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Past, What's On > Khush Nubian

Khush Nubian

Khush Nubian
Two Queens Project Space

30th July – 13th August

Opening Night Friday 29th July, 6-9pm

Khush Nubian’s recent work examines the practice of mimicry and imitation in Indian culture. Drawing in particular from the traditional resist-dyed textile decoration technique, bandhani, Khush is exploring modern and centuries-old methods of its reproduction through real and imagined tools and processes. Through these works she seeks to gain a deeper understanding of her own appropriation of a culture from which she was previously disconnected.

It’s not me, it’s you

For this exhibition Khush Nubian explores the events that make her who she is and that have guided her artistic practice in recent years. The exhibition is a departure from the first and second dimension into the third where Khush explores the journey of motif through time and space, its authenticity, and in doing so, her sense of self and of cultural authenticity.

After completing an MA in Fine Art at De Montfort University in 2012, Khush started to explore the unique salad bowl of culture that is Leicester, the city where she was born. Having grown up amongst this multiplicity of cultures, Khush creates works from a uniquely Leicester perspective that speak from a pluralist heart.

In 2014 she was selected for an artist residency at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, India, where she was immersed in the unique and chaotic culture of urban India. This experience produced a profound paradigm shift that brought into sharp focus her sense of self and led to the electrifying multi-media exhibition titled ‘Before There After’ (2015). The installation featured sound, video, digital images and cryptically constructed collages of textiles bought locally in Vadodara whilst on the residency.

Amongst the bright fabric and paper she employed was the bandhani design which can be considered a motif of Indian culture. Researching the traditional techniques and processes of bandhani – graphic patterns made from endless, tiny, tie-dyed dots – she continued to be drawn to the paper and fabric bought at a market stall in Vadodara and equally abundant in shops back home in Leicester’s Belgrave Road. These digitally printed versions mimic the hand-produced, tie-dyed technique. This imitated motif is visually simplified and performs differently: a signifier rather than a faithful reproduction.

Realising the disconnect between bandhani’s origin as an authentic cultural asset and the reality of its contemporary form led her to consider her own association to Indian culture and claim to Indian heritage.

Khush has explored the objects and tools associated with the bandhani technique, leading her to deconstruct the motif in the context of authenticity, cultural drift and the construct of ‘Indianness’. The resulting objects are defunct remnants of a craft that has been lost in translation.

The work portrays the uniquely difficult position second-generation artists, offspring of immigrants, are placed in: are we understood for a reality and motherland not known to us or for who we are in the here and now? We are eternally ‘other’ wherever we go, whether here or “back home”.

Text by Ashokkumar D Mistry to accompany Khush Nubian’s exhibition at Two Queens, Leicester, titled ‘It’s not me, it’s you’.


For a longer version of this essay please go to:



Kindly supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Leicester City Council and De Montfort University.

Two Queens project space is currently accessible via a short flight of steps and therefore not wheelchair accessible. If you have any special access requirements please contact us at info@2queens.com and we will do our best to accommodate you.