The Weight of Snow on Her Chest renders a portrait of a home in Kashmir—moving through the constant sieges enforced in the region. Zainab's photographs carry the everyday feelings of suffocation and anxiety in a place where both identity and existence are threatened by a colonising power. Through this work, and her practice, more broadly, Zainab's reckons with her experiences of growing up in Kashmir – one of the most densely militarised zones in the world—where civil uprisings are often met with state violence leading to killings and mass arrests. This particular set of photographs, however, was made In the aftermath of 2019 when the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which held out symbolic autonomy to the residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This was followed by a period marked by a military siege and a prolonged communications black-out, eliminating access to phones or the internet for over 300 days. The photographs are accompanied by verses that draw upon her role as a photojournalist documenting property destructions and encounters in other Kashmiri homes. The combination of image and text within this work skillfully recasts photographs as metaphors. The Weight of Snow On Her Chest distills the effects of an enforced and oppressive isolation that is resisted by the Kashmiris.
Press release courtesy Gulf Photo Plus.