Housed in historic Parmenter Hall on the Baldwin City campus, the Holt-Russell Gallery features art by students, faculty, and local, national, and international artists.
Students exhibit their work in an annual juried student art show. In addition, students work as preparers, curators, and organizers of their senior exhibitions.
The Holt-Russell Gallery is located on the second floor of Parmenter Hall at 706 Dearborn St.
Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed weekends and major holidays
- Masks are required.
- The gallery occupancy is limited to 15.
Dupatta: Journeys of Life and Cultural Identity
Paintings by Shabana Kauser
September 3 – October 1
Artist Reception and Talk | Thursday, Sept. 9, 5-7 p.m.
Influenced by her shared experiences as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and as an immigrant to the United States, Kauser’s detailed portraits of South Asian immigrant women explore memories of cultural, social, and economic transition. Along with ornate, precisely rendered jewelry, the Dupatta, a traditional scarf worn in South Asian countries, permeates portraits, referencing not only her personal journey, but also those of past, present, and future generations of immigrants.
Shabana Kauser’s work represents beauty, strength, and determination, just some of the traits she saw in women she grew up around. Many immigrant women Shabana knew tapped into all the skills they had to make their new lives in a new land. While learning English, and therefore having limited opportunities, Shabana’s mother started her own business. Her grandmother had taught her mother to sew while she grew up in Pakistan. Sewing traditional clothes for the community through her own business allowed Kauser’s mother to contribute in numerous ways. She is one of many of the many forgotten women who continue to contribute to society, the economy, and communities. Shabana Kauser’s portraits honor immigrant women whose stories are often overlooked.
Shabana Kauser creates contemporary realistic oil paintings that are influenced by her shared experiences as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and as an immigrant to the United States. Her paintings of South Asian women explore memories of cultural, social, and economic transition. Through her descriptive realism and her heavy use of the traditional dupatta (scarf worn in South Asia), she shares not only her personal journey but also those of past, present, and future generations of immigrants.
Shabana’s parents left Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the 1970s and emigrated to England. Shabana is one of five children they raised in Surrey, which is on the outskirts of London. She grew up in a working-class family. Her father first worked in the steel industry and later at a bakery. Shabana’s mother started a sewing business from home. Her mother used the skills she learned in her family home in Pakistan and applied that to create a business all while raising a family. Yards of fabric would be dropped off at the home, and Shabana’s mother would create traditional shalwaar kameez (tunic top, pant, and dupatta) for the South Asian community. Shabana’s work is inspired by many women, including her mother and the women and girls she created outfits for.
Shabana was born in and lived in the United Kingdom for almost 30 years. She lived in central London, where she achieved her degrees, a BSc in Business IT and a MSc in Information Management. She worked in the corporate world before her husband was presented with a work opportunity in the United States. In 2008, Shabana moved from central London and settled in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Through the frustrating immigration laws, and while being unable to legally work for seven years, she discovered her love for creating. This journey opened up a new way to connect with people and share her story.
In 2017, she formally introduced her work and enjoyed her first exhibit. Shabana has now enjoyed successful gallery and museum exhibits in Arkansas, Texas, New York, and Missouri. Some of her notable exhibits include 21c Museum, and a solo exhibit titled Journey’at Argenta Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a self-taught artist, Shabana is always building her knowledge. She attended the University of Arts London, St. Martin’s College in the United Kingdom, and also completed the Artist Inc program that is organized by the Mid-American Arts Alliance.
Shabana has been featured in several publications and press releases. These include Northwest Arkansas Alive (Emmy-nominated ABC TV series) where she had a solo interview, Little Rock Soiree Magazine, Arkansas Times, KUAF Radio, Fox/KNWA News, and Studio Visit Magazine where she was featured on the cover.