anticolonial maps
for lost lovers
Samra Mansoor


When this residency began, the conversations began with forming a new coherent thought about mapping new ways to think about lost lovers and their love. It slowly morphed into a space where I could question my own thought process returning to the genealogy of the ongoing themes of my work.

Keeping in mind victims of violence, unidentified bodies, and unmarked graves, I began to understand the several ways I could make a restorative gesture where personhood was denied, brutally, glibly, to the humans in life and in death, in presence as in absence. 
When fellow humans, the system, the state, fail us and our lovers and beloved, questions arise.

What does our memory mean to those who have wronged us? How do they remember what they have done? Can we send quiet reminders of the destruction they inflicted on so many lives? At the same time, the work found its way to this soft reminder for our lovers that exist without a body, to fumble through how to talk about them.

Samra Mansoor

Samra Mansoor can best be described as someone who loves working with paper, but more formally, she is a visual artist and a sculptor. She earned a BFA majoring in sculpture and miniature painting from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture with a distinction in her thesis. 

Samra’s work is influenced by her experience of violence in Karachi at a young age. Karachi is a city that thrives on its monstrous disparities and is fraught with staggering contradictions. Her work considers the victims of violence and unidentified dead bodies. These people didn’t only die, they also lost their identities and were turned into riddles. Her work recognizes them, their absence, and the violence most of them endured while making sense of my own loss. She aims to visualize the grief, loss, anger, and other psychic scars resulting from armed conflicts or civil violence, simultaneously providing a means for reconciliation with loss and remembering.

Samra tries to give form to the said themes with the use of commonplace materials like paper, sand, rose petals, and watercolors. The fine, loose sand, the opacity, and the fragility of the paper and watercolor have unintentionally helped her to achieve what she calls “a quietness and softness in my works.” This quality aims to and translates into a restorative practice: offering, if just for a moment, a personhood to those lost, murdered, unidentified and oppressed, encouraging viewers to reflect on the meaning those lives hold.

Artist Interview

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