PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With works titled “Ultrasound,” “Specimen” and “Eve’s Punishment,” Mahnoor Hussain explores through her art deeply personal — and political — themes related to women’s mental health, infertility and loss.
Hussain’s paintings are on view at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs through May 31, in an exhibition titled “Digitizing the Miniature: Mahnoor Hussain and the Spirit of Feminism — Crafting digital narrative in classical Indo-Persian form.”
“While each piece is intensely personal, I hope my work also resonates as a powerful collective experience,” said Hussain, who lives in Cranston, Rhode Island. “The aim is that these artworks serve as a social commentary that implores a reevaluation of fundamental women’s rights, and for each brushstroke to transform into a tool of advocacy.”
Colorful and inviting at first glance, many of Hussain’s works feature depictions of a serious nature: for example, women undergoing medical procedures or experiencing the loss of a pregnancy. “I actually want to create a little discomfort for the viewer,” she said.
The exhibition is curated by Brown Ph.D. student Nainvi Vora and supported by the Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia at the Watson Institute and Brown's Department of History of Art and Architecture. It highlights Hussain’s contemporary approach to the ancient art of Indo-Persian miniature painting, which Hussain spent several years studying in her home city of Lahore, Pakistan.