Nov 26 2009

The Language of Art

Published by under Cultural Passport Assigments

Asian Society and the museum

The Asian Society and Museum has an excellent exhibit that showcases the work of contemporary Pakistani painters. Most of the paintings in the exhibit reflect the traditions and customs of the native country of these artists. In fact many paintings depict the political unrest faced by Pakistan over the years and the atrocities faced by the people because of the absence of a stable government. The painting No two burns are the same by Ali Raza is a unique depiction of the lawyer’s demonstration in Pakistan in 2007, which was disrupted by sudden bomb attacks. The violent police action as a response to this action, along with the causalities of the bomb attack itself, affected the lives of thousands of people. The menace of this unexpected violence is conveyed in this picture through the aura of dark mosaic and selected symbols. The burnt paper collage that forms the painting symbolizes the terrors faced by people that day and those events resulted in wrecking the lives of many people and families. Through the screaming face that forms the main subject of the painting the spectator can easily feel the pain, suffering and agony of the people in the massacre. One of the other art pieces that reflected a prominent social issue was Rashid Rana’s Red Craft 1. The piece represents the artist’s view of the atrocities innocent animals are subjected to in the slaughterhouses in Pakistan. Rana assembles miniature images of slaughter into an “exotic tapestry of color and pattern”. The artist juxtaposes the presentation of a weakness of the society (cruel treatment of animals) along with the portrayal of a unique and exquisite art form of Pakistan (traditional culture where women and children hand weave beautifully patterned carpets). His painting the serves the dual purpose of, exposing the condition of slaughterhouses, and showing the loss of “hand woven” carpet art in contemporary Pakistan due to western influences.

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