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The 2022 Emery Prize winner is...
Saba Qizilbash

Saba Qizilbash is an artist who creates detailed photographic drawn landscapes which meld together real landmarks into a single space, blending time and history, whilst tracing the echoes of migration. By doing so she considers and dissects the politics of boundaries, the memory of the terrain and those natural and man-made elements, such as river and roads, which transect and bind together politically, spiritually and geographically disparate places. 

"I equate walking to drawing and through my landscapes I walk through difficult landscapes. Past no mans’ lands, borders, checkpoints, disputed territories, I aspire for a seamlessness where trade, culture, language and heritage can flow freely. I follow pre-colonial routes, mapping them as I hem my way across South Asia, Central Asia and along the Persian Gulf. I bring into focus the potential of reviving pre-colonial trade routes which were interrupted and demarcated as new nations were carved as the region gained independence from British rule."  

Recently she has looked at how cultural objects have been appropriated, in particular a pair of 17th-century spectacles named Astana-ye-Ferdous, fabled to have been made for a Mughal Prince in India. By creating her own version and incorporating her drawings within, she asks viewers to adjust their perspective and refocus their attention on historical contexts which have ramifications today.


Qizilbash has just completed her MFA at the Ruskin School of Art. Born in Lahore and raised in Abu Dhabi, UAE, she has a BFA in painting from the National College of Arts, Pakistan and a Master’s degree in Art Education from Rhode Island School of Design, USA. She works and lives weaving her way through many borders but mostly in Dubai, UAE.

As part of the prize there will be a solo-exhibition of Saba Qizilbash's artwork in the Pembroke Art Gallery in Spring 2023. Pembroke College JCR Art Collection are delighted to once again be able to offer the Emery Prize. We want to thank every student who applied and the Ruskin School of Art for their help and support.

About the Emery Prize

The Emery Prize is an annual prize award to a Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, BFA or MFA finalist student. The inaugural prize was awarded in 2018 and has continued each year, to support emerging artists within the Oxford University community and to encourage engagement with contemporary art in the wider Oxford community. Named after the founder of the Pembroke College JCR Art Collection, The Emery Prize reinvents the collection’s historic links to the Ruskin School of Art, by finding new ways to support contemporary art practice through providing a platform for exhibition.

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