Feminist View of Pakistan:
Umber Majeed is a Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts

Since 1999, Deutsche Bank has collaborated with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) on its annual NYFA Artist Fellowships. In addition, a mentoring program has been launched expressly for artists with a migration background. The Fellowship was initiated to offer young, up-and-coming artists better opportunities in the art world and to introduce their work to a wider audience. The Fellowship also includes the purchase of a work for the Deutsche Bank Collection.

The interdisciplinary artist Umber Majeed, who lives in New York and Lahore, was selected as a fellow for 2020. Born in New York in 1989, Majeed studied in Pakistan, New York, and Lebanon. In her drawings, collages, digital animations, installations, and lecture performances she critically examines ideological, social, and geopolitical changes in Pakistan and Southeast Asia as well as the experience of cultural hybridity in the diaspora. In speculative, often surreal and humorous narratives, Majeed investigates patriarchal structures, the marginalization of women and minorities, alienation, and violence.

In her first solo exhibitionIn the Name of Hypersurface of the Present at the Rubber Factory Gallery in New York in 2018, for example, she took a feminist view of Pakistan’s path to nuclear power, which was determined by religious fundamentalism and nationalism. She used kitschy Pakistani tourism advertisements, music videos and amateur videos from the Internet, and her grandfather’s photographic archives, in which family and collective history overlap.

In her digital research project Trans-Pakistan Zindabad (Long Live Trans-Pakistan) and the VR installation Zaameen.com (2019), she deals with the real estate group Bahria Town, which specializes in the construction of gated communities in Pakistan and whose target group is the country’s upper class. Majeed’s constructed, animated world revolves around class issues, heteronormativity, the future of urban development, tourism, and gentrification.

Majeed has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Pakistan, North America, and Europe, including The Divided Self, The Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, USA (2012); The Museum: Within and Without, Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia (2015); Witness - Karachi Biennial, Karachi, Pakistan (2017); and Volumes - Queens International 2018, Queens Museum, New York, USA (2018). She has received many awards and fellowships, among them the HWP Fellowship, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon (2017); the Refiguring Feminist Futures Web Residency, Akademie Schloss Solitude & ZKM, Germany (2018); and the Digital Earth Fellowship, Hivos, Netherlands (2018-19). Majeed is a member of the New York-based HHH collective.