Imran Qureshi

Born (1972) in Hyderabad. He lives in Lahore. He studied (1993 BA Fine Art) at the National College of Arts, Lahore. Recent solo exhibitions: Corvi-Mora (London, 2004); Anant Art Gallery (New Delhi, 2006); Encounters: Imran Qureshi, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford Canvas Art Gallery (Karachi, 2007); Portraits and Vortexes, (with Aisha Khalid), The Experimental Gallery, Hong Kong Arts Centre (Hong Kong, 2007); Corvi-Mora, (with Aisha Khalid) (London, 2007); Pao Gallery, Hong Kong Art Center (Hong Kong, 2010); All are the Colour of My Heart, Rohtas 2 (Lahore, 2010); All are the Colour of My Heart, Chawkandi Art (Karachi, 2010); Corvi-Mora, (with Aisha Khalid) (London, 2010); Blessings Upon the Land of my Love, Sharjah Biennial (Sharjah, 2011). Recent group exhibitions: Intimate Pictures, Pakistani Contemporary Miniatures, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP (Tokyo, 2011); Beyond the Page: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena, 2010); East–West DIVAN: Contemporary Art from Afghanistan, Iran & Pakistan, La Scuola Grande della Misericordia (Venezia, 2009); Outside In: Alternative Narratives in Contemporary Art, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 2009); Die Macht Des Ornaments, Belvedere (Vienna, 2009).

 

I’ve never felt any pressure, neither exterior nor interior. When I make a work I say exactly what I want to say. Some artists take very strong political positions in their work and are still exhibited in public places. I think that in the West you have a false idea about this part of the world. It’s believed, and wrongly so, that we’re gagged and limited in our artistic production. Figurative representation of nudity isn’t our only preoccupation; there are so many other things going on around us which are much more important and more difficult to understand than the simple question of whether to show nudity or not in our work.

Entitled Moderate Enlightenment it’s a series of portraits of religious men depicted in their daily activities. Ever since 9/11 religious people have been marginalised because the media has systematically made them symbols of terrorism. In this series my initial inspiration came from two students in my college. On a personal level they were deeply religious, but in school they took part in all the normal activities alongside their fellow students -life drawing, sculpture, theatre… But the others teased them: they weren’t ready to accept them as integral members of society. In this series we see these two religious guys in their daily activities: they blow bubbles, write love letters, appreciate the beauty of a landscape, wear Nike sports bags! If a religious person wears a camouflage print we immediately see it as a threatening message, but if we wear it, it’s just a fashion statement.

 

“Last Exit to Lahore”, excerpt from an interview of Imran Qureshi to Nicolas Trembley, journal Numéro.

Photos

From the Moderate Enlightenment series, 2009, Gold leaf and opaque watercolour on wasli paper,  Private Collection
From the Moderate Enlightenment series, 2009, Gold leaf and opaque watercolour on wasli paper,  Private Collection
From the Moderate Enlightenment series, 2009, Gold leaf and opaque watercolour on wasli paper,  Private Collection
 From the Moderate Enlightenment series, 2009, Gold leaf and opaque watercolour on wasli paper,  Private Collection

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 Biennale de Lyon