Born in Karachi in 1970, Suleman lives and works in Karachi, Pakistan.
Adeela Suleman received her BFA from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi in 1999 and before that she did her MA in International Relations from Karachi University in 1995. Currently Suleman is Associate Professor and was the head from 2008- 2019 in the Department of Fine Art at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan. She is the founding member and Director of Vasl Artists’ Association, Karachi, Pakistan.
Suleman has exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions are at Sullivan+ Strumpf, Singapore (2019); Bawwaba Artists, Dubai Art Fair ( 2019) , Canvas Gallery, Karachi 2018), Galleria Davide Gallo, Milan (2017), Aicon Gallery, New York, USA ( 2017) Gandhara Art gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2017) , Davide Gallo Gallery , Milan , Italy ( 2017) , Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan ( 2015), Aicon Gallery, New York, USA (2014); Canvas, Karachi, Pakistan (2012) , Alberto Peola Gallery, Torino, Italy (2012); Aicon Gallery, London, UK ( 2011); Rohtas Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan (2008).
She has taken part in group exhibitions at notable Museums and foundations including Art Gallery NSW, Sydney, Australia; PICA- Perth Institute of Contemporary arts, Perth, Australia; Manchester Art gallery, Manchester, UK; Pinnakothek Der Moderne, Munich, Germany; Kasteel Van Gaasbeek, Brussels, Belgium; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA ; Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India ; Asia Society Museum, New York USA ; Mohatta Palace Museum , Karachi, Pakistan; Kiran Nader Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; La Trienniel di Milano Museum, Milan, Italy; National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay, India; Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel, Germany; National Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan; Fondazione 107, Torino, Italy and Apex Art, New York, U.S.A and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia.
She has also participated in the Karachi Biennale ( 2017 & 2019); Singapore Biennale ( 2016) ;Asian Art Biennial, Taichung, Taiwan (2013); + Sea Triennial, Jakarta, Indonesia (2013); Asia Triennial II, Manchester, UK (2011); 2nd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Fukuoka, Japan (2002).
Her work has been reviewed by several magazines, catalogues and newspapers such as New York Times, The Guardian , Art Forum, BOMB Magazine, Wall Street International, Art Radar Asia, Art Link Magazine and Art Asia pacific.
Works are part of notable international public collections including the Barts Health-NHS London, UK; Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India; Kiran Nader Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Art in Embassies Collection, USA, Art Gallery New South wales, Australia; Orlando Museum of Art , Orlando, Florida, USA; Flame Towers, Baku, Azerbaijan; Four Seasons Hotel, New Delhi, India, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester , UK ; Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich ,Germany and The Kier Foundation, Sydney, Australia.
My quest to understand the role of violence on human psyche and how it leaves trace on our memory continues till date.
Violence became part of our local landscape. Violence is leaving traces, and these traces are haunting us. The memory of violence is not only embedded in peoples' bodies and minds but also adorned onto space in all kinds of settings especially on the natural environment.
Places and lands / landscapes do not simply act as memory vessels but rather overwhelmingly shape, and are also shaped by, the ways in which violence is experienced and performed as well as remembered. This tense relationship is apparent in designs of memorials — whether erected at sites where violence and suffering took place as war memorial. Thus, making the violence part of the landscape. Violence seeps in! The more odious the crime the more entertaining it becomes for the doer and for the observer. The more beautiful the landscape, the more appalling acts of terror and violence it experiences. The more heinous the crime, the more captivating and beautiful the monument.
In the same way I camouflage the violence with beauty. The viewer is drawn to the work by mere aesthetic and pushed back by the violence inherited in it. It is a back and forth process of discovery. The image I try to create I want it to instantly translates the message to the viewer. Different civilizations pursued diverse manner of “speech”. My language is through the popular urban culture, Urban craft and through the use of the industrial objects.
Birds represent sacrifice, resurrection, the soul and death. To me they represent freedom but they are also very sensitive to any minute hint of violence. They can detect the tension or can see the heinous crime. Traditionally the death of a bird is a sign of a new beginning. Beginning come from endings and in that light, there is the suggestion of loss and sacrifice before starting a new. According to the ancient Egyptians sparrows’ would catch the soul of the recently deceased and carry them to heaven. But if my bird is dead then who will carry the soul to the heaven?
There are incredible amount of folklore and superstition surrounding these friendly little birds and they are even mentioned in bible. In Troy, 9 sparrows were eaten by a snake and this fore told 9 years of war! In European folklore, a sparrow flying in to the home is seen as a sign of awaiting death. Sparrows come to my home terrace all the time. For me sparrow being the most common bird in Karachi, if few went missing no one will notice and being the superstition attached to them, I thought if I kill them all then I may refute death.
These monuments like structures are the symbol of great pain, the amount of deaths occurred due to war, uncertain bombings, target killings, unlawful killings and in police fake encounters. The most common sparrow bird is dedicated to each death that occurs due to violence. The birds make a pattern that repeats itself to an infinite number.