University of Arizona
College of Fine Arts - School of Art

School of Art Galleries

Totem #2 (A Balancing Act)

Medium: Acrylic on watercolor paper
Date: 2020
Dimensions: 22×30”

Fatema Abizar


The current body of work I am painting are pieces under the working title- “A Balancing Act.” It speaks to the weird dichotomy that exists between hair on my body that I love, nourish, and care for, versus those I pluck, thread and wax. So deeply inherent is this love and hatred, that I don’t even stop to question these conflicting actions- one of tenderness the other of eradication, of the same hair growing on the same body. It feels surgical, the treatment of the hair that I uproot. I have arrived at a point where I have learned the need to unlearn. Unlearning Western tropes of what it means to be; i. to be beautiful, ii. to be a woman and iii. to be an artist. Unlearning hasn’t meant a reversal of action. The efforts at unlearning are to bring attention to and subdue the toxicity which exists in the chatter that goes on in my mind when encountering hair I consider deplorable, like on my legs or upper lip. What I hope my work does is present a matter-of- fact narrative that reflect these daily actions. In attempts to simply unveil these acts otherwise muffled into secrecy.

Totem #2 (A Balancing Act)