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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.

Posts Tagged ‘pakistani contemporary art’

Pakistani contemporary miniature art – overview on video

Posted by artradar on June 4, 2009


Aisha Khalid

Aisha Khalid

Keep hearing about contemporary Pakistani art and want to know a bit more? Here is a great little introductory video.

RTHK, a Hong Kong media organisation, has produced a brief but powerful  video which, in just 6 minutes, manages to  include:

  • a look at the historical development of the genre which has roots in the Mughal empire;
  • the tools – shell mixing pallettes and squirrel hair brushes so fine that only 2-3 hairs are used;
Imran Qureshi

Imran Qureshi

  • demonstration of artists at work;
  • interviews with 2 renowned artists, Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid, who talk about the sources of their inspiration: nuclear warheads and curtains in the Red Light District of Amsterdam;
  • a contextual interview with Professor Salimi Hashmi, a respected expert who explains that the development of this hallowed aesthetic into a contemporary form has spurred vigorous debate.

Watch the Pakistani contemporary art video here

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Posted in Classic/Contemporary, Feminist art, Interviews, Islamic art, Miniatures, Overviews, Painting, Pakistani, War | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pakistani artist Shahzia Sikander at Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum New York to August 2009

Posted by artradar on December 15, 2008



Shahzia Sikander Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection
On view March 20-August 31, 2009
Internationally acclaimed artist Shahzia Sikander will serve as the ninth guest curator of the “Selects” exhibition series devoted to showing the museum’s permanent collection.

Sikander will mine and interpret the museum’s collection and produce an installation of selected work. This exhibition will include a new work created by Sikander, inspired by Cooper-Hewitt’s collection. Trained as a miniaturist at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, Sikander merges the traditional South Asian art of miniature painting with contemporary forms and styles. Her work explores the relationship between the present and the past and the richness of multicultural identities.

Works on view will include:


  • More than 20 Jacquard-woven portraits of notable figures throughout history and George Augustus Sala’s “Panorama from the World’s Fair,” which explore the line between portraiture and caricature and the effects of time on the nature of satire and humor.
  • Richly illustrated early 20th-century German medical illustrations by Friedrich Eduard Bilz, which unfold in multiple layers to allow further investigation of the human anatomy.
  • Drawings and prints showing the grotesque and the hybrid nature of the human body, including an etching by Francisco Goya, “A Way of Flying.”

Highlight new work by Sikander

A highlight of the exhibition will be a new work by Sikander. Using the collections of Cooper-Hewitt and the Freer and Sackler galleries as inspiration, the artist will create two works on paper, which will be bound in the middle to imply an open book. The piece will combine drawing and printmaking and will include direct references from exhibition objects, further establishing connections between seemingly disparate works and providing new ways of looking at the collection.

Biography of Shahzia Sikander

Following her undergraduate training, Sikander received a master’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and served as a fellow of the Glassell School of Art’s Core Program in Houston and an artist-in-residence at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. She is a 2006 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Young Global Leader” award. Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions at such national and international venues as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the National Gallery of Canada; the Venice Biennale 2005; and, the Museum of Modern Art, Paris.

Visit the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Recent posts on events now, events coming, Pakistani artists, art in New York

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Posted in Museum shows, New York, Pakistani, Shahzia Sikander, USA | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Best of Pakistani art in show Bradford, UK to July 2008

Posted by artradar on July 18, 2008

Ali Akbar, Accepted Religion

Ali Akbar, Accepted Religion







Source: Yorkshire Post

PAKISTANI ART to July 25th 2008. Pakistani art has a champion at Bradford University. Curator Alison Darnbrough has brought some of the country’s most important artists to England.
Alison Darnbrough readily admits that she was surprised by what she found in Pakistan’s art world.

Until a couple of years ago, the curator of Bradford University’s Gallery II had little knowledge of the Muslim country’s vast cultural wealth. However, her eyes were opened after she seized an opportunity to travel with Imran Khan, the legendary cricketer-turned-politician and now university vice chancellor, back to his homeland.

“I went there for the opening of Imran Khan’s new college,” says Darnbrough. “Because there is little tourism and people seem somehow scared or nervous about going there, I didn’t know what to expect, but I fell in love with the country.

“Arts life in Pakistan buzzing”

“If you travel around, and particularly if you go to Karachi, you find the arts and the cultural life of the country is buzzing.

“There are whole communities of artists working together – and the press is incredibly supportive of the arts, with dedicated publications covering all of the art which is exploding around the country.”

Art renaissance in Pakistan: First National Art Gallery opens 2007

Darnbrough was in the country just in time to catch the crest of the wave of an undeniable art renaissance happening in Pakistan. In August 2007 Islamabad, the capital, saw a long wait come to an end with the opening of the country’s first National Art Gallery.

Decades of political turbulence was finally overcome with the opening of the four-storey gallery in the heart of the capital city. It was a symbol of the country’s progress and a recognition of the existence of its many artistic communities.

When the gallery first opened, it featured the work of more than 100 Pakistani artists and inspired the latest collection being displayed by Gallery II at Bradford University.

Seven artists show calligraphy and miniatures

Sacred Marks, Sacred Space runs until July 25 2008 and features the work of seven Pakistani artists. Like most of the work chosen to launch the country’s first national museum, the exhibition is made up of calligraphy and miniatures. Darnbrough says: “In the Islamic world, calligraphy had always been both an art and an occupation and the pen of a calligrapher has been referred to as the ambassador of intelligence, the messenger of the thought, interpreter of mind and sometimes referred to as ‘music for the eyes’.

“The skill, control, focus and devotion of the artist gives calligraphy an unusually sacred and meditative feel where both the surface (space) and the image (marks) attain sublimity due to its often spiritual content.”

While calligraphy was praised in the Islamic world, paintings were less so. This is because the religion forbids depictions not only of Allah and Mohammed, but of human figures.

Revival of miniatures in 1980s

Darnbrough says: “While calligraphy was always practiced by artists, miniature on the other hand, which borrowed from many central Asian and Chinese sources, was gradually pushed to the periphery during the British Raj, so much so that it was practiced by only three or four important artists until its revival in the 1980s led primarily by miniature maestro Professor Bashir Ahmed. I met him through Marjorie Hussain, a British journalist who lives in Pakistan. When I saw the paintings he was producing, I knew I wanted to bring it to Bradford.” Ahmed’s work featured in an exhibition at the gallery in December and he has supplied a number of the artists from his college for the latest exhibition Sacred Marks, Sacred Space.

“The links we have built with Pakistan through Imran Khan have been fantastic, and to be able to bring the art work being produced in the country to Bradford, really is quite special,” says Darnbrough. “Before I went to the country, I thought that Islamic art was very traditional and that work being produced in Pakistan probably would not be all that exciting.

Contemporary themes: Japanese anime to child abuse

“The artists we are bringing here have produced some incredibly exciting work. Amna Hashmi is an artist who tells stories of mythical Pakistani heroes, but uses a style which is very inspired by Japanese anime.

“Another artist, Aisha Rahim, has produced paintings using hair, handprints and footprints and her work looks at the incredibly controversial and challenging subject of sexual abuse of children. This work is brave, important and fascinating art.”

Sacred Marks, Sacred Space runs at Gallery II, Bradford University, to July 25 2008.  For information on both call 01274 233137.

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Posted in Pakistani | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »