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Contemporary Pakistani artists

By Madeline Clements
June 25 2014

An exhibition of works by contemporary Pakistani artists, presented in association with the University of Teesside’s British Culture After 9/11 conference and curated by Madeline Clements, will take place at the Constantine Gallery, Middlesbrough Campus, from 25-27 June 2014. 

Second Glance/Double Take II is the second stage of an exhibition originally mounted as part of the Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue project’s Beyond Islamophobia conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London earlier in June. It brings together works by Lahore and London-based Pakistani fine artists that may, in bold and subtle ways, help us better understand the impacts that rising Islamophobia and the West’s ‘war against terror’ have had, both on local Pakistani cultures and landscapes, and on ways of perceiving native and migrant Muslims at home in Britain.

The large-scale and miniaturist paintings featured in the exhibition are by artists including the determinedly political and internationally-exhibited Faiza Butt, who now lives and works in East London; and Suleman Khilji and Sajid Khan, two emerging artists originally from Quetta and Malakand District respectively, who recently graduated from Lahore’s NCA. They explore in various ways how, after 9/11, fears and impressions of a militant and terroristic Islam impact on the bodies and landscapes of ‘ordinary’ Muslims – and in particular of young Muslim men of ‘fighting age’ – both locally, and globally.

Taking as material mug-shots and photo-stills excerpted from both the Western press and popular Pakistani culture, depicting the altered face of conveniently distant peoples and lands caught in the crossfire of the so-called ‘war on terror’, foregrounding images and retelling tales of peaceful Islamic practice and syncretism which unsettle predominant narratives, the artworks included in Second Glance/Double Take II function collectively to arrest and expand the audience’s gaze.
In 2014, in the UK, Muslim images continue to be constrained within predictable frames and their subjects rendered suspect. The visual artworks contained in the exhibition encourage viewers to look again: to take a second glance at mass-produced ‘representations’; to recognise how Islamophobic ways of seeing operate to manipulate and monopolise the gaze; and to retrain our attention on the much overlooked and misperceived Muslim lifeworlds that exist in their shadow.

It is hoped that the contributions of Butt, Khan and Khilji will help effect a ‘double take’, as we strive in the years after 9/11 and 7/7 to see through and beyond stereotypical images of Muslims and towards the inculcation not of fear but of understanding.

The curator of the exhibition will give a talk at 11.30am, on Friday
27 June, at the Darlington Campus as part of the British Culture After 9/11 conference.

Contact Information Name: Madeline Clements
T: 07974 788230
E: !

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