Born in Canada (1984), Alia Bilgrami moved to Pakistan when she was seven and then lived in Karachi, Pakistan for most of her life. This move from Canada to Pakistan marks an important period of her life as she repeatedly explores the meaning of displacement, whether it is physical, emotional or even spiritual.
Bilgrami completed her BFA from Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Karachi in 2008 and went on to do her MFA from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London in 2010 where she won the Cecil Collins Memorial Award for Drawing.
She formerly used cardboard boxes as symbols for expatriation, recently replacing them with tulips. Tulips, due to their vastly diverse interpretations in different parts of the world during the Mughal Era, have become Bilgrami’s favourite symbol. The flower that represented beauty, love and sentimentality in the East was a symbol for Capitalism and wealth in the West. Thus, Bilgrami is successful in narrating her ideas about dislodgment and imminent chaos. The artist believes that the idea is very relevant as the people of the subcontinent have repeatedly experienced this phenomenon.
Alia Bilgrami currently works as Curator for Khaas Art Gallery, Islamabad along with actively pursuing her own studio practice. She has exhibited both locally and internationally. She was a Sovereign Asian Art Finalist in 2015 and won the Schoeni Public Vote Prize that same year. She mostly works with drawing, photography and contemporary miniature painting. Her work was a part of a two person show in 2009 followed by Doppelganger in 2015.
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