Continuing on our journey through the amazing world of contemporary Pakistani art, the next two artists on my list:

Adeela Suleman (1974) BFA Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture

Adeela Suleman is a sculptor and in the present milieu, the notion of sculpture has evolved to include materials and processes that embrace the epoch we live in. Instead of using traditional wood, bronze or marble, sculptors like Suleman use newer medium like stainless steel or common metals. Suleman is unapologetic about her fascination with embellishing her objects. By making the works purposefully decorative, she cloaks the anarchy, the violence and bloodletting that is a constant in our daily lives. She says it’s a mother’s involuntary way of protecting her children.

Contemporary Pakistan art by Adeela Suleman
Contemporary Pakistan art by Adeela Suleman

The steel curtain is an exquisitely ornamental hanging until you realize that it is constructed of little dead birds holding miniature guns — it hits home that all is not well in sunny paradise. The repetitive patterning affirms the constancy of the violence and the never-ending cycle of bloodshed that we in Pakistan suffer.

Khalil Chishtee (1964) BFA National College of Art, Lahore

Khalil Chishtee is an installation artist who uses the extraordinary medium of plastic trash bags to create his ethereal works of art. These works which he calls ‘my people’ look ephemeral and yet, if science is to be believed, will outlast mankind. When Chishtee first came to live in New York many decades ago, the first thing he noticed was the piles of garbage in plastic bags lining the streets.

Now he uses it to fabricate his figures which come to life in his hands using nothing more than a glue gun. The figures are truly uncanny. They reveal expressions under the light and they move at the slightest shift in air around them. So while we know that the plastic bag is the ultimate symbol of human wastefulness, Chishtee shows us how it can be transformed into a metaphysical object.

Stay tuned for more next week …

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