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Art Terms

Contemporary Pakistani Miniature Paintings

Revival of Traditional Painting as Contemporary Art

Miniature painting which grew out of illustrated manuscript production in the Islamic world enjoyed a golden age across India during the period of the Mughal dynasty (1526–1858). From this time on the genre declined in India, but in Islamic Pakistan, however, the craft has continued unbroken, mainly by graduates of Lahore’s National College of Arts. Traditional aspects of application remain, such as metal pigments on handmade paper with squirrel hair brushes from palettes of seashells, but subject matter has been modernized. Statesmen’s portraits and mythology have given way to a broader range of subjects: society, politics, gender, the family, and so on. This turn from traditional to modern art can be traced to the early 1990s developed by Shahzia Sikander (1969–), followed by other artists such as Aisha Khalid (1972–) and Muhammad Imran Qureshi (1972–).

Aisha Khalid "Form x Pattern #2" 2000 watercolor on paper

Khadim Ali "Absent Kitchen 5" 2006 watercolor, pencil, gold leaf and others on paper

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