May 22, 2019 - 1:32 PM

Meet the Artists: Baseera Khan

Baseera Khan's iamulsima (2018) and Reading Room, On Purpose (2017-2019) appear in the Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls, now on view in the Cathedral. You can find her on instagram @baseerakhan.

What were you thinking about when creating this piece of work? Had you spent any time considering the word “sanctuary”?

I was 100% thinking of safety and sharing a space of knowledge, which has always been the one thing that provides me with a sense of sanctuary. I see the shoe box and the footwear as it refers to an everyday sense of labor, walking and moving day in and day out. It is crazy how much personal politics goes into something as essential as walking, and many of the books on the shelves reference the body and political struggles that related to movement and the body.

What does it mean to you and/or the piece of art to be shown in a place of worship?

It really means the world to me to show at this particular church. Back home in Texas, my family is responsible for creating and preserving one of the first masjids in Texas. Part of the work to have a spiritual space is to create intersectional groups and interfaith conversations. This show is very meaningful to me for that reason, in addition to the aesthetics.

What were your first impressions of the Cathedral?

Right where I wanted to be. In awe.

What is your favorite unexpected place to view art?

I love the moments when I am in Chinatown, or in an elevator, or at ... a church, and all of a sudden, I am met with the most beautiful and introspective artwork.

What artists or artworks are you inspired by?

I am very inspired by artists who are also interested in spiritual work. Right now, Nari Ward’s show at the New Museum is really taking up space in my mind. I consistency take cues from the artists David Hammons and Senga Nengudi.

What is your Sanctuary?

I often think my room in Crown Heights is my Sanctuary. But really its anywhere that my guard is down and my mind is excited.

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