PAKISTANI CONTEMPORARY ART SHOW REVIEW
Indian contemporary art is hotter than ever, but globalization is also giving a lift to artists from neighboring Pakistan says the New York Times in its review of a show featuring three female artists at Aicon Gallery in New York which ended January 11 2009 .
Farida Batool, Tazeen Qayyum, and Adeela Suleman were presented in its recently relocated space on 35 Great Jones Street during a time of great political upheaval for the country. The three women’s artistic practices speak to the role of women and Pakistan’s tumultuous recent history.
Triggered by the ‘Indian Highway’ currently on show at the Serpentine in London, reviewers there are declaring themselves ‘tired’ of the ‘obvious’ motifs evident in some of the art emanating from the Indian subcontinent. Bindis and the kind of steel hardware supplies favoured by Subodh Gupta are out. But in New York Adeela Suleman’s stainless steel kitchen equipment sculptures, which are described as ‘exquisite’, are given a gentler reception.
Most eye catching are Adeela Suleman’s sculptures, in which stainless-steel hardware of the sort that might be found in nearby kitchen supply shops is convincingly and ingeniously transformed. In the exquisite “Green Peacock Helmet,” an upturned funnel with a painted-on fan of feathers becomes a headpiece fit for a Mongolian warrior.
Adeela Suleman has assembled household hardware such as drain covers, nails, showerheads and fasteners, into forms ranging from strange microorganisms to internal organs and sections of the human body. Despite the clunky and prosaic associations attached to these found objects, the finished artworks have a surprisingly ‘delicate quality’ says Art Knowledge News.
While the domestic origins of her materials may provoke the viewer to label her work as feminist in its intent, Suleman prefers instead to view her works as sketches in three-dimensional form realized through the potential of combining these disparate elements.
Suleman received a Masters of Arts in International Relations from the University of Karachi in 1999, and continues to live and work in Karachi, Pakistan.
Delicate workmanship is a striking feature in many Pakistani works, a legacy of Pakistan’s tradition of miniature painting which dates back to the Mughal empire.
Tazeen Qayyum renders cockroaches and other household pests with extraordinary delicacy. (Like the well-known contemporary artist Shahzia Sikander, Ms. Qayyum studied miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore.) The pins and small labels attached to several works mimic the conventions of entomology, but they also exude a minimalist vibe.
She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, with an emphasis in Indian Miniature Painting in 1996. She lives and works between Lahore, Pakistan and Toronto, Canada.
Farida Batool who received her MA in ) from the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, Australia in 2003 and now lives and works in Lahore Pakistan, has created a series of lenticular prints (the image changes with the viewing angle) to portray complex political realies.
Batool prefers the medium to that of video, as the lenticular print allows the viewer to meditate upon a frozen series of moments within a single event, stop at any moment, and review again instantly.
Her print Nai Reesan Shehr Lahore Diyan (There is no Match of the City Lahore) depict acts of arson committed by religious extremists. Through the animation, Batool weighs the evils of both Eastern and Western extremism and finds the greater evil is difficult to identify.
- Emerging Pakistani artists getting noticed in India and abroad July 2008 – Telegraph India gives an overview of the Pakistani art scene, who is collecting, who is being collected, the main dealers and upcoming shows
- Best of Pakistani art July 2008 – the curator of a show in Britain talks about the renaissance of art in Pakistan, calligraphy, miniatures and the buzzing art scene