Nayab Noor Ikram (b.1992, Mariehamn) is a photographer and visual artist of Pakistani diaspora from the Åland Islands, based in Turku. Ikram works with concepts dealing with the feeling of in-betweenship, cultural identity and the collective memory. She explores the concepts using symbols, rituals and abstract forms of expressions through photography, performance and installations.
Ikram graduated with a Bachelor of Culture and Arts degree in 2015, majoring in photography, from Novia University of Applied Sciences in Jakobstad, Finland. She has had numerous solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions. Her work has been exhibited at Gerðarsafn, (IS, 2022), The Åland Islands Art Museum (AX, 2022), The Mänttä Art Festival (FI, 2021), Västerås konstmuseum (SE, 2020-2021) and The European Parliament (BE, 2020). In 2019 she was awarded with a culture award from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.
Exhibited at Taidehalli 22.4.-28.5.2023
Digitalised 16mm colour film 00:07:25
Edition of 5
As a photographer and visual artist, Nayab Ikram explores what cultural identity is and how it is constructed. In her work, she has focused on what she calls 'in-between', that is, when you fall somewhere in between. It's about being both, yet neither. In her case, in between being Ålandic and Pakistani.
Hair has always played a significant role in both ancient and modern societies. Hair has a strong symbolic value and is used in many cultures to tell of belonging, status and emotional states. Nayab Ikram often portrays her own hair in video performances, photography and installations. Hair, for her, possesses a power that knows no cultural or religious boundaries.
Here we see, among other things, a hair-washing ritual. A video performance filmed on The Åland Island by the sea and the cliffs. A family portrait in video format. The work depicts Nayab, her mother, father and sister. Her father carries the water. It was he who first came to The Åland Island. Her mother washes her hair - just as she used to do when Nayab was a child. Her sister and father stand to the side. The mother and Nayab are the epicentre.
The ritual is quiet and aesthetically beautiful. There is also a longing to be a child again in her mother's arms as a young adult. To be cared for. Nayab finds herself once again in the land of in between. Here she explores the place of the individual in the family, but also the bond between mother and daughter.
texts - Liz Lindevall
Artist’s portrait - Patrik Rastenberger
Artwork images - Family, video, 2022, Nayab Ikram