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Shumaiya Khan

Themes present in Khan’s recent series centres around our inherited and influenced identities. All of them are in some respect painted over, a mean to repurpose the path of a thought or a place. Pigments are layered on the surface, like the building of an identity, slowly growing into a blend of who we have been, who we are, and what we’ll become.


‘An Olive Branch and Two Forget Me Nots’ is a follow on, however the need for connection is replaced by transitionary isolation. A means to an end. Non-materialistic joys are put away for another day while more serious topics are being understood. The painting gives glimmers of hope in an appeal to not forget the things which matter to us, even though we have lovingly saved them for another day. Olives trees are a special plant to Shumaiya’s faith, a faith she has inherited from her matriarchal lineage.


‘Afterparty’ focuses on external interaction within a family setting. Her mother cooks a feast for Eid and there are paramount differences in the life she lives and others around her. Even when content, can the heart be swayed by our connections into reminiscing of a future yet to happen?


Shumaiya Khan (b. 1990, UK) is a self-taught painter and writer living and working in London, UK.


Khan produces contemporary abstract expressionist pieces using acrylic, charcoal, chalk and poetry across canvas and paper. Pigment is worked and layered into pieces over a series of days or weeks. Brush strokes and charcoal lines are created at different paces, some with more initially thought through intention than others. She sees the physicality of her visual painting as a language forever working towards a changing image in her mind.


Khan’s work is based in emotional storytelling where her practice explores juxtapositions around dynamic behaviours in the sphere of; the relationship with ourselves, feminine expression and sensuality, societal interaction, morality, innate faith and spirituality. Khan often asks the viewers to look inside themselves and ask what they feel. She feels compelled to create, being both a meditative and explorative practice for her.


Born to a British Bengali family, she moved to London to pursue higher education. Khan comes from a design-led background, earning her BA Hons in Design from Goldsmiths, University of London. She recently exhibited at the Somerset house with Interrupted Art for their project, ‘Unmute’. Khan has exhibited twice in Madrid, The Other Art Fair London (2022) and Affordable Art Fair (2022). Khan has been featured in ‘The FLUX Review’ and by Lucy Donovan of ‘Girl & Gallery' podcast in January 2023. She was recently listed among the ‘107 Female Artists You Need to Know in 2023’ by Lucy Donovan, among Nadia Waheed, Simone Leigh, and Tracy Emin. She was selected in Artsted's 2023 edition of ’99 Future Blup-Chip Artists’. She holds a residency at Greenwich’s Firepit Studios’ with previous residency ‘UNARCHIVED’ with the Soho House Group.

Shumaiya Khan in her Studio - April 23 - 040.jpeg
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