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Empress Nur Jahan

2022

Signed

From the series The Empresses

1

Size

99.06 x 99.06 cm
39.00 x 39 in

Reference

98086c96

Year

2022

Medium

Prints

Damien Hirst (b. 1965, British) “Nur Jahan” (2022) from the artist’s series of five prints known as “The Empresses”.

Laminated giclee print on aluminum composite panel, screen printed with glitter.

Hand signed and numbered 1025/3041 on a label on the verso. [The edition consists of 1561 Physical Editions and 1480 NFT Deeds.]

100 x 100 cm (39.4 x 39.4 inches).

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This captivating red and black work of art is a complex mosaic-like arrangement and a structurally intricate composition. It depicts Hirst’s butterflies (a common motif) arranged in concentric circles with a large butterfly in the center of the composition.  With its kaleidoscope-like patterns, the eye is drawn to the center.

Nūr Jahān (1577-1645) became the 20th wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahāngīr in 1611 but was not officially an empress although she was very influential in 17th Century India. As the dynasty's only woman ruler, Nūr Jahān is omnipresent in the folklore of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.  She was an expert hunter, a wise ruler, a delicate poet, and a great architectural designer.  Her innovative designs for her parent’s tomb in Agra (called "the little Taj Mahal") are believed to have inspired the Taj Mahal.  In this work, Hirst was inspired by the mosaic tile ceiling of the mausoleum’s interior.

Damien Hirst has long been fascinated by butterflies and they have often been included in his images.  One reason is because of the way they could be used to explore themes of life and death.  Butterflies also have a spiritual heritage and play a symbolic role in many religions.  The spiritual heritage attached to the butterfly, along with the spectacular patterns Hirst creates in The Empresses collection indicate religious undertones which are a prominent theme in his work. 
Early in 2022, HENI Editions presented “The Empresses” by Damien Hirst, a series of five glorious prints depicting carefully composed images of butterflies. Both prints and NFT Deeds were available to purchase between January 28th and February 4th, 2022. The final number of editions produced was limited by the demand for each print during this very limited period of time.  The prints in this collection are all named after an Empress, linked to the notable historical periods in which they were influential.   Included in the series are Wu Zetian, Empress Theodora (Byzantine), Nūr Jahān (the de-facto Empress of the Mughal Empire), Suiko, the first recorded empress of Japan, and Taytu Betul, the Empress of Ethiopia in the 19th century.  The striking Empresses prints are constructed of beautiful images of red butterfly wings, which are intricately arranged with a filigree of red glitter to produce visually intoxicating kaleidoscope-like effects.

1965 Bristol, United Kingdom

Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol and grew up in Leeds. In 1984 he moved to London, where he worked in construction before studying for a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths college. During his second year he conceived and curated a group exhibition entitled ‘Freeze.’ The show is commonly acknowledged to have been the launching point not only for Hirst, but for a generation of British artists. Since the late 1980s, Hirst has used a varied practice of installation, sculpture, painting and drawing to explore the complex relationship between art, life and death, explaining: “Art’s about life and it can’t really be about anything else... there isn’t anything else.” Through his work, he investigates and challenges contemporary belief systems, and dissects the uncertainties at the heart of human experience.


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