Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin – https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/exhibitions/visions-mughal-india-collection-howard-hodgkin

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Feb 21 2015 to Jun 21 2015
The second half of 16th century until first half of 19th century was a time of cultural merging that saw Persian themes, Indian colours, and Western influences find their way into Indian architecture and art.

Never before shown in North America, the exhibition Visions Of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin features exquisite paintings from this period produced in the Mughal court, the Deccani Sultanates, and the Rajput kingdoms. An outstanding group of elephant portraits, vivid evocations of daily life, royal portraits, and dramatic illustrations of epics and myths are among the highlights of the thematically organized exhibition. All works have been selected from the outstanding personal collection of British artist Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932), whose own paintings are displayed in the concurrent exhibition Inspired By India: Paintings by Howard Hodgkin.

Organized by the Aga Khan Museum in association with the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Image:
Maharaja Bakhat Singh
Nagaur, Rajasthan, India, ca. 1735
The Collection of Howard Hodgkin,
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
Acc. No. LI118.36

Inspired by India: Paintings by Howard Hodgkin – https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/exhibitions/inspired-india-paintings-howard-hodgkin

Feb 21 2015 to Jun 21 2015
British painter, printmaker, and collector Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932) has been passionate about Indian culture, geography, and history for most of his life. Given this passion and his frequent visits to the country over a period of some 50 years, it is not surprising that India has had a lasting influence on his own work. For viewers, tracing this inspiration through paintings spanning Hodgkin’s career is an exhilarating experience. The exhibition Inspired by India: Paintings by Howard Hodgkin celebrates Hodgkin’s signature style of highly physical, vibrantly coloured work that dares to stop viewers in their tracks.

This exhibition marks the first time that an exhibition of Hodgkin’s work has been presented alongside an exhibition of paintings from his personal collection. Don’t miss the opportunity to see both Inspired by India: Paintings by Howard Hodgkin and Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin.

Organized by the Aga Khan Museum with appreciation to Howard Hodgkin.

Image:
Autumn in Bombay by Howard Hodgkin, 2010-14.

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The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan – https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/exhibitions/garden-ideas-contemporary-art-pakistan

Sep 18 2014 to Jan 18 2015
Bani Abidi
Nurjahan Akhlaq
David Chalmers Alesworth
Aisha Khalid
Atif Khan
Imran Qureshi

Created for pleasure, spiritual reflection, and aesthetic contemplation, gardens have held many meanings. Beyond their beauty, they represent the human impulse to organize, contain, and collect the natural world. Without cultivation a garden would cease to exist. Similarly, without cultivation of the mind and the soul, it is believed a society cannot progress. “To dwell is to garden,” wrote the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, reminding us of the central role of culture as part of our existence. The Garden of Ideas brings together the work of six internationally acclaimed Pakistani artists whose creations play with, question, and interrogate the timeless theme of the garden. Several pieces have been made in direct response to works in the Aga Khan Museum’s collection and to the Museum’s own reinterpretation of an Islamic garden (the chahar bagh) as designed by Vladimir Djurovic.

CURATOR:
Sharmini Pereira, guest curator of this exhibition, has garnered international attention as a curator, publisher, and conference speaker. Based in Sri Lanka and New York, she has written extensively on contemporary Asian art and is the director and founder of Raking Leaves, a non-profit independent publishing organization and the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design in Sri Lanka. In 2011 she was the international guest curator of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, which recognizes artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, and in 2006 she served as co-curator of the inaugural Singapore Biennale.

ARTISTS:
Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Karachi) received her BFA degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 1994 and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. Over the past decade, Abidi has worked primarily in digital art and has become Pakistan’s leading figure in contemporary video. Abidi held her first solo international exhibition in 2011 at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. She has exhibited in several international group exhibitions, including the Berlin Biennale (2014); dOCUMENTA 13 (2012); Where Three Dreams Cross — 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2011); the Singapore Biennale (2006); and the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2005). Her work is included in several permanent collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The British Museum, London; and the Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas. Abidi lives and works in Berlin and Karachi.

Nurjahan Akhlaq (b. 1979, Lahore) moved to Canada via Turkey from Pakistan in 1993 and studied filmmaking at Concordia University, Montreal, before earning her MFA at Goldsmiths College, London, in 2009. Akhlaq is part of a younger generation of filmmakers that has also been involved in exploring the conceptual possibilities of collage and print. Her videos have been screened in international exhibitions and festivals, including Monitor Reruns, A Space Gallery, Toronto, in 2014; the Mumbai International Film Festival, India; the Kassel Documentary and Video Festival, Germany; the EBS International Documentary Festival, Seoul, Korea; and the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2005. Akhlaq’s film Death in the Garden of Paradise (2004) was an Official Selection at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto in 2005. She lives and works in Lahore and Toronto.

David Chalmers Alesworth (b. 1957, Wimbledon, United Kingdom) gained his BA Honours in sculpture from Wimbledon School of Art in 1980. In 1987 he relocated to Pakistan and gained his MFA in New Media from Transart Institute Berlin/NYC in 2010. In the mid to late 1990s, he began working with Pakistani truck artists and other urban craftspeople to produce a series of public installations conceived in collaboration with the Pakistani artist Durriya Kazi. Alesworth’s works and teachings influenced many Pakistani artists known as the Karachi Pop generation, who focused their attention on Pakistan’s street bazaars, the aesthetics of cinema hoardings, truck art, and the public realm. His art has been exhibited in exhibitions that include the Berlin Biennale (2014); Lines of Control, British Council, London (2011); Gardens of Babel, Rhotas-2 Gallery, Lahore (2011); and Half-Life, NCA Gallery, Lahore (2009). His work is also found in collections at the Pakistan National Collection, Islamabad; the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; and the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. Alesworth lives and works in Lahore.

Aisha Khalid (b. 1972, Faisalabad) was trained in miniature painting and graduated from the National College of Arts in 1993. Khalid was schooled in classical miniature painting and has become a leading figure in developing the contemporary miniature. She is one of the few artists to experiment with large-scale painting and abstraction and has also worked with video and textiles. Khalid is among a handful of Pakistani artists who have had solo shows of their work, including Larger Than Life, Whitworth Art Gallery, United Kingdom (2012); Larger Than Life, Corvi-Mora, London (2012); Pattern to Follow, Chawkandi Art, Karachi (2010); and Conversations, Pump House Gallery, London (2008). She has had group exhibitions at the Sharjah Biennale (2013); the Moscow Biennale (2013); the Venice Biennale (2009); the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 2011 Khalid was awarded the Jameel Prize’s People’s Choice Award, and in 2012 she was a winner of the Alice Award (Artist Book Category). Her work is included in several permanent collections, including the Sharjah Art Museum (Sharjah), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Japan), and the World Bank (Washington, D.C.). She lives and works in Lahore.

Atif Khan (b. 1972, Sahiwal) graduated with distinction in fine art from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 1997. He was awarded the UNESCO-ASHBURG Bursary in 1998 and completed a residency at Darat-al-Funun in Amman, Jordan. In 2007 he received the Commonwealth Arts and Crafts Award. He was also appointed artist-in-residence at the Swansea Print Workshop in Wales in 2005–06; the London Print Studio, United Kingdom; and the Glasgow Print Studio, Scotland, in 2008. Khan has participated in workshops in India, Bangladesh, and Jordan and has participated in exhibitions that include More Interpolation, Rohtas-2, Lahore (2009); Anthropology, Chawkandi Art, Karachi (2011); Contemporary Art from Pakistan, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (2012); and Landscape of the Heart, Ceri Richards Gallery, United Kingdom (2013). He lives and works in Lahore.

Imran Qureshi (b. 1972, Hyderabad) completed his BFA at the National College of Arts in 1993. He is one of Pakistan’s leading figures in developing the contemporary miniature painting. In 2013 he was named Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year and in the same year was invited to create the prestigious roof garden commission at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He has held numerous international solo shows, including Imran Qureshi: The God of Small Things, Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2014); Midnight Garden, Gandhara Art, Pao Galleries, Hong Kong (2014); and And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, Zahoor Al Akhlaq Gallery, National College of Arts, Lahore (2010). Group exhibitions include Don’t You Know Who I Am? at the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (2014); The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013), the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); the Sharjah Biennial (2011); Beyond the Page: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California (2011); East-West Divan: Contemporary Art from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, La Scuola Grande della Misericordia, Venice (2011); Hanging Fire, Asia Society, New York (2009); and the Singapore Biennale (2006). Qureshi lives and works in Lahore.

Imran Qureshi, Rise and Fall (2014) (Detail), gouache on wasli (paper), 57.6 x 49.3 cm. Collection Claire Hsu and Benjamin Vuchot, Hong Kong.

Women & Leadership: Discovering the Aga Khan Museum: In conversation with Pakistan’s Genius Artist – Aisha Khalid

Ismailimail

In a series of conversations held by Ismailimail during the inauguration of the Aga Khan Museum while reporting from Toronto, we share an account of the discussion with Aisha Khalid.

“The background is a Mughal garden, which symbolizes heaven … the process of making it was very meditative. It is a real honor to have it permanently displayed at the Aga Khan Museum.”

– Aisha Khalid, Lahore born, Pakistani artist

Aisha Khalid next to "Your Way Begins on the Other Side" Aisha Khalid next to “Your Way Begins on the Other Side”

Ismailimail with the editor of Simerg.com, met  Aisha Khalid at the pre-opening press conference, while taking a break before exploring the temporary exhibit “The Garden of Ideas” on display.

As we sat staring at a huge carpet hanging from the ceiling in the museum’s wide atrium, where light filtered through mashrabiya patterns on the glass walls, we noticed the dual sided tapestry with exquisite design.

As our admiration of the…

View original post 478 more words

After Harrowing Rescue, Timbuktu Manuscripts to Go on View in Brussels by Rebecca Rothfeld on December 18, 2014

Sixteen original 15th and 16th century Malian manuscripts will go on display Friday at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, The Art Newspaper reported. The exhibition, titled Timbuktu Renaissance, has an exceptional backstory: the precious manuscripts were smuggled out of Timbuktu in the wake of the city’s 2012 takeover at the hands of Islamist rebels.

When the insurgents threatened to destroy libraries and other cultural artifacts they regarded as sacrilegious, Timbuktu Renaissance curator Abdel Kader Haidara organized a clandestine effort to convey Timbuktu’s wealth of historical documents to the Malian capitol of Bamako. Local families helped Haidara export over 350,000 manuscripts, sneaking the contraband out of Timbuktu in vegetable wagons and canoes.

The personal risk to Haidara and his helpers was great. Timbuktu’s extremist regime often favored violent punishment, chopping off the hands of thieves as a warning to other would-be transgressors. Haidara’s nephew, a 25-year-old curator named Touré, narrowly escaped such brutal punishments when the police force caught him with a trunk of manuscripts. Haidara, a refugee in Bamako at the time, orchestrated Touré’s escape from afar. Haidra’s contacts in Timbuktu attested that Touré was a curator with a right to move the manuscripts, and the young man was released. This was not the only such incident — curators and librarians were often stopped and searched by extremist police officers, and once a boat full of books on the Niger River was held hostage by bandits, according to National Geographic.

But Haidara prevailed, and he was rewarded for his efforts with the 2014 Germany Africa Prize. His collection attests to Mali’s rich intellectual history: Timbuktu Renaissance, organized with help from the Ministry of Culture in Mali and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, highlights the nation’s scientific, political, and legal achievements. Western scholars often ignore sub-Saharan Africa’s intellectual legacy, believing it takes no written form — but the manuscripts to be displayed in the exhibition, and the rest of the collection preserved by Haidara, are a testament to the continent’s written heritage.

Timbuktu Renaissance will be on view at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels (Rue Ravenstein 23, Brussels, Belgium) December 19–February 22, 2015.

Tagged as: Mali, Malian manuscripts, Timbuktu

More: http://hyperallergic.com/169921/after-harrowing-rescue-timbuktu-manuscripts-to-go-on-view-in-brussels/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Any+Art+You+Make+Can+and+Will+Be+Used+Against+You&utm_content=Any+Art+You+Make+Can+and+Will+Be+Used+Against+You+CID_df927f6f9b1b6b9dba877bc9d7484a60&utm_source=HyperallergicNewsletter&utm_term=After%20Harrowing%20Rescue%20Timbuktu%20Manuscripts%20to%20Go%20on%20View%20in%20Brussels

A Lost Purple Pigment, Where Quantum Physics and the Terracotta Warriors Collide by Allison Meier on December 17, 2014

The connection between contemporary quantum physics and China’s ancient Terracotta Warriors is a lost pigment called Han purple. The vibrant hue appeared in the Zhou dynasty and faded out sometime near 220 AD; art didn’t see a purple as vivid until 19th-century manufacturing.

Han purple has strange properties, particularly at low temperature points. Back in 2006, researchers at Stanford, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Institute for Solid State Physics described this phenomenon as a “Flatland.” When exposed to extremely low temperatures, magnetic waves going through the pigment lose their third dimension. Recently Esther Inglis-Arkell at io9 returned to this research, explaining:

At higher temperatures, it propagates like a regular wave, traveling in three dimensions. Get under one degree Kelvin, and it no longer has a vertical component. It propagates in two dimensions only.

This fluctuating state of matter, likely caused by the pigment’s diversely layered barium copper silicate structure, isn’t seen often. We’ve examined obsolete pigments at Hyperallergic before, whether a brown made of actual mummies or poisonous arsenic greens. Han purple is one of the first known synthetic pigments, and its rarity made it a powerful color.

This is where the Terracotta Warriors come in, as the Qin dynasty funerary army retains traces of the color (although its hues largely oxidized after exhumation). Some have speculated that the purple came via the Silk Road, with information from Egypt and its famous blue traveling the distance; however, at Symmetry, a particle physics online magazine, Lori Ann White writes: “Researchers discovered that Chinese pigment-makers used lead to lower the melting point of the barium in Han Purple, a step not taken in the production of Egyptian Blue.” She goes on to say that glass makers “in ancient China may have stumbled on Han Purple while trying to develop a jade-like glass, a process that also involved lead.”

The peculiar Han purple, sourced from a byproduct and with its two-dimensional properties, may also have a brand new technological purpose: some scientists are looking to the research on it to help inform the process of building quantum computers.

Tagged as: art and science, art history, China, Terracotta Warriors

From: http://hyperallergic.com/165493/a-lost-purple-pigment-where-quantum-physics-and-the-terracotta-warriors-collide/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Any+Art+You+Make+Can+and+Will+Be+Used+Against+You&utm_content=Any+Art+You+Make+Can+and+Will+Be+Used+Against+You+CID_df927f6f9b1b6b9dba877bc9d7484a60&utm_source=HyperallergicNewsletter&utm_term=A%20Lost%20Purple%20Pigment%20Where%20Quantum%20Physics%20and%20the%20Terracotta%20Warriors%20Collide

The Terracotta Warriors in China (photo by Kevin Poh/Flickr)

The Terracotta Warriors in China (photo by Kevin Poh/Flickr)

SEEN in the Studio: Shirin Neshat By Sarah Trigg – http://www.vulture.com/2014/12/seen-in-the-studio-shirin-neshat.html

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Stationed above a busy corner on Canal Street, the studio of the Iranian filmmaker and artist Shirin Neshat whirred with several working film editors and assistants upon our arrival. Neshat is best known for her black-and-white cinematic films addressing gender issues within Islamic culture. She shares the space with her partner Shoja Azari*, a fellow filmmaker and frequent collaborator. Conversations in Farsi and Italian were shooting back and forth among the crew. “We are very lucky because our studio is like a community. We’re all close friends and we’re together all the time basically,” said Neshat.

Corner of Neshat’s studio that is dedicated to her photographic and calligraphic work.
Most of the studio was dedicated to editing except for Neshat’s photographic and calligraphic work area, which took over a corner of the room. Handwriting sheathed many of the figures in the photographs. Neshat has been busy with plans for three major museum exhibitions — the first opened in Doha this past November at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art; a forthcoming exhibit will open at the Hirshhorn Museum this May; and in March 2015, she will show a site-specific photographic installation in Baku, Azerbaijan, inaugurating the first contemporary art museum to open there.

Poster of the Iranian singer Oum Kalthoum, Neshat’s subject for her upcoming feature-length film. * (see image 2)

On top of her loaded exhibition schedule, Neshat has been working for four years on a feature-length film that she plans to shoot in 2015. The work is about the iconic Middle Eastern singer of the 20th century Oum Kalthoum, who died in 1975 yet continues to have a profound influence over the region. “Her music affected literally millions of people from Israel to Saudia Arabia to Algeria to Egypt to Iran to all kinds of places in the way that she sang, her poetry, and how she threw people into a state of ecstasy. But she is also known to be a nationalist and a symbol of peace. A very important symbol particularly for Egyptians today. The story is from the perspective of an Iranian artist making a film about an Egyptian female artist. It’s not really a biopic, but a very personal kind of perspective and my way of looking at the importance of this woman and her impact on other women in the region.”

Neshat pulled out a poster of another heroine, Forugh Farrokhzad, a beloved Persian poet. “Both who she was and her poetry has been a huge influence on my work and many other women. Here she is when she was young.”

Literature strongly impacts Neshat’s work, such as for her moving and highly acclaimed 2009 feature-length film Women Without Men, an adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur’s novel of the same title about four female characters and their struggle to escape oppression. “When I shot Women Without Men, there were Iranians, Moroccans, Americans, Germans, French, Belgians, Austrians. We were making a period film about Iran in the 1950s with this kind of community of people, and at times it was a real challenge, because when you make a film, all the birds have to fly in the same direction, so to speak. But we all had a different system of working. We had different habits. Like, for example, when to break, how many hours to work. Different languages. It means we have to dance around each other’s characteristics and nature of working.”

Neshat’s vintage copy of the Book of Kings ( see image 4) with iconography that she references in her work.

“This is a book I’ve used in a big way,” she said, opening the pages of a large vintage book. “The Book of Kings series from the 10th century. It’s an epic book of poems, mythological, about Persia before the Islamic conquest, and there were all these people getting beheaded, wars, and people who are patriotic — heroes. I used a lot of it on this new series that’s all about patriots of contemporary time. About how their lives are always in that place of violence, atrocity, and death.” She pointed to a photograph of a man. “Visually, I borrowed a lot of the illustrations that you see on his body. I bought this book at auction and someone had gone [in], a child, and put these red marks where there’s blood. The series I’m working on is 80 photographs, and it’s named after this ancient book.”

Neshat’s copy of her grandparents’s Koran (see image 5).

The second half of our interview took place in her home located around the corner, where more of her influential objects resided. “I have the Koran here. This is a very precious thing. All original calligraphy — all by hand — that I inherited from my parents. It belonged to my grandparents. It’s the only one I know of that has Arabic and Farsi. Usually the Koran is only written in Arabic. I’m using this a little bit for the work that I’m doing at the studio. I have a feeling this was maybe my grandmother studying the Koran, and this was maybe her homework. Sometimes she uses red, sometimes black. And that’s exactly what I do in my work. This is the only thing I inherited from my grandparents.” Born in Iran, Neshat’s family left the country for the U.S. around the time of the Iranian Revolution.

A view of Neshat’s collection of tribal jewelry (see image 6).

“I’m very interested in books that feed me a certain inspiration and films that constantly open my mind in terms of the subject matter or the style of the film — the form. I’m a nomad. I’m a traveler. I tend to pick up things here and there. I’m particularly interested in tribal jewelry. Things that are handmade by people and somehow are very ancient. To me they’re a work of art. I find them fascinating, how they speak to you about their history, and they’re also really beautiful. I’m also very affected by images. Photographs that I pick up here and there that speak to me and somehow eventually find a way into my work.”

Neshat’s collection of charms (see image 7).

She located a stack of etched metal plates. “I bought these in Iran a long time ago. They are very rare. This is where I got my ideas in terms of writing calligraphy on the bodies. These are charms. When you make a wish. Every one means something. I’m not even sure what the meaning of the symbols are. As you know in Islamic cultures, it was taboo to replicate images, for example, of the prophets, but it was allowed to draw outlines of bodies and just fill it in with words. So here, I think, is a very sexual piece of a man and a woman. He’s touching her and then there’s a fish below, which has to be about fertility. This could be a charm for someone who wants to get pregnant. Some of the writing is in Arabic and some of it is in Farsi, but I haven’t been able to make out what it means.”
I asked Neshat about her working habits and what she does to prepare for shoots. “As you can imagine, any time you start a big project, there is a lot of anxiety. You can be as prepared and scripted as you want to be, but you always wish this magic will be out there waiting for you that will help you achieve something that you’ve been really dreaming of, but you’re not really sure that that magic will be there when you get there. I think what I’ve learned is that I always arrive — whether it’s a photo shoot one day or a film that takes eight weeks — I just try to go with the flow and to be very prepared but just be expecting the most unpredictable things. Also, because we often work with non-professionals actors, the human dimension of it — you can’t really predict what type of people you will be dealing with. I just came from a week of shooting in Azerbaijan of men and women who didn’t speak the same language and had never been exposed to art. I’ve learned that tremendous bonding happens as long as you are really open to that possibility. With film, of course, it’s just like — economy. You have to be really fast, and you have to be super-prepared, but I collaborate with people who have the skills and the expertise to help me when you’re sort of stuck. Usually when you go like that it’s hardly possible you will fail entirely. Sometimes I’ll work four years on a script, shooting, and then when we edit it, it’s completely different story!” she laughed. “You have to keep an open mind.”

Listen to Neshat talk about her favorite directors, from Fellini to Linklater: https://soundcloud.com/vulturedotcom/shirin-neshat-on-her-favorite-directors