Ambreen Butt: I need a hero
January 16 - June 3, 2007
Wolcott Gallery

Ambreen Butt creates exquisite, uncompromising works that bring together the centuries-old traditions of Persian and Indian miniature painting with Western modernist abstraction and a profound engagement with contemporary themes.

Born in Pakistan and trained in miniature painting at the National College of Art in Lahore, Butt has lived and worked in the United States since the mid-1990s. Butt's paintings are rooted in her bicultural identity and retain the intricate, decorative patterning that characterizes Persian and Indian miniature painting; however, she updates the medium's painstaking technique with an infusion of new materials, such as Mylar, thread, and collage. Her work discards the conventional, passive representations of women circumscribed by romantic or heroic narratives in favor of female protagonists dressed in modern Western clothing, whose actions pose questions about both global and autobiographical issues, including war, cultural values, and identity and sexual politics.

Ambreen Butt: I Need a Hero is a site-specific project that features wall paintings and recent works on paper, including a body of work inspired by Mukhtaran Mai (also known as Mukhtaran Bibi), a young Pakistani woman who was sentenced by the local tribal council to gang rape as retribution for accusations against her brother. Mai gained international attention and acclaim for bravely contesting this sentence by testifying against her attackers and using the compensation she was awarded to build a girls' school.