Mequitta Ahuja

Mequitta Ahuja (born 1976) is a contemporary American painter of African American and South Asian descent who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Ahuja creates self-described feminist works of self-portraiture that involve costumes, props, and poses. Her work appropriates works of myth and legend, such as 15th-century Persian manuscript and Mughal miniature paintings to create a sort of "identity fabrication."

Growing up, Ahuja...

Painting has brought me the things I most desire, from friendship to rigorous intellectual engagement. My works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Baltimore Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Studio Museum in Harlem, Saatchi Gallery and The Brooklyn Museum, among other venues. Studying the history of art, I constantly discover painting in its diverse conceptions across time and geography.

I get obsessed with little things like Goya’s calling card clutched in a magpie’s beak and Zurburan’s cartellino on a painting of the crucifixion. I am motivated by big ideas like painting as a record of our changing notions of beauty or how to make paintings that communicate clearly and engage the viewer in the production of meaning.

My unique ethnic heritage; I am the daughter of an African American mother and a South Asian Indian father, informs my work as well. For many years, this cultural mix was the central theme of my work. As I get older, struggles with identity fade, and issues of the body, mind and our unique place in history rise to the surface.

One thing that has remained constant in my work is my use of my own image as a form for my evolving concerns, both personal and painterly. I am an introvert; I spend my days thinking, reading, writing, drawing and painting. I was born in Grand Rapids and now live in Baltimore, MD with my scientist husband and our two cats.
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First Collected by

Gargar Samser


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