Weng Contemporary


Nūr Jahān (The Empresses, H10-2)-Damien Hirst-1

“Nūr Jahān” belongs to “The Empresses”, a series of five glorious prints carefully composed of butterfly wings that create a kaleidoscope effect and are placed on a flaming red background. Each work has been carefully screen printed with glitter coat which offers that gleaming effect on them. Each Empress from this series is named after five exceptionally influential female rulers: Wu Zetian (624-705), Nūr Jahān (1577-1645), Theodora (c. 490-548), Suiko (554-628) and Taytu Betul (1851-1918). Their characters and stories are enhanced by the dominant red tone of the series, which deals with themes such as life, war, power, anger, love, joy and luck. “Nūr Jahān”, defined by complex mosaic-like arrangements and a structural composition, is named after the multi-skilled de-facto empress of the Mughal Empire. In 1611 Nūr Jahān (1577-1645) became Emperor Jahāngīr’s 20th wife, but not officially his empress. Nonetheless, she exerted her influence on the empire, minting coins in her name and issuing royal decrees. A great diplomat, a skilled hunter and a successful advisor, Nūr Jahān was also a talented architect – her designs for her parent’s tomb in Agra are believed to have inspired the Taj Mahal.

“ I just made these 5 mega red glitter prints! I thought the idea was good but seeing them now, real, they feel like they are unlocking the unfathomable mysteries of the universe. I don’t know why they are so good but they are... They feel powerful and important. I called them “The Empresses” and named them after five famous female rulers (...) I love art and it’s uplifting qualities and how can these not make you feel good? I love it when an idea explodes and becomes more than the sum of it’s parts. „

Damien Hirst