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Breaking the Mold Sumaira Tazeen | Attiya Shaukat | Shiblee Munir | Amna Hashmi | Nizakat Ali Depar | Noureen Rasheed | Sahyr Sayed | Hifza Khan | Memoona Riaz | Hifza Sakina Akbar I would like to congratulate and thank the Serena Hotel Group for the launch of Satrang Art Gallery, an art venture which is dedicated to supporting Pakistani arts and artisans. I am honored that Breaking the Mould is the very first exhibition of this important establishment. In Breaking the Mould, Satrang Art Gallery presents an exhibition of Contemporary Miniature art by bringing together ten classically trained Miniature artists. Miniature is an integral part of South Asian art culture. This is an art tradition that has been passed down from the intricate and brightly coloured illustrations of ancient Persian poetry like Divān-e Hāfez, to the glorious official histories of the Mughal courts, like Pbadshahnama and finally down to these young contemporary artists who utilize this art form to carve out and cement their position in art history. These Miniaturists break away from the technical regulations of traditional miniature which, among other rules, specify that thin layers of gouache paint be applied to handmade Wasli paper, to create vibrant narratives that are surrounded by definite borders. These artists have also chosen to deviate from the themes of traditional miniature, which include war, grandeur and love; instead they reveal their individual stories on a human scale. Noureen Rasheed employs vivid colours to depict landscapes, confined within customary miniature borders, which she embellishes with technological elements such as laptops and trucks. Similarly, Amna Hashmi’s Manga Miniature Pieces, create delicately crafted fantastical narratives by merging miniature with Japanese Manga paintings. Other artists present more serious themes, such as death or illness. Hifza Khan’s artwork, which was partly inspired by the death of her mother, includes ECG readings and body organs. While, Attiya Shaukat’s pieces portray restrictive scenarios or figures that are bound by braces, echoing the artist’s own limitations. By building multiple scenarios through superimposing several representations of miniature narration on to a single painting, Shiblee Munir’s art challenges the banality of singular visions and conventional subject matter. Similarly, Sumaira Tazeen critiques cultural marriage customs in her work, when she represents marriage through a gilt trunk filled with a lace sofa and bright silk cushions. Artists often investigate miniature art by pursuing sculptural techniques. Memoona Riaz bridges the divide between sculpture and drawing, when she examines urbanization in her pieces. Riaz utilizes complex layering to combine transparent, disconnected architectural realms and produce amalgamated forms. Sahyr Sayed explores the concept of the perfect home via sculptural miniatures by constructing miniature dollhouses filled with familial clutter.

Some artists follow specific themes and narratives. Nizakat Ali Depar is inspired by the journeys he has taken. This particular body of work presents portraits painted upon used train tickets, thus tracing his emotional and mental journey from his hometown in Jamshoro to the bustling city of Lahore. Finally, Hifza Sakina Akbar also preserves her memories through her art process, which is a combination of various mediums, as she incorporates glass beads, miniature techniques, and digital printing. The exhibition runs from March 11 – March 31 at Satrang Gallery in the Serena Hotel. Zahra Khan curator

Breaking the Mould-curatorial statement  

Artists often investigate miniature art by pursuing sculptural techniques. Memoona Riaz bridges the divide between sculpture and drawing, wh...

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