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Abdullah Qureshi | Aziz Sohail | Zulfikar Ali Bhutt

Opening Reception: Friday, March 2nd, 6 - 8:30pm

Twelve Gates Arts presents an original set of collaborative works by contemporary artists Abdullah Qureshi, Aziz Sohail & Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Qureshi, founder of Gallery 39K in Lahore and Bhutto, have previously collaborated as curators of a five-show series titled Is Saye Kay Parcham Talay (“The Shadow Over Our Flag”), 2015-2016, which aimed to create inclusive conversations around minority rights and marginalization in Pakistan. Bhutto is also currently co-curator of The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience, which has instigated a national conversation around the politics of self-representation in the arts. In 2017, Sohail was a South Asian Studies Fellow at Cornell University and was the curator of Islam Contemporary, 2013.

Excerpt from Artists’ Statement:

‘Unruly Politics’, a proposed concept by the Indian queer activist Akshay Khanna, derives from the idea of ‘expectation that politics is to be conducted in a particular language’ through acts that must be normative and expected under the domain offered. What happens when one goes against this language or tries to brush the status quo? And, what type of tensions emerge? Seeing this as a point of departure, in this collaborative project, we examine notions of queerness and what that means in our current moment.

 What is Queer for us? Queer might be an identity we claim in the contemporary modern era, denoting/referring to a specific sexual identity, but it can also mean taking a stance. A stance to overthrow, critique and question dominant narratives of sex, society and existence. While, even amongst us as a group, the term itself is up for debate, we all agree with the late José Esteban Muñoz, that to be queer is to be outside the boundaries of ‘time and space’ and to ‘imagine better possible futures’. For us, as the centre shifts, queer continues to be always at the margins, resisting, probing, subverting and reimagining. We also acknowledge our complicity in the centre and the tension that arises from the intersection of the two.

 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is an artist, performer, zombie drag queen and curator of mixed Pakistani and Lebanese descent. His work explores complex identity politics formed by centuries of colonialism and exacerbated by contemporary international politics. Bhutto explores the politics of queerness, its intersections with Islam and how it exists in a constant liminal and non-aligned space.  Bhutto is currently an artist in residence at SAFEHouse for the Arts, curatorial resident at SOMArts Cultural Center and is a fall artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Bhutto is currently based in the Bay Area from where he received his MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in the summer of 2016.  Today he works as a teaching artist, community arts facilitator and part time unicorn in San Francisco.

 Aziz Sohail is a curator, writer and arts manager. His creative practice focuses on the investigation of margins and under-researched histories, and their relation to the contemporary moment. He has engaged in several curatorial projects, residencies and educational positions with organizations in the United States, Pakistan and the UK including the City of Pittsfield (MA) Office of Cultural Development, the National College of Arts, Lahore and The New Art Gallery Walsall (UK), supported by the British Council Connecting through Culture Programme.

 Abdullah Qureshi is an artist, educator and cultural producer. Within his practice, he is interested in using painting to address personal histories, traumatic pasts, and childhood memories. More broadly, through his research, he is interested in expanding ideas of queerness, sexuality, and masculinity in Pakistan. Qureshi’s work has been widely exhibited in Pakistan, and he has held numerous positions at cultural and educational institutions including British Council and the National College of Arts, Lahore. In 2017, Qureshi received the Art and International Cooperation fellowship at Zurich University of the Arts, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University in Finland.

Gallery hours are Wed - Sat: 11-5 and by appointment. For additional information please contact Aisha Zia Khan at (215)253-8578 or by email:

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