Ruby Chishti was born in Jhang, Pakistan, and moved to the United States in 2002. Chishti lived in California before moving to New York City in 2009. She is primarily a representational sculptor and installation artist whose work is largely autobiographical in nature. Chishti attended the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan.
In 2018, Chishti was a critic in residence at Cornell University’s graduate program in fiber science & apparel design. Her work has been exhibited at Asia Society Museum in New York; Queens Museum; Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong; Aicon Gallery (London and New York); Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, India; National Gallery Islamabad, Pakistan; Arco, Madrid; Art Hong Kong; India art fair; and the Armory Show NYC to name a few. Chishti’s works are in the collections of the Whitworth Gallery Manchester, United Kingdom; Devi Art Foundation; Kiran Nadar Museum, New Delhi; Qatar Museum, and other private collections. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Art Asia Pacific, and books including Unveiling the Visible by Salima Hashmi, a renowned figure in the Pakistani art world and academia.
“My haunting and enigmatic works perform the passage of fabric from discarded mass-produced and ceremonial clothing to the reconstruction filaments of artistic imagination. Over the last 25 years, I have produced a series of lyrical sculptures and installations that touch on the tenacity and fragility of our own existence, passage migration, gender politics, memory, and the universal theme of love, loss, and of being human. Informed as much by her position as a woman raised in a patriarchal Islamic culture and my exposure to contemporary art, I reference multiple histories and moments in time.
“My decades-long experimentation with found clothing in exploring an everlasting relationship between architecture and the human body nurtured an intimate relationship with the material world of ‘fashion detritus.’ Encountering my work that engages with complex ideas about humanity, gender disparities, and migration would evoke people’s relationships with places and architecture; creating parallels of historical resonance.
“These ﬁbrous specters allude to the sedimentations of history through the stratigraphy of cloth, akin to geological phenomena of ‘deep time’ documented in layers of rocks deposited over billions of years. From cheap, disposable clothing, I create enduring, evocative structures that underscore the fragility and preciousness of our lives and environments.
“My work weaves together a number of subversive strategies, I reimagine through reconfigured ‘female’ materials — sculptural and architectural practices historically associated with men and offers rivals to the heroics of colossal masculinity. I replace an elite, male-dominated medium with a feminine practice, recasting, for example, dolls as sculptures and using discarded clothing to build sprawling sculptures of architecture. My approach is anti-hierarchical in method and material, necessarily invoking and questioning traditional practices as well as global systems of inequity and injustice.”