Khayaal: Understanding the meaning behind Tazeen Qayyum's work

In the Urdu language, the word Khayaal translates to care, thought, and attentiveness. At the root of this definition is the spirit of taking care of and being polite to others.  

For Tazeen Qayyum, a Pakistan-born contemporary visual artist based in Oakville, Ontario, this one word from her native language served as the inspiration for her latest project, Khayaal.

Khayaal is both a performative video and a life-size drawing and will be featured at the TD beacon branch at Queen and Bay Streets in downtown Toronto starting in March.

In this installation, commissioned by TD, Qayyum is seen repeatedly drawing a single word for hours at a time, creating an abstract form while maintaining the word's legibility.

Tazeen Qayyum
Khayaal is currently on display at the TD Beacon Branch at Queen and Bay Streets in downtown Toronto.

According to Qayyum, the piece is a form of meditation, allowing her to both draw focus inward while creating space to share with others what she is feeling and thinking. The piece is meant to serve as a reflection on the world around us and our search for inclusiveness and self-unity.

“Drawing from feelings of empathy, my performative work is a quiet reflection of memories and shared vulnerabilities”, Qayyum said. “We are connected through thoughts, words and actions. That experience is what I want the audience to remember after they leave."

Khayaal pays homage to the beautiful, poetic and expressive language Urdu which, according to estimates, is spoken by close to 100 million people around the world. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and is most prominently spoken in main urban centres within the region.

Under the strategic leadership of the Bank's senior art curator, Stuart Keeler, TD is committed to showcasing artwork that is reflective of all voices and timely perspectives, while also helping to break down barriers facing artists in the North American arts community.

With the acquisition of new pieces such as Khayaal, TD Art aspires to help create a more inclusive tomorrow by connecting people through their experiences with the arts and by amplifying all voices. 

"We are focused on establishing a collection of artwork created by a diverse representation of artists," Keeler said. "We want to harness the power of art to not only tell great stories but engage people in conversations, build up communities, and break down barriers."

Khayaal

Through the TD's new corporate citizenship platform, The Ready Commitment, we are committed to supporting the amplification of new, under-represented and diverse voices in arts and culture. To learn more about TD Art please visit https://www.td.com/corporate-responsibility/art.

Tazeen Qayyum is a contemporary artist living in Ontario, Canada. She received her BFA in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. www.tazeenqayyum.com