Dread of Not Night 1, 3, 4, 7–9, 2015, 2016
Blood Stains the Soil 1, 2016
Hand-carved wood, found vintage ceramic plates with enamel paint, harderner and lacquer
Dread of Not Night 1 & Blood Stains the Soil 1: Collection of Taimur Hassan
of Not Night 3: Private collection
Dread of Not Night 4: Collection of Shehnaz and Maya
Dread of Not Night 7–9: Collection of the Artist; Singapore Biennale 2016 commission
In Suleman’s decorative, stylised paintings on found ceramic plates mounted on elaborately carved wooden frames, she uses the images of Persian and Mughal miniature painting to create a critical visual vocabulary for her contemporary narratives. While the traditional miniaturist’s repertoire consisted of idyllic landscapes and courtly scenes, Suleman’s works are replete with the imagery of bloodshed, death and violence. The fragile plates mirror and enframe scenes of war, violent killings, combat and destruction. Violence and the memory of violence, the artist reiterates, is deeply embedded in our psyches, our bodies and our land- scapes. Commenting on the gem-like quality of her disturbing images, the artist says violence has always been closely connected with beauty. Consider that Islamic arms and armour – objects of violence – were decorated using the most sophisticated techniques of gilding, inlay, and gold and silver encrusting. In Suleman’s words, “The more heinous the crime, the more beautiful the object needs to be.