The Weight of Snow on Her Chest (artist talk)

Gulf Photo Plus hosts the exhibition The Weight of Snow on Her Chest, by the Kashmiri visual artist Zainab. Join us for a conversation with Zainab about the exhibition and her practice on Wednesday, 1 March 7.30 PM at Gulf Photo Plus.




The Weight of Snow on Her Chest renders a portrait of a home in Kashmir—moving through the constant sieges enforced in the region. Zainab’s photographs carry the everyday feelings of suffocation and anxiety in a place where both identity and existence are threatened by a colonising power. 


Through this work, and her practice, more broadly,  Zainab's reckons with her experiences of growing up in Kashmir – one of the most densely militarised zones in the world—where civil uprisings are often met with state violence leading to killings and mass arrests.


This particular set of photographs, however, was made In the aftermath of 2019  when the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which held out symbolic autonomy to the residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This was followed by a period marked by a military siege and a prolonged communications black-out, eliminating access to phones or the internet for over 300 days.


The photographs are accompanied by verses that draw upon her role as a photojournalist documenting property destructions and encounters in other Kashmiri homes. The combination of image and text within this work skillfully recasts photographs as metaphors.


The Weight of Snow On Her Chest distills the effects of an enforced and oppressive isolation that is resisted by the Kashmiris.




About Zainab

Zainab (b. 1998, Srinagar, Kashmir) is a visual artist based in Kashmir. Her engagements with photography are mostly personal, reflecting her experiences of surviving in a militarised region. She is one of the founding members of Her Pixel Story (@herpixelstory), a collective for Kashmiri women photographers to reflect on their ideas and work. Presently, she works as a multimedia reporter with Free Press Kashmir,a weekly publication based in Srinagar, Kashmir. The Weight of Snow on Her Chest is Zainab's first solo exhibition in the UAE.