Rah Naqvi

Rah Naqvi

Exhibition overview Terra Incognita, 2022, photo by Peter Tijhuis.

Left: Rah Naqvi, Aatein (puppet), Aasman, Nazli, Fatima, Um Khultum, Salma, all 2020.
Right: Rah Naqvi, How does one say Queen in Islam?, 2020, full HD single channel video, sound, 14:19 min.


Rah Naqvi


Rah Naqvi (born 1996 ) is an Indian contemporary artist, enrolled at the De Ateliers residency program in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Naqvi’s works which received international recognition, have been described as subversive, and are noted to cover topics such as gender, sexuality, race, religion, while advocating for various social and feminist causes including that of body positivity.


Naqvi’s most recent work includes the film How does one say queen in Islam, 2020. The film invokes formative childhood memories in a surreal surrender of self to unrecognised forces of time and space. It  unravels imaginary, familiar, yet unplaceable terrains, that are marked by symbols of friendship and care that subvert the rigid structures of the patriarchy. In the wanderings of her dream, a young girl encounters the women who have fought for and formed her.

The work of Rah Naqvi (they/them, 1996, Mumbai, India) engages in narratives themed around religious and societal stigmas. They had their first solo exhibition Bashaoor at Clark House, Mumbai in 2018, followed by their second solo exhibition, Sharam o Haya, at Ame Nue, Hamburg in 2019. In the same year, they were part of ‘Heroines Now’, a group exhibition at AKINCI, alongside melanie bonajo (NL), Anne Wenzel (DE), Gluklya (Natalie Pershina- Yakimanskaya) (RU/NL) and Lungiswa Gqunta (SA). Their recent shows include Hunger at AKINCI (2020), Inherited Memory at Tarq, Mumbai (2020), Viral self-portraits at Moderna galerija, Ljubljana (2020) and Escape Routes at the Bangkok Biennale (2020). Naqvi has been part of other group exhibitions such as A beast, a god, a line, curated by Para Site Director, Cosmin Costinas at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai, TH (2020/21); Kunsthall Trondheim, NO (2019); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, PL (2018); Para Site, Hong Kong (2018). Their work was also shown at TS1 Yangon, MM (2018); The Regimes of Truth, curated by Shaunak Mahbubani, New Delhi, Apexart NY (2018); Micro subversions Playbook, Conflictorium, Ahmedabad, curated by Avni Sethi and Venkataraman Divakar (2018) and The Exhaustion project, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, curated by Abhijan Toto (2018).

In 2021, they were a resident artist at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. Rah Naqvi was also one of the two representing artists for India at the Bangkok Biennale, Escape Routes (2020). They were a recipient of ‘The Phenomenal She’ award in 2019 conferred by the Indian National Bar Association and the NID Ford Foundation Grant in 2018. In 2023, AKINCI will organize the first solo exhibition with Naqvi.