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