Art & Design

Misha Japanwala's "Topographies" Debuts in Chicago

Reimagining the natural body as a landscape.

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Misha Japanwala's "Topographies" Debuts in Chicago

Reimagining the natural body as a landscape.

Pakistani artist and fashion designer Misha Japanwala just presented a new solo exhibition at EXPO Chicago. Titled “Topographies,” the new collection of works reimagines the natural body as a landscape. Throughout the series, Japanwala captures bodies with natural rolls, lumps and fat, resulting in colorful casts of the human form.

The project began through an open call, inviting individuals to visit the artist’s home and have their bodies cast, documenting each curve, scar and stretch mark. The open call resulted in a group of women and non-binary people from South and South East Asian backgrounds, with ages ranging from 20 to 50 years old. Silicone was then applied to the bodies of each participant, coated with a plaster shell and painted with layers of tinted resin.

Arriving in vibrant shades of blue, lavender, ochre and red, each cast aims to depict a “body that is joyful, leisurely and playful, refusing to be concealed by slimming shades, insisting that they are enough exactly as they are,” according to the accompanying press release.

Each sculpture within Japanwala’s “Topographies” is named after a geological formation, further emphasizing the body’s proximity to nature and natural landscapes. Aiming to challenge our collective perceptions of beauty and remove any element of shame, the series celebrates fat flesh, muscle and scar tissue as if it were a beautiful work of nature.

Take a look at some of the works above and head to Expo Chicago for more information.

While you’re here, check out Maisie Cousins’ residency at East London’s Oranj.

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