Patterns of the Past: Weaving Heritage in 'Pakistani' Art: Zoom Conference

This programme pivoted around the themes of the show, Patterns of the Past: Weaving Heritage in Contemporary ‘Pakistani’ Art, which included artists Ruby Chishti, Adeela Suleman, Liaqat Rasul, David Chalmers Alesworth (Nominee for the Jameel Art Prize 2016) and Bushra Waqas Khan (Nominee for the Jameel Art Prize 2021). The exhibition brought together these contemporary artists because each of them explores the politics of memory in their work, using textiles to unravel conventional notions of art, heritage and identity. The especially ‘tailored’ works within the show dismantled inter/national stereotypes about ‘Pakistani art’ and the Conference had a similar aim. It pulled on certain thematic threads: South Asian heritage and textile history; ideas of British identity and current decolonising agendas with regard to both art history and British museum collections.


NB: This conference was attached to the exhibition, “Patterns of the Past: Weaving Heritage in Pakistani Art”, curated by Dr Zehra Jumabhoy at Grosvenor Gallery in collaboration with Canvas Gallery, Karachi.




Virtual Tour & Artists’ Panel

Zehra Jumabhoy: Curatorial Concept and Explanation

Adeela Suleman

Bushra Waqas Khan

David Alesworth

Liaqat Rasul

Ruby Chishti


Weaving Tradition & The Contemporary


Professor Salima Hashmi on “I am my own maker”

Abstract: Artists who are from cultures with rich lineages in textile have long delighted in celebrating its sensuous profusion: Think of the attire of Mughal princes and the carpets they trod upon. Artists today are not too distanced from the desire to investigate ornament and prod the fissures embedded within. Threads Dreams Desires, which Professor Hashmi curated at Harris Museum Preston, UK, in 2002, arose from such contradictions. 


Zohreen Murtaza on Art and design in Colonial India: A division at odds with itself?

Abstract: This presentation will use Lahore’s National College of the Arts (NCA) as a case study. Founded in 1875, several names were proposed for the institution: “Mayo Memorial School of Industrial Arts”, “Industrial School of Art and Design”, “Lahore School of Art” and “Mayo School of Art”, amongst them. This indecisiveness about naming reflected the Imperial administration’s dilemma: should art be promoted or should design be combined with technical education to cater to Industry? Using documents from the NCA Archives, this talk argues that such confusion continues to bedevil divisions between art, craft and design in post-colonial Pakistan.


Textiles & Traffic: Connecting Pasts and Presents


Amrita Jhaveri on The Fabric of Modernism

Abstract: This talk will focus on the works of three Modern artists from the Indian subcontinent who engage with textile traditions:Anwar Jalal Shemza, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Monica Correa. It will discuss how through research and innovative programming, Jhaveri Contemporary was able to bring these artists to the attention of international museum curators and collectors. 


Professor Shehnaz Ismail will Weave to a Conclusion

Abstract: As one of the founders of Karachi’s Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture and Professor Emeritus of its Textile Department, Mrs Ismail will provide an overview of textiles in Pakistan, focusing on why contemporary artists have chosen it as an effective medium to communicate their ideas.


Finale: Q & A with audience.