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Merging Art & Propaganda

Author: Shamim Akhter      Publications: Daily News - Week Mag (p.3)      Dated: 4 Sept 2004

Exhibition Navigation

An exhibition of miniature paintings by Khadim Ali opened at Chawkandi Art on 13th August 2004 to run until the end of the month.

Miniatures by Khadim Ali brought an essence of his diverse backgrounds to the show. Khadim, born in Quetta hails from Afghanistan and has ancestral links with Iran as well. He received his academic training in the tradition of miniature painting at National College of Arts, Lahore. Now he is back in his home in Quetta.

With miniature as base, Ali expresses his personal vocabulary with elements of Iranian miniature on his vasli. Recent past tragedy of martyred Buddha in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taleban became a point of desecration for his work. His ancestral village lies close to the remains of the Bamiyaan Buddha.

When l view Khadims vaslis, which are close in appearance to the early works of his teacher Imran Qureshi, in so far as dividing his spaces with hair thin lines from one to another metaphorical points is concerned. And the eye cannot ignore a multi leafed flower as a motif which was once obvious on Imrans vasli, now is present on Khadims canvas. But Khadims concerns are different. Consciously, he is under the spell of the propaganda drummed on electronic media on the martyrdom of Buddhas statue at Bamyan by the Taleban. I strongly believe that the works of painters are more an outcome of the unconscious than conscious. With his hair thin lines, Ali points out targets of terrorism as fragile as flowers and as sensitive as religious feelings and as precious as human life on his vaslis. An image of a bearded old man with grey locks, which traditionally is thought to be a holy man, is on more holy and worth an arrow in the eye under the present day order. Global directions on his vasli, again, are a comment on international issues. He is working on a very critical line, amalgamating propaganda and art on his canvases. I think the artist in him is superior to a mere young man carried away by what he is fed through the media. Besides what Khadim thinks and paints and feels and expresses through line and colour, his vasils are an addition to the art of miniature painting.