» Skip to content

Published: 09 October 2021

By Andy Ross

Affidavits and dresses

In the country of Pakistan, affidavits have links to almost everyone in the country because they are omnipresent. 

These pieces of paper are used to agree deals, finalise divorce, recognise marriage, own property and for lots of other official acts. The stamp paper is highly decorated with Islamic symbols and national emblems which prompted artist Bushra Waqas Khan, trained as a printmaker, to use them in her work. She cuts out motifs from the papers, transfers them to heat transfer paper and prints them onto fabric. Pattern pieces are then cut out and the artist sews these into miniature dresses, intricate and delicate, before embroidering them, all by hand.

Bushra is a finalist in the Jameel Prize: Poetry to Politics, an event devoted to contemporary design inspired by Islamic tradition. This is the sixth edition of the Prize and is the first time it has focused on design. The exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum presents the work of eight designers from India, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK.