We Leave, We Never Leave, We Return Endlessly


Ruby Chishti returns to Twelve Gates Arts with her first solo show at the gallery. Chishti is a sculptor who was born and lived much of her life in Pakistan before moving to the United States. She earned a BFA at the National College of Arts in Lahore; she also trained in sculpture and bronze casting at El Dorado Center in Placerville and at Art Foundry Gallery in Sacramento, respectively.

Her practice is informed by the experience of caring for her paralyzed mother for a decade after graduating from art school during the repressive regime of Zia-ul-Haq. When Chishti resumed her practice she began using materials from the home, like fabric, and processes considered as mundane, “low” or craft, probably in reaction to the societal and situational restrictions she experienced in her life – and she has stated that these materials and processes were the only things that could express her visual voice, which has a humble, Sufi- influenced tone.

The pieces in this show evoke thoughts of 'home' in its literal sense of architecture, as well as in its emotional sense as a concept which universally affects - for better or worse - the human experience. Building off of her previous work, Chishti is concerned with the similarities between architecture and the body structure, as well as the philosophical intricacies of making such a comparison. The pieces comment on the nostalgic clinging to memories of places left behind or destroyed, which characterizes the imaginative construction of "their new lived [worlds]" by emigrants and refugees. She utilizes unwanted, discarded clothing to bridge a gap between fine art and 'low' craft, in particular doll and ralli-quilt making.

In this way, Chishti seems to challenge conditioned attitudes that encourage waste in favor of the 'new,' and from which develop forgotten inner worlds of displaced people as the inevitable by-products of such attitudes. Ruby Chishti began exhibiting work in Pakistan and the UK at the turn of the century, and since then she has shown work across the United States, as well as in India, Australia and Hong Kong, among others; in 2015 she showed work in Azerbaijan. Chishti has been artist in residence at the Harris Museum in Preston, UK (2001), she was the recipient of a Vasl Residency in Karachi (2006), as well as a Transparent Studio residency at Bose Pacia, NY (2012). She previously showed work at Twelve Gates Arts in Salaam Bombay: Beauty & Chaos in the Urban Environment in January-February 2013.