Searching for Home in Crosscut News
Seattle artist Humaira Abid examines a crisis through a feminist lens
Searching for Home, the new solo show by local sculptor Humaira Abid, is confined to one room at Bellevue Arts Museum. But her striking imagery slips across traditional borders and takes up residence in the mind.
A native of Pakistan who moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, the 40-year-old Abid has earned international acclaim for her stunningly realistic sculptures of mundane objects — clothing, luggage, shoes — which she carves from wood and imbues with meaning. In her newest exhibit, the subject is the worldwide refugee and immigration crisis, but as in all her work, the political is personal and the perspective is decidedly feminist.
She relishes solving artistic puzzles, such as, how to carve a convincing suitcase from a block of wood. Several pieces of her hand-carved luggage are featured in the BAM show, some spotted with blood and crawling with ants. All of them are remarkably detailed, down to buckles, zippers, wheels and the puckered elastic band of the pocket inside the lid. How does she achieve such verisimilitude? “I go to Goodwill a lot,” Abid explains with a laugh. That’s where she seeks out objects resembling those she has in mind for a project. “I found the perfect suitcase there,” she marvels. Once she arranges the source objects in a composition, she says, she considers her tools. “I start to resolve problems.”