Body memories, bawdy memories.
Before it enters the mind, an experience makes contact with the flesh. This stage is the rudimentary one; essential to the lesson but largely unexciting in the moment. The moment’s repression is not just psychic, but social. We are taught to mostly forget.

Next is the tactile stage. Here, things are felt as emotions penetrate the jaded armor of modern living. Memories arrested in space, in that nebulous region between effect and affect, are living internally, working from within.

The experience germinates, the idea proliferates; it is now a catchall for the bizarre, the irrational, the hallucinatory; it has been liberated from the body’s conscious mind.

After an unpredictable and undisciplined foray into memory and the alternative consciousness, lessons are unlearnt, the narrative deconstructed. Meanings that exist beyond the rational mind are assigned, freeing oneself of the dogma of established social cues and habits.

While the titular appellation evokes sensory ideas of the earthly, of the imaginative, of the flesh, of the unconscious, the words body and memory themselves are deconstructed to explore often stigmatized elements of the human and personal condition - both internally and externally. With their new works, Marium M Habib and Rabia Ali investigate, linger and reconstruct with whimsy the myriad experiences and people that colour their imaginations. Fact and history are entities bent and stretched, altered and reimagined, free from the constraints of aesthetic or moral concerns.

With an emphasis on the humanity of the subject and matter portrayed, Body Memories engages in the retelling of social and gendered stories, portraying the abstract and allegorical as foils for suffering and gateways to empowerment.

Noor Ahmed

 

We are all human and have the same experiences, we all feel the same things.

I use my practice as a bridge between the self and the collective. I think a lot about the context in which my experiences occur and invite people and animals to partake in my reimagining and revisiting of them.

An allegorical approach allows me the luxury of brutal honesty as I meander through social, cultural, political and most importantly gendered ideas. I construct narratives in bright colors and frantic gestures with chalk pastel on large sheets of paper. The whole exercise is both a search for closure and a way for me to reclaim the agency that one is assigned but not always allowed to exercise. 

While creating art and in retelling stories through my own viewpoint, I have complete control over every aspect. It is freedom and power.

Marium M Habib 

 

Scrutinising the intricacies of the human mind and its ability to rewrite and reinterpret past recollections forms the basis of my investigation. Dwelling over the inconsistency of memory, I explore the evolutionary perspective between the abstract landscapes of the past, and human imagination. Deep-rooted re-constructions occur within our subconscious, reshaping themselves in accordance to event and experience. The mind possesses the ability to generate false, psychic occurrences, giving rise to the understanding of impermanence and transience. 

By probing the realms of imagination, dreams and fabrication, the unsteadiness of one's milieu is underscored. Events in the past, in their truest sense, are lost  as they move forth through time, subject to imaginative reconstruction. Through whimsical texture and investigation of color, the pathways between imagined memory and the present bring to light concepts of transience, delusion, and subliminal fantasy.

Rabia Ali