All the artists exhibiting, work in one way or another with geometry, calligraphy and minimalism, some combining more than one element in their work:
Rasheed Araeen (b.1935) is a pioneer of minimalism and a colossal figure in South Asian and Western art. A champion of black artists in Britain from the 1960s onwards, his influence and importance within the landscape of 20th century art cannot be overstated, as an artist, publisher, critic and curator. His work is inspired by his background as an engineer, as well as by calligraphic forms, geometry and Islamic history. “Geometry was already profoundly expressed by Arab/Muslim artists more than a thousand years ago. This fact must now be recognised within the narratives of modern art history by making a connection between twentieth century geometric abstraction and the achievements of the Islamic civilisation.”
Araeen's work was recently the feature of a major touring retrospective. He participated at 2020 Lahore Biennale and his work will feature in a number of Institutional shows in the coming year.
Mohammad Ali Talpur (b.1976) was born in the Sindh region of Pakistan before moving to Lahore where he studied at the prestigious National College of Arts (NCA). Throughout his career his focus has been calligraphy, abstraction and minimalism. Taken at face value the lines in Talpur’s work possess an optical quality, restricted to a palette of black and white, a reference to the printed page of a book. The combination of line and colour discombobulates the eye, causing the viewer to see flashes of colour and movement within the monochrome canvases.
Talpur’s ‘Optical Calligraphies’ have their roots firmly in calligraphic heritage, whilst simultaneously presenting a starkly contemporary aesthetic. His work was recently on display at the Lahore Museum, as part of the Lahore Biennale, curated by Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi.
Wardha Shabbir (b.1987) is a miniature painter who graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the prestigious National College of Art, Lahore in 2011, winning the Principal’s Honour Award. In 2018 Shabbir was nominated for Jameel Prize 5 and exhibited at the V&A Museum, London and Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai. Her first solo-show outside of Pakistan (In a Free State) was held at Grosvenor Gallery in 2019.
Shabbir’s ‘Organic Geometries’ stem from her interest in the countless contradictions that influence human behavior, especially the path, or Siraat, which has come to inform her recent work. Each painting is made by a laborious rendering of countless dots coming together as units to form an idea. This is based on the ‘Nuqta’ or dot, symbolizing infinity. The dots join to form a line, which becomes a single, self-perpetuating medium of self-realization. Different configurations of well-trimmed hedges and other motifs represent the state of mind: the barriers that block our development, the path we follow through life, or the destination we aim for.
Elisabeth Deane (b. 1985) is a painter who uses ancient traditional techniques to create work with an entirely contemporary aesthetic. The colours and detailed brushwork are inspired by Islamic geometry and the miniature painting traditions of India and Iran. The abstract geometric nature of Elisabeth’s work represents the simple and the universal, the micro and the macro and the interplay between these dichotomies.
Elisabeth learnt much of her craft at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts where she was awarded the Albukhary Foundation scholarship in 2017. She has also obtained degrees in History of Art(BA), and the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas (MA) from the University of East Anglia and a PGCE in Art & Design from the University of Cambridge. In November 2018, she was a finalist in the Asian Art in London Emerging Artist Award and in 2019 held her first solo-show (Rhythmic Measures) at Grosvenor Gallery.