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A brush with the new – Asim Butt’s Art

What distinguishes Asim Butt from his generation and perhaps the preceding generations of artists is the sheer originality of his vision and an iconoclasm that is neither trumpeted nor made visible until the subtext of his lines is closely studied. This is why Asim has undertaken bold strides during the last 10 enriching years of painting. In the meantime, he also earned a degree or two in social sciences, a half-finished PhD at the University of California and formal training from Karachi’s Indus Valley Art school.

Art education in Pakistan, despite its deep- seated tradition of experimentation, does not allow the full exploration of originality. This is why the revival of miniatures has become another soft tool of marketisation and an out-of-wedlock union between art and commercialism. Rejecting what is on the horizon of Pakistani art, Asim Butt has stuck to his innate traumas and nightmares, sometimes indulging them, at others softening them with figures that blend the sensuous with the spiritual and the political with the existential.

his early works display a cracked sense of the self is not surprising. A rebel from his conventional background, Butt continues to defy the conformist meanings of family, career, security, sexuality and that elusive bourgeois pursuit of happiness. Inspired by the Stuckism movement of art, Asim holds painting as a powerful medium of communication. This standpoint brings our young Pakistani Stuckist at odds with the skin-deep novelty and claimed nihilism of “conceptual” art and postmodernism. The pursuit of art in this worldview thus merges into an impulse for a renewal of spiritual values in art and society, or what is known as “re-modernism.” In Asim’s own words: […]

Art as hope – paintings on Southern Thailand

Pearapong Khireewong is an extremely talented artist who hails from Southern Thailand and has captured the pathos of the bullets that were sprayed on the local populationand later the peace offensive by the now deposed Prime Minister Thaksin.

I was stunned by the light and statements that this canvas made. The painting above is entitled: The Bullet Holes in Narathiwat (Acrylic on canvas , 130 x 150 cm).

Another stunning work is entitled: Monument of the Selfless Heroes (Acrylic on canvas , 120 x 150 cm). Here the light conveys hope and the tidings of the renewal. The paper birds were used to calm the restive provinces. This news-item provides more detail:

“Military aircraft gently bombed southern Thailand with 100 million paper birds Sunday in a gesture intended to promote peace in mainly Muslim provinces where more than 500 people have died this year in attacks by separatist militants and countermeasures by security forces.” […]

October 16th, 2007|Arts & Culture, Politics, World Artists|5 Comments

Sufi Zikr – inspiration for a painting

This is a painting that I revisited and converted its earlier abstract form into a calligraphic experiment. Now the challenge was that in addition to the lack of training in oil painting, I was also a novice in calligraphy. Anyway, the image inside Rumi's tomb that I posted on this blog earlier as well as the three attributes of the Almighty helped me in putting this together. The letters in the centre are Hu (affirmation of the Divine presence and a Sufi chant) and its mirror image.