Born and brought up in Lahore, Pakistan, Masooma Syed studied painting and later studied MA in Visual Arts from National College of Arts, Lahore. Since then she has been involved in studio practice, and has exhibited in Pakistan and abroad, participating in several artists residencies and workshops.
Masooma has also taught art in various art institutes namely The National College of Arts, Lahore; Beaconhouse National University, Lahore; Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi; as well as School of Art and Design, Kathmandu University, Nepal and Manchester Metropolitan University, England.
Some landmark exhibitions for Masooma were her ‘first solo show at Rohtas Gallery Islamabad, and Art Space ‘University New South Wales while she was on the Commonwealth Arts and Crafts Fellowship in Sydney, 1997-1998.
Works shown in group shows like ‘ Parallel Realities ‘Fukuoka Asian Art Trienniale, Japan, Threads, Dreams, Desires ‘ Harris museum & Art Gallery, England, ‘ playing with the loaded gun ‘ at Apex Art in New york and in Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel Germany and ‘skin’ two person show at Rohtas gallery Lahore have evolved through both gradual to sporadically shifts in the artist’s practice.
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment.‘Adornment is for the change in appearance, can be done to fit into social groups, satisfy a need for self-expression or we like what we saw and thought others would do too’. But apart from a mere decorative art, ornament of utility, a decoration used to embellish parts of a building, body or object, it is a strong vehicle for communication. It has the embedded history of a society and its politics we live in, along with its functional wear ability. It also makes structural references to sculpture and architecture.
In my work I enjoy and appreciate the non-material wealth of this 3-D discipline. It is an art object, a body extension or a body-centered ornament which carries a strong message and meaning and challenges the conventions of body ornaments, aesthetic appeal, its rituals and its function. From earlier works, which were playful assemblages of found material to later minimal, morbid and quiet objects, made out of human hair and human nails, concepts have undergone enormous change.
Recent works are probing the current cultural, religious contradictions and social behaviors. References to other art forms provide a departure point for exploration within the realm of ‘adornment ‘.