Modern and Contemporary Art in Pakistan
Pakistani Modern and Contemporary art follows much the same artistic trajectory as that of India pre-independence. The scar left by Partition of the two nations was deeply resonant and reflected strongly in its arts. Abdur Rahman Chugtai (see lot 586) was greatly influenced by the revolutionary Bengal School. Today, he is remembered as one of Pakistan's most distinguished artists of the 20th century. Portraying famous personalities from Islamic history and depicting scenes from religious and Mughal texts, much of his work reflects a common South Asian cultural heritage. Following independence, Pakistani artists began to reclaim indigenous artistic traditions and in the 1950s, several artists experimented with Expressionism and calligraphy. Sadequain was one of Pakistan's best known and most prolific painters coming from a family of calligraphers. Even when abstracted and utilized as an independent art form by Sadequain, calligraphic forms such as these evoke an essence of Islam as well as a sense of patriotism. Zahoor ul Akhlaq's conceptual influence has since shaped contemporary art practice for recent generations, from Shazia Sikander and Rashid Rana to Muhammad Zeeshan. Like Sadequain, Zahoor was deeply interested in the indigenous vernacular and tradition. He is a pioneer of the Neo-Miniaturist genre and one of the fathers of contemporary art in Pakistan.