Property from a Private Collection, Dubai

Hamra Abbas


Auction Closed

October 25, 02:50 PM GMT


5,000 - 7,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection, Dubai

Hamra Abbas

b. 1976


Paper collage in plexiglass

25.5 x 103 x 29.5 cm. (10 x 40 ½ x 11 ½ in.)

Executed in 2008

Please note that this lot will be sent to Greenford Park Warehouse immediately after the auction.
Acquired from Green Cardamom Gallery, London, 2009

Despair by Hamra Abbas displays a network of compelling juxtapositions. Known for her multi-disciplinary practice she produces mixed-media works, installations, prints and paintings.

'Unrestrained by subject matter or media, [Hamra Abbas] allows herself to follow all lines of inquiry in order to create a diverse and holistic body of work... In her manner of embracing multiplicity, Hamra Abbas is visionary... Her practice embraces investigation, yet focuses on the meticulous.' (J. Ludwig, 'Hamra Abbas: Kaaba Picture as a Misprint', Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2014, p. 3)

The current lot comprises an intricate paper collage, inspired by Islamic geometric patterning. Delicate paper cuttings printed with the word ‘LOVE’ are connected together, while an area of negative space in the lower right forms the word ‘DESPAIR’. The contrast between her choice of words mirrors the manner in which this ethereal, lightweight paper is given the role of producing a three-dimensional sculptural form.

The art historian and curator Virginia Whiles comments that Abbas’ practice 'constantly reveals an astounding sensibility in matching material to concept.' (Dr. V. Whiles, The British Museum,

Despair was made in 2008, the same year that Abbas produced Paper Plates, now in the British Museum's collection (2011, 3048.1). This work also adopted a similar paper-cut technique to combine text with Islamic-inspired geometric patterns. Specifically referencing a paper plates factory in Islamabad, Paper Plates drew attention to manufacturing’s ties to consumerism (ibid.). With many parallels to Despair, the use of paper in grid-like constructions in such works by Abbas seems to speak to the loss of hand-crafted creative practices. The gaps within these sculptural grids further suggest her interest in investigating our systems of cultural memory and production, pointing perhaps to their precariousness.

Born in Kuwait, Abbas trained at the National College of Arts, Lahore, and later at the Universitaet der Kuenste, Berlin. Her works have been exhibited around the world, for instance in Lahore, Karachi, London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Toronto and Sydney. She now lives and works between Pakistan and the United States.