I fell in love with Pakistani art in New York City


On the opening night of art shows in New York, art-loving crowds wander from gallery to gallery to admire all the new work that is up on display

The reception for Go Figure was very warm and welcoming

In my opinion, this particular group show was the most impressive show that is currently being exhibited

It got incredible reviews from viewers and art critics alike who were present at the opening reception

Salman Toor, an artist himself, did an incredible job and curated the show remarkably

He picked a very inspiring theme for the show: figures from modern Muslim culture

To do justice to the theme, he had selected the most apt artists (Komail Aijazuddin, Irfan Hasan, Saba Khan, Saad Qureshi, and Hiba Schahbaz) whose work boldly expresses the diversity of life within Islamic culture

He, too, exhibited his own work along with the aforementioned artists

All the participating artists were either trained, reside or frequently exhibit in the west

Their pictures range from imagined portraits, female empowerment, quotations from western art history, queerness and kitsch all of which was created to provoke an emotional response from viewers

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Photo: www

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com[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="569"]Photo: www

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com[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"]Photo: www

aicongallery

com[/caption] Irfan Hasan continues his series of paintings with After

His subjects are figures from the work of western renaissance and neo-classical artists

He pays homage to these masters by giving a personal, highly imaginative interpretation of their work but at the same time showing the influence of miniature painting in his background

For this show he painted the head of a Moroccan man, originally painted by Joseph Tapiro

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="380"]Photo: www

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com[/caption] Hiba Schahbaz, who studied at the National College of Arts and Pratt Institute, presented sensual portraits of women, challenging the perceived ideas of the role and image of Muslim women

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="534"]Photo: www

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com[/caption] Komail Aijazuddin, who attended New York University, showed his superior skills in drawing hostile and virile muscular Muslim men

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Photo: www

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com[/caption] The strength of the show came from the manner in which these contrasting ideas were being held together with the common thread of figures

The show came at a time where various aspects of Muslim culture were under attack in the American and New York news

For that reason, it was a welcome representation of the humane aspects of Muslim culture

Gradually, Pakistani art and culture is becoming more widely recognised in the United States and around the world

Artists like Imran Qureshi, Rashid Rana and Shahzia Sikander are part of many shows in the west but recently I have seen work of many other artists such as Saira Waseem, Ambreen Butt and Ahsan Jamal in major museums in the United States

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"]Photo: Alfred Rubio[/caption] Recently, there was a group show of Pakistani artists in the United Nations to promote a positive image of Pakistan

In June, Pakistani artist Ghulam Mohammad won the international Jameel Prize given by the Victoria and Albert Museum

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Photo: www

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net/[/caption] Over the years Pakistani art has become a frequent presence at major art fairs across the world

The unrest and sometimes chaos in Pakistan has given a fertile space to create art with statements of peace and resistance to reactionary forces

Often, Pakistani artists have taken bold risks in creating works of art that serve as controversial in content

It is this movement which has made an impression globally

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"] Photo: Canvas Gallery[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"]Photo: muftah

org[/caption] These artists are doing a fabulous job in representing Pakistan in art map of the world

At home, particularly when it comes to men, people are discouraged from pursuing a career in the arts as it isn’t seen as a dependable

It is a competitive field to get into where everyone is trying to make their mark, along with the fact that the resources available to Pakistanis when it comes to art are scarce

But finally, the west is acknowledging these emerging and talented artists from Pakistan who are installing a different narrative when it comes to their country; one that is soft, one that screams of the abundance of sheer, undiscovered talent – one that bridges the gap between the two cultures and gives them a reason to celebrate something together

Back home, there is a need to establish more art schools, galleries and museums in Pakistan to promote, and provide more importance to the arts as a medium of communication, and a voice that has now begun to resound universally

Talent must always be nurtured and when these people stride across countries to pictorially voice their opinions and share their talent, they challenge all the labels and narratives that they have been slammed with

Art is an instrument to teach tolerance for diversity as well as a challenge the bigoted developments in society

Pakistan, in its current social and political crisis, needs it now more than ever before

The show carries on till September 17, 2016



Date:18-Aug-2016 Reference:View Original Link