Mala Iqbal

Brooklyn, New York

Artworks shown are selected from works submitted by the artist in their grant or residency application. All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.

About Mala Iqbal

A selfie of Mala Iqbal, a Pakistani-German-American woman with medium-light skin tone, long dark hair, and black frame glasses. Her black tshirt has an illustration of a skull and bones.

Mala Iqbal was born in the Bronx in 1973 and grew up in a household where three cultures and four languages intersected. She has had solo exhibitions at Soloway Gallery in Brooklyn; Ulterior Gallery, Bellwether Gallery, and PPOW in New York; Taylor University in Upland, Indiana; Twelve Gates Arts in Philadelphia; and Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles. Her series of collaborative paintings, made with Angela Dufresne, was shown in October 2021 at the Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, SUNY Purchase, and will be exhibited at LSU in Baton Rouge in Fall 2023. Her work has been exhibited in group shows throughout the United States as well as in Australia, China, Europe, and India. Her work has been reviewed in various publications including The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker. Iqbal has been awarded artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center, and the Hermitage Artist Retreat. She received a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) fellowship in Painting in 2008. Mala Iqbal lives and works in New York City.

Program Participation

Joan Mitchell Fellowship, 2023

Website / Social Links

Belonging and not belonging is something I have negotiated since childhood as a lesbian first-generation American with immigrant parents from very different geographies and cultural/religious backgrounds. My sketchbooks mix observational drawings and invented scenes—allowing me to place metaphysical, at times outright mannerist exaggerations of bodies and gestures right next to realisms. My paintings depict scenarios where the weirdos are the heroes or where anyone would be vulnerable—in loneliness, in awkward positions, asleep on the bus.”