. Their deep sense of care for their communities, razor-sharp critical foundations, and rich sense of humor imbue their work with both power and play.”
Curated by Hermo, Khan’s solo exhibition will be unveiled in 2021 along with their public art commission.
The inaugural UOVO Prize went to photographer and video artist John Edmonds, whose solo show “A Sidelong Glance” runs to August 8, 2021, at the Brooklyn Museum. Edmonds’s large-scale UOVO mural, depicting hands gripping a Baule wood sculpture of a mother and child, is on display until next spring.
Ruby Fung is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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