Pakistan: A Global Art Beyond Borders
The Partition of the Indian Subcontinent after Independence in 1947 divided the former British colony into two countries and three distinct new political terrains. From a common well of culture, both new countries fostered art movements that were indigenous yet in dialogue with each other and the world at large. Established pre-partition artists, such as academic painter, Abdur Rahman Chughtai (Lot 531) and Zainul Abedin, (schooled in the Bengal Style and influenced by the Tagores) are today much admired and indeed claimed as members of the artistic pantheons of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Modernism in Pakistan manifested itself in the work of artists such as Ismail Gulgee (Lot 536). These artists either lived or travelled in Europe and absorbed the Western modernist styles of Abstract Expressionism and Post-Impressionism and combined these with classical Islamic artistic traditions. Cultural histories, in the context of identity and newly formed political boundaries, are rife with paradoxes and concepts to be mined, re-claimed and re-contextualized.
Zahoor ul Akhlaq, seen today as the father of contemporary art in Pakistan, revolutionized the practice of miniature painting. His influence developing the contemporary generation of Neo-Miniature artists (Lots 537 - 541), proponents of which include Aisha Khalid, Ayaz Jokhio, Attiya Shaukat, Rehana Mangi and Tazeen Qayyum. These artists used the traditional meticulous techniques of Miniature Painting in an inventive and highly contemporary application.
Pakistan is both a geopolitical product of the 20th century and a culture boasting centuries of tradition. It is in a continuous state of flux as Pakistan traverses the dialectics of East versus West, tradition versus modernity, and the local versus global. This melting pot has created a generation of artists who continue to grow in international acclaim and stature.