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Nisa Khan: From Rags to Bitches to Riches

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Nisa Khan: From Rags to Bitches to Riches

23 November 2021

Nisa Khan is a young graduate of Fine Art from UAL in Chelsea. Her graduation piece ‘From rags to bitches to riches’ is currently on show at the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square. 

The mural comprises multiple textures and looks into the art of Mujra; a South-Asian style of performance, once considered sophisticated, elegant and an elite art form. Interestingly, at its peak, Mujra performers (Tawaifs) were exempt from the normal rules of society such as purdah (wearing the burka) and marriage. The demise of the Tawaif and marginalisation of Mujra was a result of British colonialism. 

The mural comprises multiple textures and looks into the art of Mujra; a South-Asian style of performance, once considered sophisticated, elegant and an elite art form. Interestingly, at its peak, Mujra performers (Tawaifs) were exempt from the normal rules of society such as purdah (wearing the burka) and marriage. The demise of the Tawaif and marginalisation of Mujra was a result of British colonialism. 

Tawaif performers of today are exploited, face heavy censorship and are the object of ridicule. By repositioning Mujra in the British arts context, Khan’s work aims to highlight and re-evaluate the status of Mujra and its performers.  



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