During her first collaboration with Wingate Studio, Ambreen created a set of 5 narrative works entitled Daughter of the East in 2008. Part of a body of work entitled Dirty Pretty, this set of prints arose from the artist’s experience returning to Pakistan in 2007–her first visit
in 12 years. In particular, this work is a reaction to the highly complicated event referred to as the Seige of Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad, which occured from July 3 to 11, 2007. During the seige, the Pakistani government raided the Red Mosque complex, whose students and mosque leaders challenged the Pakistani government and practiced radical religious teachings. When negotiations with the mosque leaders failed, the complex was stormed by the Pakistani Army’s Special Services Group, resulting in 248 people injured, over 100 deaths, and 50 captures. While at least 30 women and children were able to escape unharmed, many were reported to have been used as sheilds by their male allies and were killed or injured.
Each of the five works explores the vulnerability, violence, strength, and resilience of the women in this situation, as well as the artist’s emotional reaction to this extremely complex event. While the decorative elements form a delicate and beautiful whole, they are composed of symbols relating to fear and violence, evoking the artist’s personal experience and the dichotomies that belie her work.