Is a visual-artist based in Kolkata, India
Reya Ahmed is a 24-year-old visual artist exploring feminism, queer identity and her experiences of growing up in a Bengali-Muslim household through an interdisciplinary crossroad of illustration, animation, architectural and editorial design. A lot of her creations are focused on women navigating spaces within the urban fabric and dealing with societally imposed binaries and heteronormative rituals. The women may be soft but at the same time revel in their strength, without either quality compromising the other. Since 2015, she has spearheaded an independent zine project, illustrated for prestigious editorial and literary publications, curated art for festivals, designed performance installations, and been a part of indie short-film projects. The subversion of a religious gaze on gender is something that is a recurring element in her work. During the pandemic, she has taken an interest in studying Mughal and Persian miniatures to reimagine them in a way in which the women are not just objects of desire but subjects with agency and authority over their narratives.
At present, she is artistic director and curator at The Queer Muslim Project, one of the largest global online networks of LGBTIQ+ Muslims who work to equip LGBTIQ+ persons with the skills necessary to challenge existing narratives of fear and stigma around their bodies and identities through visual art, storytelling and inclusive faith-based dialogue.