Illuminated Geographies: Pakistani Miniaturist Practice in the Wake of the Global Turn
January 17 - March 31
Featuring new works by Ambreen Butt, Faiza Butt, Murad Khan Mumtaz,
and Saira Wasim. Guest curated by Justine Ludwig, adjunct curator
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.
The Tufts University Art Gallery at the Shirley and Alex Aidekman Arts Center
proudly presents Illuminated Geographies: Pakistani Miniaturist Practice
in the Wake of the Global Turn, featuring new works by Ambreen Butt,
Faiza Butt, Murad Khan Mumtaz, and Saira Wasim, on view through March 31, 2013.
London-based artist Faiza Butt will speak about her work at Tufts on February 28
at 4 pm.
Illuminated Geographies explores how
contemporary miniaturist painting is evolving from its roots in Mughal painting,
as it is brought into different contexts and its stylistic foundation is adapted
through different artistic visions. The practice of Mughal miniature painting
originated during the 16th century in the Mughal Empire, spanning what is now
India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. As this Muslim empire fell into
decline, so did its art form, marked by a meticulous attention to minute detail,
lush jewel tones, epic subject matter, and diminutive scale. Today we are
experiencing a renaissance in this mode of artistic expression, due, in large
part, to the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan (NCA), which since the
1980s has taught this traditional practice of wasli paper- and
brush-making techniques, paint mixing, narrative style, and iconography.
Two generations of artists have now studied at the NCA and have reinvigorated
this practice as a relevant, globalized contemporary art form by infusing it
with their individual visions and contemporary subject matter.
The exhibition focuses on four artists trained at the NCA now living outside of
Pakistan each of whom are pushing the boundaries of miniaturist practice in
different directions. These artists --Ambreen Butt, Faiza Butt, Murad Khan
Mumtaz, and Saira Wasim -- all deal with themes of cultural amalgamation in
their work. Influenced by their current location and distance from
Pakistan, they address political, social and cultural realities of Pakistan and
their present environments. The works in this exhibition are eloquent
illustrations of hybridity—of language, place, and time. They draw
parallels between divergent traditions and allow for different perspectives to
occupy a single space. Despite a shared origin in Pakistan, the subject of
Illuminated Geographies is both translocal and
transcultural in nature—reaching across national boundaries and beyond Islamic
Illuminated Geographies has been organized by
the Tufts University Art Gallery and guest curated by Justine Ludwig, adjunct
curator at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.
Together with the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, which organized
Realms of Intimacy: Miniaturist Practice from Pakistan
(on view September 2011 to January 2012), a multi-authored publication, titled
Translocal: Miniaturist Practice Out of Pakistan, will be co-published by
Tufts and the CAC, featuring the artists in both shows -- Ambreen Butt, Faiza
Butt, Murad Khan Mumtaz, Imran Qureshi, Nusra Qureshi, and Saira Wasim –
installation views, and essays by Iftikar Dadi, Salima Hashmi, Justine Ludwig,
Ayesha Jalal, and Virginia Wiles. It will also feature 10 contemporary
artists trained at the NCA working internationally: Hamra Abbas; Khadim Ali;
Ayesha Durrani; Ahsan Jamal; Aisha Khalid; Hasnat Mehmood; Tazeen Qayyum;
Talha Rathore; Shahzia Sikander; Muhammad Zeeshan.
To pre-order the publication, available as of April 1, contact:
Price: $50, plus shipping and handling.
Download the Press Release >
Listen to our guided tour stops here:
STOP 1: Introduction to Illuminated Geographies, Ayesha
Jalal, Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University
STOP 2: The artists' relationship to Pakistani geography,
Phillippa Pitts, Gallery Graduate and Curatorial Assistant
STOP 3: Faiza Butt speaks about her work
STOP 4: Ambreen Butt speaks about her work
STOP 5: Saira Wasim speaks about her work
STOP 6: Murad Khan Mumtaz speaks about his work