Waseem Ahmed “Contemporary Miniatures”

Jason McCoy, Inc. (Midtown)

poster for Waseem Ahmed “Contemporary Miniatures”
[Image: Waseem Ahmed "Untitled" (2017) pigment color and silver leaf on archival Vasli paper 58 2/5 x 39 2/5 in.]

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Jason McCoy Gallery presents a selection of Contemporary Miniatures by Waseem Ahmed. Based in Lahore, Pakistan, where he received his training at the National College of Arts, he creates finely rendered miniatures that address various social, political and cultural issues, including public violence. To Ahmed, his work marks the attempt “to consistently decry social attitudes that promote suppression, hatred and bloodshed among human beings.”

Crossing cultural borders, Ahmed’s vocabulary is rich in metaphors and analogies. The animal shape, bearded men, blood splattered surfaces, burqas, letters from the Arabic-Farsi-Urdu alphabet suggesting religious rhetoric, guns, rosaries, suicide-bombers, suicide-jackets, and lush vegetation are part of his eclectic trove of images. His recent works make particular reference to subjects derived from Western classical mythology, occasionally by reinterpreting and de-contextualizing forms of prominent ancient sculptures. While combining these diverse elements freely as if part of an associative brainstorm or layered dreamscape, all of Ahmed’s works are rooted in the same universal concern: the oppression of the weak by the powerful - as it manifests in both Eastern and Western cultures, be it enforced by either individuals, groups or entire countries.

In her extensive essay on Ahmed, the writer Sage Mehta notes: “In the new work, Ahmed gives us a longer look at the history and city that has formed him as an artist. The large paintings are densely packed with detail that would not be surprising to find in traditional 10” x 25” painting. There are miniature vignettes in each of his current works: dots (are they bullet holes?) are labeled as if in a constellation, and a flock of small women in orange burqas create a larger form of a figure. And by bringing the rich materiality of gold and silver-leaf into the large scale, Ahmed makes a clear display of the paintings’ literal worth.”

Waseem Ahmed (b. 1976) was born in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Ahmed grew up in a Muhajir (immigrant) family who, because they were Muslim, had migrated from India after Partition in 1947 to settle in the newly independent state of Pakistan. He attended the National College of Arts Lahore in Pakistan, receiving his Bachelors in Fine Arts with Honors from the Department of Miniature Painting in 2000. He has exhibited extensively in Pakistan, as well as internationally, including a solo exhibition at the Asian Art Museum, Berlin (2014/2015). His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin; The British Museum, London; Virginia Whiles Collections, United Kingdom; Anupam Podar Collections, India; Salima Hashmi, Pakistan; Naazish Ataullah Collection, Pakistan; Sajida Vandal Collection, Pakistan, and D. Daskalopoulos Collection, Switzerland, among others. He was the first artist-in-residence at the Asian Art Museum in Berlin, participating in the Humboldt Lab project (2014-2015). The latter included a solo show curated by Martina Stoye. He was a finalist for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize (2012-2013, 2013-2014), and he was nominated for the Jameel Prize (2011-2012). Ahmed lives and works in Lahore.



from November 16, 2017 to December 22, 2017

Opening Reception on 2017-11-16 from 18:00 to 20:00


Waseem Ahmed

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