Khushna Sulaman-Butt

Khushna Sulaman-Butt’s painting practice consists of monumental figurative works, mostly depicting realistic portraits based on original photographs. Strongly influenced by modern society and in particular Guy Debord’s “The Society of the Spectacle”, Khushna questions and explores societal expectations, aesthetics of the female body and the subversive exchange of power latent in gender, with subjects rooted in her British-Pakistani background and compositions riffing on European portraiture. By translating the sitter's essence from classical poses, the artist sees her work as a negotiation between people from diverse backgrounds and the Western canon. Sulaman-Butt engages with the signs and visual rhetoric of academic portraiture combined with ethnic and gender diversity within the sitters, bridging the gap between art history and contemporary discourses.


Khushna Sulaman-Butt (b. 1995 in Blackburn, UK) completed her BFA at Oxford University in 2016 and her MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2021. Her work has been exhibited at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland; The Scottish National Portrait Gallery; The Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter and The National Portrait Gallery in London. Some of her recent exhibitions include Art Brussels, Newchild Gallery, Brussels (2023); Art Antwerp, Newchild Gallery, Antwerp (2022); the New Romantics, presented by The Artist Room in collaboration with Phillips, Lee Eugean Gallery, Seoul (2022); Tomorrow: London, White Cube, London (2020); Grads Now, Saatchi Graduate Show, London (2021 & 2020); RCA/Slade School Graduation Show, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2020). The artist was appointed as the winner of the British Muslim of the Year (2018) Arts and Cultural Awareness Award. Her work ‘Society’ was selected for the National (BP) Portrait Gallery Award (2017). Sulaman-Butt has also been shortlisted for ACS Studio Prize (2020) and Aesthetica Art Prize (2017). She was a resident artist at The Beecher Residency, Lithchfield in 2022. The artist lives and works in London.