Misha Japanwala is a Pakistani artist and fashion designer, whose work is rooted in the rejection and deconstruction of external shame attached to one’s body, and the discussion of themes such as bodily autonomy, gender based violence, moral policing, sexuality and censorship.
As a Pakistani woman familiar with the historical objectification, commodification and control exerted on marginalized bodies by societies enveloped in patriarchy, Misha’s work aims to create a new historical record and documentation of people — one that is rooted in honesty and resistance, and that is on our own terms.
Through molding the body to create casts that are worn as sculptural garments, Misha’s artistic practice blurs the lines between fashion and fine art, clothing and nudity, and asks viewers to see the body exactly as it is. Her practice is an insistence for marginalized bodies to occupy physical space, emphasizing the notion that our bodies shouldn’t need to prove anything other than being allowed to simply exist.
Misha’s calligraphic work takes the form of silhouettes of the body intertwined with Urdu script — often in an effort to reclaim words and insults that are used as weapons against oneself and the body they inhabit.
Misha has exhibited work in Pakistan and the US. Her work has been photographed for and written about in various international publications including The New York Times, Vogue, The Guardian, Vice and Document Journal. Misha has created pieces for Cardi B, Gigi Hadid, Lil Nas X and Joy Crookes, and was recently an honoree on the Forbes Under 30 list.
Her work continues to be an explorative, radical and shameless celebration of people and their bodies.