Work description

Death is all around us. The most certain thing in life has become uncertain. Life and death is going side by side. If we compare it with history, contemporary life has multiplied our capacity to destroy life in different horrific ways but has also found ways to live longer to have a happier and healthier life. On the one hand unexpected shocking horrendous death has been glamorized by the media to the extent that it has become an entertainment, where as natural death has become so subtle and comfortable that it has become invisible.
The current turbulent political situation is evident. In contemporary Pakistan, death surrounds us. It has taking over our lives. Initially I was not talking about death or the idea of death but the uncertainty that emerges out of the fear of death. But I feel that it’s inevitable not to think about it. Death has come closer. You can’t ignore it; it’s in your face. How can you not talk about it? I started counting the number of deaths in a week the speed of death was much faster than production of the dead birds in steel. I made curtains – curtains with dead birds.
Work description

Death is all around us. The most certain thing in life has become uncertain. Life and death is going side by side. If we compare it with history, contemporary life has multiplied our capacity to destroy life in different horrific ways but has also found ways to live longer to have a happier and healthier life. On the one hand unexpected shocking horrendous death has been glamorized by the media to the extent that it has become an entertainment, where as natural death has become so subtle and comfortable that it has become invisible.
The current turbulent political situation is evident. In contemporary Pakistan, death surrounds us. It has taking over our lives. Initially I was not talking about death or the idea of death but the uncertainty that emerges out of the fear of death. But I feel that it’s inevitable not to think about it. Death has come closer. You can’t ignore it; it’s in your face. How can you not talk about it? I started counting the number of deaths in a week the speed of death was much faster than production of the dead birds in steel. I made curtains – curtains with dead birds.
The elements that you see in the work are symbolic. Birds- are the symbol for goodness, freedom and joy and the dead birds signify absence of happiness, immense pain and hopelessness. Rose- symbolizes sacred, romantic and sensual love. The rose association with eternal life caused rose petal to be scattered on the graves. Tree- trees are the supreme natural symbols of dynamic growth, seasonal death and regeneration. The fruit that tempted Eve is not told but it is interpreted as apple because it was then the most popular choice as an object of desire. It thus became an image of temptation. There are multiple stories that I am thinking, from my past and present and that have been part of my life. But they could be anyone’s stories and people can relate to them in whatever way they want to.
My work emerges out of my own personalized experience of the contemporary socio-cultural and political realities of Pakistan. It is both an attempt to understand as well as to comment on (not necessarily critique) these realities.


The elements that you see in the work are symbolic. Birds- are the symbol for goodness, freedom and joy and the dead birds signify absence of happiness, immense pain and hopelessness. Rose- symbolizes sacred, romantic and sensual love. The rose association with eternal life caused rose petal to be scattered on the graves. Tree- trees are the supreme natural symbols of dynamic growth, seasonal death and regeneration. The fruit that tempted Eve is not told but it is interpreted as apple because it was then the most popular choice as an object of desire. It thus became an image of temptation. There are multiple stories that I am thinking, from my past and present and that have been part of my life. But they could be anyone’s stories and people can relate to them in whatever way they want to.
My work emerges out of my own personalized experience of the contemporary socio-cultural and political realities of Pakistan. It is both an attempt to understand as well as to comment on (not necessarily critique) these realities.
Tradition is still very often considered as a "thing of the past" without any contemporary legitimacy. Pakistan is neither traditional nor completely modern. Both have to be balanced. In Pakistan tradition and modernity goes parallel to each other, I feel the balance comes automatically relying on the tradition while making something modern. 
Helmets were part of a larger installation where I was looking at was the experiential dimension of traveling on a motorcycle in Pakistan. It’s always interesting for me to explore the possibility the material carries in its nature. For me, it’s like drawing with the material. I work with found objects and here the woman herself is designing gadgets to travel on the motorcycle, thus the helmets have a very homemade look. They give you a false perception of safety.
I also acknowledge the work of craft people and "makers of objects" in urban surroundings whose artifacts contribute to the textual and visual quality of our environment.


Tradition is still very often considered as a "thing of the past" without any contemporary legitimacy. Pakistan is neither traditional nor completely modern. Both have to be balanced. In Pakistan tradition and modernity goes parallel to each other, I feel the balance comes automatically relying on the tradition while making something modern.
Helmets were part of a larger installation where I was looking at was the experiential dimension of traveling on a motorcycle in Pakistan. It’s always interesting for me to explore the possibility the material carries in its nature. For me, it’s like drawing with the material. I work with found objects and here the woman herself is designing gadgets to travel on the motorcycle, thus the helmets have a very homemade look. They give you a false perception of safety.
I also acknowledge the work of craft people and "makers of objects" in urban surroundings whose artifacts contribute to the textual and visual quality of our environment.
Adeela SULEMAN, White Helmet with Green Flags, 2008, Steel cooking utensil,steel spoon, cycle ornament, powder coated and enamel painted. Inside: padded with foam and cloth, 33.02x45.72x38.1 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery.

Adeela SULEMAN, White Helmet with Green Flags, 2008, Steel cooking utensil,steel spoon, cycle ornament, powder coated and enamel painted. Inside: padded with foam and cloth, 33.02x45.72x38.1 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery.
Adeela SULEMAN, Installation View of Aicon Gallery, New York, United States, 2009.

Adeela SULEMAN, Installation View of Aicon Gallery, New York, United States, 2009.
Adeela SULEMAN, Untitled 5 (ed. of 3), 2011, Stainless steel, 74.93x261.62 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery.

Adeela SULEMAN, Untitled 5 (ed. of 3), 2011, Stainless steel, 74.93x261.62 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery.