Saira Ahmed

Artist and Film Collaborator

The intention of my work is to share my cultural experiences, especially in relation to losing identity and the social expectations of being a girl in the society within which I grew up, in Pakistan. In many parts of Pakistan a dowry is the price tag attached to each girl’s future.

I have always believed in creating an honest piece of work which projects the deep thought process and creates an interesting exchange of dialogue in between the artist and the viewer.

My main medium is sculpture, but when I was introduced to Anna to create this film, I wasn’t so sure if I could express the pain and burden I carried for a long time through this form of art. Perhaps I did not want to share the painful experience with members of public or maybe I felt dishonouring my family’s name if I really spoke about how I felt disorientated and isolated.

Interestingly working with Anna made me see my own work in a different light which helped me to visualise how I lost my name and changed my path in life. However, it also helped to create something unexpectedly raw yet beautiful.

The dowry film (Fire) expresses the strength I hold against the demeaning cultural boundaries. Furthermore it demonstrates a rebellious act by burning the piece of dowry.