Artist of the Year for 2013

Artist of the Year for 2013Deutsche Bank’s art programme has announced Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi as its ‘Artist of the Year’ for 2013. This award honours promising artists who seek to address social issues in an individualistic manner and have succeeded in creating outstanding art, which focuses on two important points — works on paper and photography. The award was announced in Berlin where his work will later be exhibited in the spring of this year.

To celebrate the ‘Art and Achievements’ of the artist and his wife, Aisha Khalid — also a recognised artist — the High Commissioner of Britain, Adam Thomson and his wife Fariba hosted a well-attended reception at their residence, the guest list including diplomats, art lovers and gallery owners.

The event was divided into two parts — a reception on the terrace overlooking the garden where it was very pleasant, after which guests were invited to be seated indoors for a presentation by the artists.

Addressing the gathering, the host said he and his wife were happy that they had accepted their invitation to honour the artists. “Fariba and I have travelled extensively in South Asia and seen the growth of the contemporary art scene in the region,” he said. “And I can honestly say we think it is the most vibrant and interesting in Pakistan.” Needless to say there was a spontaneous round of applause after this great compliment! Adding that institutes like the NCA and the Indus Valley School in Karachi were among the best in South Asia, as well as a few more words about the artists and their work, he concluded with a hint of regret that contemporary artists and their works were not appreciated as much by Pakistanis as they should be and invited the artists to begin their talk.

Aisha Khalid, famous for her miniatures, came first and with the help of slides spoke about her work and the thought process that helped create it — not only the miniatures but also the larger, interesting pieces like the Pashmina shawl hung from the ceiling, embroidered with gold studs to create a distinctive pattern. While appreciating the beauty of this work, it is only when you walk around to the back that its true meaning is observed — the studs are sharp spikes that depict the realities of the disputed territory of Kashmir! Her thoughts on women’s and political issues were shared and the outcome explained — something to think about for the art ignorant in the audience!

Imran was more relaxed and gave his presentation with a touch of humour and self analysis, explaining his transition from painting miniatures to larger than life ‘canvases’ – his talk also emphasised with a video presentation. His narration about terror attacks and the subsequent comment reflected in his paintings moved many to recall the horror as shown on television screens, something that is often forgotten as one gets on with life. On being questioned, he was realistic about Pakistanis not appreciating contemporary art, saying they had a lot of other things to think about.

Altogether, it was a learning experience, thanks to both hosts and guests of honour.

Aisha Khalid was born in 1972 in Faisalabad, Pakistan and currently lives and works in Lahore. She completed her degree in miniature painting at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore where she then went onto teach the subject and in 2000 undertook a two-year residency at the world famous Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. Aisha has exhibited in Europe, USA, Australia and Asia, including international biennials and art fairs and has artwork in collections worldwide.

Imran Quereshi was born on March 31st, 1972 and did his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National College of Arts, (NCA) Lahore in 1993, specialising in Miniature Painting; Residency at the Liverpool School of Arts, John Moore’s University, Liverpool, United Kingdom in 2001 and Residency at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney. From 1994 to date he is Assistant Professor at the Department of Fine Arts, NCA. He has become one of the leading figures in developing the ‘Contemporary Miniature’ aesthetic. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the many prestigious galleries around the world and collected by the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Queensland Art Galleries and Museums, Brisbane, Harris Museum, Preston and National Art Gallery, Islamabad. This summer he will create a site-specific work atop the rooftop garden of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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