Zarah Hussain: Breath

On view through April 18, 2022

Spiritual traditions around the world have long used the breath as a tool for transformation and awakening. In a series of paintings commissioned by PEM, British artist Zarah Hussain explores the universal sanctity and necessity of breathing. Mining her own reflections and experiences, she integrates the personal stories of members from our community who have, in some way, experienced the physical trauma of losing their breath or its transformative healing power.

Moving through inhalations and exhalations, as well as the silent spaces in between, Hussain’s work — produced in London while the artist was under lockdown due to COVID-19 — utilizes the universal principles of mathematics and geometry to guide us into moments of deep contemplation and stillness. The exhibition, located in the Jurrien Timmer Gallery, also features an animation and soundscape that slows visitors down to activate an awareness of and deeper connection to the breath.

Zarah Hussain: Breath is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum. Jurrien Timmer, Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation, Jennifer and Andrew Borggaard, James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes, Kate and Ford O'Neil, and Henry and Callie Brauer provided generous support. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Share your impressions with us on social media using #ZarahHussain

TOP IMAGE: Photography by Stefan Lacandler

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Create your own breathing meditation

Adjust the color range and speed to create a custom meditation animation inspired by Zarah Hussain's Breath. Inhale and exhale as each new band of color appears and then disappears.