Friday, December 5, 2014

Shahzia Sikander in the New York Times

Great article by Shahzia Sikander in the New York Times on an equally great and timely theme -  'Turning Points 2015'. She is part of a very prestigious list of global thinkers who will be contributing under this theme; people including Tony Blair, Julian AssangeBrendan MullaneSeamus Mullen, the rapper-songwriter Pharrell Williams, the novelist Siri Hustvedt, the writer-photographer Taiye Selasi, the artist Shahzia Sikander, and esteemed cartoonist Patrick Chappatte, amongst others (Editor's Letter on the Theme).
And this is something which makes Shahzia stand taller than most of the other Pakistani artists - she is truly global and more importantly perceived as a global thinker.

Long Live Shahzia's transnational success .... and long live Pakistan art's resurgence !
Enjoy the article


Artwallaa !

The World Is Yours, the World Is Mine

"The World Is Yours, the World Is Mine," by Shahzia Sikander. Credit Sikander Studio       

History is often held hostage by the highest bidder — whoever gets to tell the story ends up defining what happened. What happened in 2014? What mattered in 2014? It depends whom you ask. Historical narratives recount political, economic or social events, but rarely tell stories of the everyday. The mundane nuances of life are often ignored precisely because they are so personal. But private stories are usually the ones that we connect with most; they capture our attention and remain in our memory. Modes of storytelling like painting and rap allow us to engage with those personal stories, becoming the vehicles through which history passes.
A major story of 2014 has been the Ebola outbreak, which has spread from West Africa to Europe and the United States. The Ebola narrative has also become the story of how we don’t want to be connected in what is supposedly a hyperconnected and globalized world. We have tried to screen for symptoms and enforce quarantines. However, the interface between human and microbe is complex. Our bodies cannot thrive without some microbes — they are an essential part of our personal ecosystems. They are always present, often lying dormant, just as narratives lie dormant until someone culls them from history’s rubble. I have chosen to respond to these events from 2014 in my work, “The World Is Yours, the World Is Mine,” (2014).


The World Is Yours, the World Is Mine

Africa is the glowing gold-and-green heart of the painting, a central stage on which many of the world’s issues play out. The amalgam of diverse societies and cultures, its swirling ink recalls topographical maps or satellite imagery of the land; swaths of red and blue seeping ink surround it, suggesting anatomical drawings and medical documentation. The mythological three-headed figure cradles, and at the same time claws at, the heart. The medical, anatomical and diagrammatic aspects of the painting are meant to signify the terrain of the body as a site or landscape comprised of multiple, disparate components that, in the end, are all related to one another — just as disparate elements can come together to shape a collective narrative that is told, retold, reshaped and distorted over time.

The central quasi-mythological figure has three heads, all of them New Yorkers. The figure on the left is Langston Hughes, the poet, novelist and leading voice of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s who told of the everyday lives of working-class African-Americans. In the center is death, a white skeleton figure with its organs spilling out of its chest. And on the right is the hip-hop artist Nas, known for his vivid observations and storytelling. Hughes and Nas have distinct relationships with lyric verse in their storytelling: Hughes through poetry and Nas through rap.
Shahzia Sikander Credit Sikander Studio       

My painting explores multiple modes of storytelling from the vantage point of New York City, a place of integration and turmoil that is still coming to terms with its underrepresented narratives, including its African-American history. Many issues arise: not just questions of wealth and class, but of trade, global economics, crime, capitalism, race and personal identity.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Imran Qureshi review in The Guardian – a hauntingly beautiful show at the Ikon Gallery

Another city, another important art gallery/museum, another solo show, another set of rave reviews - Imran Qureshi continues to impress us and the world !


Imran Qureshi review – a hauntingly beautiful show at the Ikon Gallery

Source: The Guardian
November 23, 2014

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi is a master miniaturist who also has bigger things on his mind
self-portrait 2009 imran qureshiSelf-portrait, 2009 (detail) by Imran Qureshi, in gold leaf and opaque watercolour on
wasli paper. Photograph: © Imran Qureshi/Ali & Amna Naqvi Collection, Hong Kong

There is a self-portrait in this hauntingly beautiful show by the award-winning Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi that shows him at work, pigment in one hand, brush in the other – so far just like any other painter. But Qureshi is not working on a picture, or upon a canvas, and he does not appear in any kind of studio.

Instead he shows himself kneeling inside of one of those rectangular stone enclosures surrounded by intricate foliage and gold leaf familiar from Indian miniatures. One sees him from above too, a bird’s-eye view of a tiny smiling man working happily upon the floor with the sharpened tip of his brush. The shock is that he seems to be painting pools of blood.

Blood-red paint – and all the many ways in which he uses it – have become something of a trademark for Qureshi. Born in Lahore in 1972, he has lived through decades of martial law, terrorism, uprisings and massacres, and there is no question that his medium is metaphorical. But what makes his work so profound is that this metaphor appears infinitely various.
Opening Word of This New Scripture, 2013 by Imran Qureshi.
Opening Word of This New Scripture, 2013 by Imran Qureshi. Photograph: © Imran
Qureshi/ courtesy Corvi-Mora, London
Blood-red spatter drifts across vast golden ovals like the floating lilies in Monet’s ponds, evanescent and diffuse, brimming with life (and with death). Blood-red paint spills down a canvas that, upended, becomes a tall conifer, its branches like radiating arteries; a tree of life.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Local YET global - Adeel-uz-Zafar

Artwallaa believes that the recently opened exhibition ' Stranger Than Fiction' by Adeel Uz Zafar (AUZ) at Gandhara Art Space is local yet completely global in nature. The exhibition is local because it is happening in Pakistan (Karachi) but is truly global in nature in terms of diversity of works, quality of works, curatorial focus, installation of works, the duration of the show, accompanied by a book launch and last but not the least, the presence of the artist himself.

Wet-plate-collodian based work. Source: Gandhara-art

Artwallaa was aware of Mr Zafar's work, but really noticed him through his work in 'The Rising Tide' at the Mohatta Palace Museum in 2010.

You simply can not miss AUZ's works because they draw instant attention. They are very large in size (and hence impact), are usually monochrome (and hence unusual), appear to borrow from familiar natural or fictional characters (and hence affect natural attraction), the bandages make you wonder what the underlying message is and they draw you in because of one's curiosity towards the medium of work.

Once you get close to the work, you are intrigued by the technique and the material used (engraved drawing on plastic vinyl), and by the flawless execution of the technique. Amongst a lot of others, Artwallaa was also not able to avoid these 'temptations' and has enjoyed this series since then.

At the back of my mind, however, was always this question; what will AUZ do next. He cannot keep on doing this series alone (regardless of how enjoyable each of these works are). In the past twelve months, Artwallaa has found multiple answers to those too. AUZ has come up with new series in etching prints, wet-plate-collodian based images and the latest introduction of 3D works. The current exhibition seems culmination of the past two years of this journey of discovery.

Blossom, Painted Fiberglass, 66.04 x 53.34 x17.78 cm, 26 x 21 x 7 in.
Source: Gandhara-art

Artwallaa credits Mr Zafar of bringing pop culture into the Pakistan visual art vocabulary and using them in different mediums. according to trhe artist himself, "Stranger than fiction features a selection of seminal anthropomorphic characters known around the world for their incredible feats and heroic actions. The imagined content is not necessarily based on facts, but it contemplates and interrogates society, politics, philosophy, life and adventure. It highlights the hopes, frustrations, dreams and
disclosure from some of the living experiences of everyday life".

The use of Powerpuff girls in vinyl and also in fibreglass emphasises on feminine issues as well power. Artwallaa assumes Mr AUZ is also a tribute to the ever-increasing list of achievements of Pakistani women (including the Nobel Prize, the Oscars, The Emmys and the Asia Cricket World Cup; and not to forget the powerpuff girls of visual arts - Shahzia Sikander, Aisha Khalid, Naiza Khan and so many others).

Go Pakistani Women ! Go Pakistan Art ! *

Your 'Go Go'


* these terms should not be misconstrued for the terms used repeatedly in the political apace in Pakistan. To avoid any doubt, the above terms definitely have positive connotations attached to them !

Saturday, October 25, 2014

International exhibitions of Pakistan art are NOT news anymore; but that IS good NEWS.

According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of 'news' is, 'newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events'. If that particular incident starts to happen regularly, it stops being 'news'.

The most relevant (though inconvenient) example will be the brown-outs (load-shedding of electricity) in Pakistan. When this cycle of brown-outs started in 2007-08, it was headline news. Now it is not see as 'noteworthy information'.

Putting it in the context of Pakistan art; until a few years (months?) ago, an international exhibition of Pakistan art used to be 'news' as Pakistan art was hardly shown internationally. This has changed significantly to an extent where Artwallaa believes that international exhibitions of Pakistan art, in itself, are not news anymore.

Gone are the days when Pakistan art was promoted internationally by a few dedicated platforms like Green Cardamom, Gandhara-art and Aicon representing a handful of artists. Pakistan art is now being shown regularly outside Pakistan, by a much broader spectrum of art-promoting platforms who are representing a much wider and diverse artist base.

Internationalisation of Pakistan art is now entering its second phase. It has not been an easy ride, it still is not and is not likely to be in future too. But the 'movement' is gathering pace, the trajectory is surely positive and the 'product' is definitely creative and exciting.

To prove our point, as we write this blog, there are at least 10 good Pakistani art based exhibitions/shows either currently already on display or are being planned around the world. These are on top of the works shown in art-fairs (like at The Frieze) and Artwallaa has surely missed a few other exhibitions (if we have, please let us know and we will add to the list)

Important exhibitions of Pakistan Art - September-October, 2014:
  • Toronto: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, September 18 2014 - January 18, 2015

    • The artists presented are Bani Abidi, Nurhajan Akhlaque, David Alesworth, Aisha Khalid, Atif Khan and Imran Qureshi

  • Paris: Imran Qureshi: Nuit Blanc, Paris, Saturday, 4 October 2014
  • London: Present Re-inventions,  October 11 – October 27, 2014, Grosvenor Gallery
    • The artists presented are Irfan Hasan, Muzzumil Ruheel and Muhammad Zeeshan.
  • Hong Kong: The Importance of Staying Quiet, October 4 – November 3, 2014,  Yallay Gallery
    • The artists presented are Anwar Jalal Shemza, Zahoor ul Akhlaq, Lala Rukh, Rashid Rana, Hamra Abbas, Sara Salman, Ali Kazim, Ayesha Jatoi, Fahd Burki and Iqra Tanveer. 
  • Gwangju, Korea - Gwangju biennale - Huma Mulji, September 5 - November 9, 2014
  •  New Dehli: Alif, Mohammad Ali Talpur, October 12 – November 10, 2014, Latitude 28
  • New York: Ethereal, October 23 - December 13, 2014, Leila Heller Gallery
    • The artists presented are Faiza Butt, Noor Ali, Ali Kazim, Rashid Rana, Irfan Hasan, SairaWaseem, Mohammad Ali Talpur
  • Karachi: Stranger Than Fiction - Adeel Uz Zafar, October 21 - December 5, 2014 
  • San Antonio: 'Parallax', Shahzia Sikander, October, 2014
  • Michigan: {Dis}Comfort Zones, Anilla Quayyum Agha, October 2014, Grand Rapids Art Museum, October


Toronto: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, September 18 2014 - January 18, 2015

    • The artists presented are Bani Abidi, Nurhajan Akhlaque, David Alesworth, Aisha Khalid, Atif Khan and Imran Qureshi

'Your way begins on the other side' 2014 by Aisha Khalid (Reverse View). — at Aga Khan Museum [Fan Page].

Paris: Imran Qureshi: Nuit Blanc, Paris, Saturday, 4 October 2014

'And they still seek traces of blood' 2014, Site Specific Installation at Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (BSG) on October 4th, 2014 for Nuit Blanche - Imran Qureshi — at Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (BSG). Source: Gandhara-art

more blog ideas

Top Pakistan art in 2013 based on prices achieved
Pakistan's top exhibitions in 2012 - local and global - out now
Pakistan's top exhibitions in 2013 - local and global - out in March 2014

Top 10 art works of Pakistani artists with highest prices ever

Top 10 museums of the world (do an aggregate from a few sources like geographic national, reuters, guardian, etc and add comments)

The rise and rise of Imran Qureshi - What's common between Bill Gates and Imran Qureshi - Malcolm Gladwell

 Collect data on pakistan artists exhibiting outside pakistan in 2012 and 2013.

Develop a pakistan artist price indiex

Staking the claim, back home - Shahzia Sikander

Top ten art fairs I the world

Top art biennales in the world

Rooftop and celebrities

Arts and Literature Festival - Lahore - Nov 2013

Do a chart  showing which artists are at what levels

Pakistan Arts - 2013-2014 : show how much has been achieved ..... Oscar, emmy, Imran Q, Anila Quayyum, Naiza's award, Agha Khan,
LLF, KLF, Isld Literary Festival, ArtNow, ..............  Pakistan Arts is back !

Sunday, October 19, 2014

YET another title for Pakistan - YET another confirmation of the upward momentum of Pakistan visual arts

Last week, Pakistan art world received yet another award from the global art fraternity. Anila Quayyum Agha, an NCA alum, was the winner of both the juried as well as the public vote of the Michigan based ArtPrize2014.

Apart from taking home $300,000 in prize money, Ms Agha was the fist winner in the award's history to have won both public (whose votes decide the award) and the art experts (the jury).

Another feather in the cap of Pakistan Visual Arts and another confirmation of the depth as well as breadth of this movement.  

Artwallaa finds this work exceptionally pleasing to the eye and have therefore added two articles with a lot of images.

Your -  enjoying the 'gorgeous sculpture'


PS: To know more on why Artwallaa believes that the Pakistan visual art scene is in an irreversible upward pattern, read the following articles:  

Anila Quayyum Agha's "Intersections" at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)
Anila Quayyum Agha’s “Intersections” at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)


Anila Quayyum Agha with her ArtPrize entry “Intersections.”
Anila Quayyum Agha with her ArtPrize entry “Intersections.”(Photo: AP )
This Gorgeous Sculpture Creates Instant Architecture in an Empty Room
By Kristin Hohenadel    
Source: The Eye  
Intersections by Pakistan-born Anila Quayyum Agha on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum earlier this month.
Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Held annually since 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is a democratic art competition open to anyone in the world over age 18, with generous cash prizes awarded by both a jury of experts and popular vote. For the first time, a single work—Intersections by Pakistan-born Anila Quayyum Agha—took this year’s public and juried grand prizes for a total of $300,000.
Agha’s stunning piece is an obvious crowd-pleaser, a 6½-foot square laser-cut, black lacquer wood cube suspended from the ceiling and lit with a single light bulb that casts breathtaking 32-feet by 34-feet shadows to create instant architecture in an otherwise empty room.
Courtesy of ArtPrize

Monday, October 6, 2014

Waqas Khan - keep him on your radar !

This artist, Waqas Khan, is worth keeping on your radar.

The pakistani miniature artist Waqas Khan returns to Sabrina Amrani Gallery, two years after his debut in Europe in the same space. These two years have been intense for the artist: He has exhibited in the most prestigious art fairs such as Art Basel, FIAC, Frieze London, Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Dubai, India Art Fair, Art Basel Miami and Art14 London; shown his work in multiple group shows in Vienna, New Delhi, Innsbruck, Madrid, Kraitchal, Kazan and Moscow; and he was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize 3. Furthermore, his work is now part of the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sikander's animated 'Parallax' gets U.S. premiere in San Antonio

September 30, 2014           

The multichannel video work, a recent acquisition by the foundation, deals with global politics by focusing on the strategically crucial Strait of Hormuz, often called a “choke point” through which about 20 percent of the world's petroleum flows.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What IS Art? New York artist creates 'art' that is invisible and collectors are paying millions

Read the article, listen to the audio and only after that read the other articles through the links. It will surely entertain you. The relevant question though still remains, 'What IS Art'?

Enjoy !



New York artist creates 'art' that is invisible and collectors are paying millions

Source: cbc
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Art enthusiasts admire Newstrom's paintings and sculptures at the Schulberg Gallery in New York. (Nick Fabin/Adriano Castelli /       
Art enthusiasts admire Newstrom's paintings and sculptures at the Schulberg Gallery in New York. (Nick Fabin/Adriano Castelli /
27-year-old artist Lana Newstrom says she is the first artist in the world to create invisible "art."  In this documentary we traveled to her empty studio to learn more about Lana and her unusual  artistic process. "Just because you can't see anything, doesn't mean I didn't put hours of work into creating a particular piece" Lana Newstrom, Artist.
"Art is about imagination and that is what my work demands of the people interacting with it. You have to imagine a painting or sculpture is in front of you," says Newstrom. 

Paul Rooney, Lana's agent, believes she might be the greatest artist alive working today: "When she describes what you can't see, you begin to realize why one of her invisible works can fetch upwards of a million dollars." said Rooney.

Listen to learn more about Lana Newstrom and her invisible art. Listen

Read the below articles only after you have listened to the interview:

Jonathan Jones on Art - The Guardian
New York Artist Lana Newstrom

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The biggest Museum art show of Pakistani artists outside Pakistan, is the most impactful too

The opening of the Pakistan contemporary art exhibition last week in the newly inaugurated Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, has lived up to the expectations of art enthusiasts including Artwallaa ( see Opening of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto is good news for Pakistani Arts).

Pakistan's most impactful international exhibition ever
Though fewer in numbers of participating artists, Artwallaa believes that this exhibition has become the largest and most impactful exhibition of Pakistan visual arts outside Pakistan. The only exhibition which comes close is the 'Hanging Fire' at the Asia Society New York in 2009 which was much more diverse in terms of participating artists but not impactful in terms of scale.

The reason why Artwallaa believes that the current exhibition rises above the "Hanging Fire' is because:

1. The Phenomenon of Imran Qureshi
The 'phenomenon' of Imran Qureshi had not happened in 2009. Even though Mr Qureshi had an installation at the Hanging Fire too, it was much smaller in size and impact. The extent and impact of Imran Qureshi's work at the Aga Khan Museum is much bigger (his RoofTop installation at The Met, NY was more intense and dramatic, but was only a standalone work). Mr Qureshi's current work also departed from his signature colours of blue and red, and instead focussed on different types of greens. This departure is important not only because of the change in colours but also because it spoke to the surroundings of the museum very well.

2. Scale and size matter
Besides Mr Qureshi's works, the scale of some other works impressed Artwallaa too. Aisha Khalid's carpet 'Your way begins on the other side', is eighteen feet tall and six feet  wide, and weighs 200 kilograms. Similarly, Atif Khan's 'One Another' measures 100 x 100 x 86 inches and weighs a mighty 800 kilograms.
Artwallaa is not obsessed with scale but the reality is that mankind has always used scale and size to impress their fellow humans in every era, and art is no exception (with no offence to miniature artists!). But more importantly, combine scale with excellent execution of artistic skills and brilliantly conceived original ideas, and you have artistic works which would last/impact many generations. Artwallaa believes that some of the works in this exhibition belong to that category.

3. Biggest body of works by a Pakistani artist outside Pakistan
The exhibition brings together the biggest body of works ever shown at a single exhibition by a single Pakistani artist anywhere outside Pakistan. Displaying 59 of Khalid's paintings, the exhibition provides the unique (and so far the only) opportunity in the past 16 years to view such an extensive body of work of this much celebrated artist. To Artwallaa,  it seems like a (mini) retrospective of the artists journey over the past 16 years.

4. The Curator 
The curator of the exhibition, Sharmini Perrera (whose contribution has not been talked about as much !) has done an excellent job in the choice of artists and works. The works jell exceptionally well with the museum and its surroundings. From the perspective of diversity of styles of works  - from paintings to installations to videos to prints to textiles to multi-media - this exhibition has it all.

See a Photo Essay' of the exhibition here

Pakistan visual arts continue to go from strength to strength and Artwallaa's conviction remains high that Pakistan visual (and other) arts is on an irreversible upward trend.

Enjoy and feel proud

Yours feeling-proud


PS: To know more on why Artwallaa believes that the Pakistan visual art scene is in an irreversible upward pattern, read the following articles:

Pakistan visual arts never had a better year than 2013 - Jan 25, 2014
Bloomberg article on Pakistan art - stereotyped, shallow but ..... - Aug 29, 2013
A Proud Milestone for Pakistan & Asian Art, - April 21, 2013


The artists (minus Bani Abidi) All photos credit to FB/artists/Tahir Mahmood.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Aga Khan Museum Opening - Sneak Previews

The $300mn Agha Khan Museum was officially opened by the Canadian Prime Minister and Prince Karim Aga Khan on Friday, September 12. The inaugural exhibition - Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan - will be opened to the public on September 18th. A number of 'previews' have already started and Artwallaa has trawled through the virtual and physical space to do a 'sneak preview' of the show.
There are six participating artists in the exhibition -  Imran Qureshi, Aisha Khalid, David Alesworth, Nurjahan Akhlaque, Atif Khan and Bani Abidi. The exhibition has brought together a very broad and diverse range of artistic styles including miniatures, prints, videos, installation and multi-media.
The exhibition also brings together a very extensive body of works of Aisha Khalid. Displaying 59 of Khalid's paintings, the exhibition provides the unique (and so far the only) opportunity in the past 20 years to view such an extensive body of work of this much celebrated artist. To Artwallaa,  it seems like a (mini) retrospective of the artists journey over the past 16 years.
What is however taking Artwallaa's attention the most is Khalid's large new work; a 'carpet' with Mughal Garden sensibilities, which uses her trademark needle work. 'Your way begins on the other side', looks beautiful both from the front as well as from the back (reverse); much like her earlier works from the same medium - 'Jacket' 2010 and 'Kashmiri Shawl' 2011.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Aga Khan Museum - The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan

More details on the inaugural exhibition of the Museum; and more good news for Pakistan art. The details below show that the first exhibition will be totally focussed on Pakistani artists, exhibiting a very large body of works. The exhibition titled, 'The Garden of ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan' will open on September 18 and will show case works of Bani Abidi, Nurjahan Akhlaq, David Chalmers Alesworth, Aisha Khalid, Muhammad Atif Khan and Imran Qureshi.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The New York Times - The Weekly Agenda - Aisha Abid Hussain

Source: New York Times

Good to see Pakistan's younger artists works being exhibited globally as well being highlighted in prestigious publications !

Well done Aisha !

On view at London's Hanmi Gallery is Aisha Abid Hussain's "Two Not Together Series III," 2014.Credit

Wednesday, London

See a Pakistani artist who questions gender roles.

Aisha Abid Hussain is often the star of her own photography, yet never the same character. Her show for London’s Hanmi Gallery, “Two Not Together,” explores the theme of different but equal identities. In one series, archaic photographs of men and women in traditional, gender-specific Pakistani clothing are pasted, collage-style, over decrepit buildings and sites of rubble. Another series captures Hussain, dressed like a Pakistani man, sitting side by side with a copy of herself, dressed like a Pakistani woman.
Runs until Sept. 25, 30 Maple Street, London,


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Opening of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto is good news for Pakistani Arts

It goes without saying that museums and other public art spaces are required for the propagation of art and culture in any society. It is also a fact that developing countries struggle to provide such public spaces due to paucity of resources as well as focus. Pakistan is no exception to this fact. Things are changing for the better though.

The 17-acre Aga Khan Museum opens in the suburbs of Toronto on September 18, 2014. Apart from boasting a strong 1000-objects collection, the museum also plans a robust series of exhibitions, as mentioned in its mission statement .... "As a vibrant educational institution, the Museum encourages the full spectrum of public engagement with its diverse Permanent Collection of more than 1,000 objects and its ever-changing roster of exhibitions and innovative programs – including music, performances, culinary traditions, lectures, debates, special events, or film".

Artwallaa is excited about this new museum as it provides a very strong platform for show-casing Pakistani art in Canada (and North America). If the upcoming exhibitions/events are any indication of the future plans, Pakistan is surely going to feature prominently in the museum's event roster.

The inaugural exhibition of the museum on September 18th, it seems, is going to show case Pakistan artists including Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid. This will be followed by another Pakistan focussed event- a Qawwali evening on September 28 by Pakistan's Fareed Ayaz, Abu Mohammad Qawwal and Brothers.

Artwallaa is though not surprised by the strong attention given to Pakistan by the museum, given Aga Khan's strong connection to Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan art is really good and only waiting to be discovered more by the world !

Yours ardent follower of the ever growing Pakistan art scene


The Ismaili Centre at the Aga Khan Museum. (Tom Arban)
Source: The Globe and Mail

Source: The Globe and Mail


Upcoming Exhibitions: (Source: The Aga Khan Museum)

Curator's Tour: The Garden of Ideas with Curator Sharmini Pereira

  • The Garden of Ideas

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Sufi Soul - The Mystic Music Of The Islam - William Dalrymple

    Source: Channel 4

    This is a beautiful documentary by William Dalrymple. A little bit old, but still very beautiful; worth watching again and relating it to what is happening in the world currently.

    "The film follows William Dalrymple's personal journey into the mystical and musical side of Islam as he charts traditions of Sufi music in Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Morocco.
    For hundreds of millions of Sufi followers worldwide, music is at the heart of their tradition and a way of getting closer to God. From the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey to the qawwali music of Pakistan, Sufism has produced some of the world's most spectacular music celebrated by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Dalrymple's film traces the shared roots of Christianity and Islam in the Middle East and discovers Sufism to be a peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic bastion against fundamentalism.

    Includes footage of performances by Youssou N'Dour, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Mercan Dede, Abida Parveen, Sain Zahoor, Galata Mevlevi Ensemble, Kudsi Erguner, Goonga and Mithu Sain, Junoon and Abdennbi Zizi."


    Friday, August 15, 2014

    BBC Report - In Pakistan, imposing tombs that few have seen


    The tomb of Mirza Baqi Baig Uzbek (Urooj Qureshi)
    Covering more than 10sqkm, Makli is one of the world’s largest necropolises, acting as the final resting place of more than half a million people, including kings, queens, saints and scholars. And even though the 14th-century site was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1981 – one of just six in Pakistan – its imposing tombs and intricate artwork are little known to travellers today.
    Monuments from the Arghun, Tarkhan and Mogul period (1524 to 1739), Makli, Pakistan
    Monuments from the Arghun, Tarkhan and Mogul period (1524 to 1739). (Urooj Qureshi)

    Makli is located in the southern tip of Pakistan on the outskirts of Thatta, a historical port city on the Indus River. The necropolis rose to importance as a burial site between 1352 and 1524, when the Samma Dynasty made Thatta their capital. Legend has it that a traveller on holy pilgrimage to Mecca stopped at the site and, upon seeing a mosque just outside Thatta, fell in to a state of ecstasy repeating “Hadah Makka li” (this is Mecca for me). A popular Sufi saint of the Samma period, Sheikh Hamad Jamali, named the mosque Makli after the happening.

    Entering from Makli’s southern corner, where many of the newer monuments are located, it is hard to imagine just how large the site is. The structures seemed more like small palaces than graves. During my visit, there was no one there but me and my travelling companion, the ruins, and the sound of wind blowing gently over the sun-baked, barren earth.
    A canopy shelters the grave of Tughlag Baig, a Mughal governor, Makli, Pakistan
    A canopy shelters the grave of Tughlag Baig, a Mughal governor. (Urooj Qureshi)
    Six types of monuments can be found across Makli. They include tombs, canopies, enclosures, graves, mosques and khanqas, which are learning spaces where saints would teach and preach to their disciples.

    The first cluster of monuments we approached were erected during the Arghun, Tarkhan and Mughal dynasties, between 1524 and 1739. Rulers of these invading dynasties were Turko-Mongol people, who brought northern, central and western Eurasian influences, such as delicate floral patterns and geometric designs, to the architecture, art and stone carvings found in Makli.
    The grave of Mir Sultan Ibrahim, Tarkhan dynasty, Makli, Pakistan
    Quranic verses and geometric carvings adorn the grave of Mir Sultan Ibrahim (1556 to 1592), a ruler of the Tarkhan dynasty. (Urooj Qureshi)
    Two of the most impressive monuments from this period are the tombs of Dewan Shurfa Khan, who died in 1638, and of Isa Khan Tarkhan II, who died in 1644. Both men ruled as Mughal governors in Thatta.

    Isa Khan Tarkhan II, whose tomb is a two-storey stone building with majestic cupolas and balconies, is said to have constructed the monument while he was alive. Legend has it that after partial completion of the structure, Isa Khan chopped off the hands of the most talented craftsmen so that no other emperor could build a monument that would rival his.
    The tomb of Dewan Shurfa Khan overlooks the tomb of Isa Khan Tarkhan II, Makli, Pakistan
    The tomb of Dewan Shurfa Khan overlooks the courtyard housing the tomb of Isa Khan Tarkhan II. (Urooj Qureshi)
    Climate conditions, such as erosion-causing sea breezes as well as earthquakes, floods and pollution – not to mention a lack of access and attention during periods of national instability – have left the monuments in a critical state of deterioration. While plans for protection and restoration are being discussed by various Unesco-funded organisations, the fact that the monuments have lasted this long is a testament to the quality craftsmanship from this region.
    The enclosure of Mirza Jani sits alongside the tomb of Ghazi Baig, Makli, Pakistan
    The enclosure of Mirza Jani (left) sits alongside the tomb of Ghazi Baig (right). (Urooj Qureshi)
    Travelling through Makli, it’s easy to be distracted by the palace-and-fortress-like tombs. But equally interesting was the life we discovered. Throughout the site, nomadic tribes take shelter in the ruins or under makeshift camps, made using shrubs and discarded plastic bags. Many of the nomads living in Makli are internally displaced Pakistani people who come to the elevated plateau to take refuge during the annual floods.

    read more here

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    The Met: 15 months on, Imran's Qureshi's Roof Top exhibition still scores well

    The Met recently announced its annual visitor attendance for the year ending June 30. Artwallaa was delighted to see that Imran Qureshi's Roof Top exhibition, which closed in November 2013, still contributed strongly to the Museum's annual attendance figures. The exhibition also attracted more visitors than the top 7 exhibitions highlighted in the article and only second to the PUNK exhibition if we include 2012-2013 year as well.
    Exhibition attendance was also particularly strong through June 30 for:
    Jewels by JAR (257,243);
    Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom (194,105);
    Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations (191,866);
    Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective (189,209);
    Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 (180,322);
    Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (151,154);
    At The Cloisters, Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet (127,224).

    The final weeks of last summer’s popular exhibitions PUNK: Chaos to Couture (which closed 
    Source: The Met
    August 14 and drew 442,350 visitors), Photography and the American Civil War (which closed August 25 and attracted 323,853 people), and The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi (which closed November 3 and was attended by 395,239 visitors)

    See full article below.
    Related article: Quarter of a million visitors to the Met Rooftop and counting .....


    Metropolitan Museum Announces 6.2 Million Annual Attendance

    Source: The Met

    (New York, July 25, 2014)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that 6.2 million people—from New York City, the tri-state area, across the United States, and 187 foreign countries—visited the Museum during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. For the third year in a row, attendance at the Museum has exceeded six million—the highest levels of visitorship since the Museum began tracking admission statistics more than 40 years ago. The number includes attendance at both the main building on Fifth Avenue and The Cloisters museum and gardens in upper Manhattan, the branch of the Metropolitan devoted to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages. The Cloisters experienced a remarkable 50% increase in attendance in the past fiscal year, attracting nearly 350,000 visitors. 
    “We are proud to announce that, for the third year in a row, we have welcomed more than six million visitors to the Museum,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan. “This clearly demonstrates the public’s ongoing excitement for the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, and programs. This September, we will open the new David H. Koch Plaza in front of our main building along Fifth Avenue. Once the construction is completed, this new plaza will become the newest of New York City’s major public spaces, providing a warm and welcoming entry to the Met for our visitors from around the world.”
    He continued, “We are also tremendously pleased that The Cloisters celebrated unprecedented attendance over the past fiscal year, which coincided with its 75th anniversary year. An additional 110,000 visitors visited The Cloisters’ exhibitions, collection displays, and gardens, compared to the year before.”

    This was the first year that the Museum was open to the public seven days a week. In addition, the opening time was moved to 10:00 a.m., while school groups were offered early admission beginning at 9:30. (The Museum previously was closed on Mondays.)

    Visitors in Fiscal Year 2014 were drawn in large numbers to the New European Paintings Galleries, 1250–1800 (opened May 23, 2013) and the recently renovated and newly named Anna Wintour Costume Center (opened May 8, 2014). As of June 30, 2014, those gallery areas had welcomed 729,839 and 143,843 visitors respectively.

    Exhibition attendance was also particularly strong through June 30 for:
    Jewels by JAR (257,243);
    Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom (194,105);
    Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations (191,866);
    Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective (189,209);
    Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 (180,322);
    Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (151,154);
    At The Cloisters, Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet (127,224).

    The final weeks of last summer’s popular exhibitions PUNK: Chaos to Couture (which closed August 14 and drew 442,350 visitors), Photography and the American Civil War (which closed August 25 and attracted 323,853 people), and The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi (which closed November 3 and was attended by 395,239 visitors) also contributed to the high attendance in FY 2014.

    The 6.2 million overall attendance figure for the Met includes nearly 206,000 school visitors. Membership totaled 151,269.

    Additionally, the Metropolitan Museum’s website ( recorded more than 26 million unique users in Fiscal Year 2014. The Museum’s Facebook account has more than 1.17 million followers (with a reach of 92 million people). And its Twitter feed reaches more than 760,000. Instagram account, which recently won a Webby Award, now has 180,000 followers. The Museum launched its presence on Weibo, one of China’s largest social media networks, in December 2013; the Met’s posts have already had nearly 3 million views.

    The David H. Koch Plaza will open on September 9, 2014. This new public space in front of the Metropolitan will incorporate improved access, contemporary fountains, new landscaping and lighting, and seating. Groundbreaking on the new plaza took place in January 2013.

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Imran Qureshi in Tour de France 2014

    Renowned Pakistani land artist jets in to unveil stunning works for Tour de France
    Source: The Examiner
    July 3, 2014

    Source: Little Bird

    Renowned land artist Imran Qureshi has completed two giant artworks designed to be viewed from afar.

    Imran jetted into Britain from Pakistan to unveil his two works Bridging and Here & There near Baitings Reservoir at Ripponden. Little more than two hours after landing at Manchester Airport, he was in the windswept wilds of West Yorkshire.

    The works are part of the Yorkshire Festival’s Fields of Vision project to celebrate the Tour de France. In all a dozen artworks have been sown, cut, weaved or painted into the landscape.
    The idea is in-keeping with French Tour traditions where huge artworks can be seen from above from helicopters which track the cyclists’ every move.

    Imran’s work was installed on Yorkshire Water-owned land and will send a message to the world this weekend.

    Bridging is a calligraphy work which spells out Tour de France in a form of Urdu. Imran said the inspiration came from Turkey where East meets West and was about bringing communities and peoples together.

    Here & There resembles exploding splashes of water to symbolise the reservoir.
    Imran, who has just installed artwork on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, said his Yorkshire works were the largest he had attempted.

    “This is something very different for me,” he said. “I really wanted to be part of it.”


    Fields of Vision: La Tour De France 2014- Yorkshire
    Here and There, 2014 & Bridging, 2014.





    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Imran Qureshi paints the (Michigan) town red.

    The unstoppable Imran Qureshi's yet another museum exhibition opens today at the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum Michigan.

    His reputation has only grown during that time, with major installations at places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
    Along with bringing existing pieces to the Broad, he’s creating site-specific works here. The exhibition is called “The God of Small Things”. On top of that, he’s also accepted an invitation to create what’s being called “Crack Art” for a project called “Fragmented” on the streets of East Lansing
    Broad Art Museum curator Alison Gass likes the way the Cassiopeia statue seems to be staring at 'Fragmented'.
    Scott Pohl, WKAR 

    Pakistani painter's urban mural project to be displayed at Broad Museum

    Source: Detroit Free Press

    EAST LANSING – Imran Qureshi, a Pakistani painter known for his intricate work on plazas, rooftops and walls, began using public spaces leading from Ann Street Plaza to the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum earlier this week for a piece called “Fragmented,” part of East Lansing’s urban mural project.

    Imran Qureshi 1   
    Acclaimed Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi spreads red paint as he starts work on an installation called 'Fragmented,' a public art piece, in downtown East Lansing on Wednesday May 1, 2014. / Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal
    Imran Qureshi 7
    Acclaimed Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi spreads red paint as he starts work on an installation called 'Fragmented,' a public art piece, in downtown East Lansing on May 1, 2014. / Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal