Behind the scenes


Avoid Release to the Environment,

Opaque watercolour and tea wash on hot-press illustration board 27.94 × 20.32 cm

The cockroach symbolises various aspects of the human condition in Qayyum’s art, an exploration that began in her early career in Pakistan. Drawing from entomology, she explores layered meanings akin to museum displays, addressing politicised information. Over time, she extends this motif to symbolise resilience and mortality, critiquing Western societal fear and ‘othering’ of people of colour and their cultures, particularly in the context of Muslim travel and border crossings.

Tazeen Qayyum

About the Artist

Tazeen Qayyum (b. 1973, Karachi) is a Pakistani-Canadian multidisciplinary artist based in Oakville, known for her exploration of identity, belonging, and displacement. Trained in South Asian and Persian miniature traditions, Qayyum employs diverse mediums, including drawing, installation, sculpture, video, and performance, to delve into complex socio-political issues within the diaspora, reflecting on the interplay of identity and beliefs.

Qayyum holds a BFA in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts Lahore and has showcased her art in solo exhibitions at Oakville Galleries, and in group exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum. Additionally, her pieces are part of permanent public collections including the TD Canada Trust Permanent Collection and the National Art Gallery, Nepal.

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Other Works by Tazeen Qayyum