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October 19, 2018

Atif’s mysterious narratives now on display


October 19, 2018

Islamabad: An exhibition of paintings by renowned Pakistani artist Muhammad Atif Khan, whose work interweaves Islamic miniature painting with modern geometric designs and popular culture, opened at Tanzara here on Thursday.

Atif Khan has successfully built a niche for himself in the local as well as the international art market. “He creates mysterious narratives through his juxtapositions of Mughal-era figures within mandala-like landscapes. As a contemporary image maker, Khan pushes his artistic limits through varied artistic thoughts and visual explorations of socio-political and cultural issues,” the gallery’s director Noshi Qadir stated.

Atif claims to have developed his visual vocabulary and imagery on the lines of popular visual culture of Pakistan, which is an amalgamation of Central Asian and Persian aesthetics with a local South Asian blend, where storytelling is an important feature to express thoughts. “So, when I create my work using the juxtaposition of images of diverse and contrasting environments in one space, it subverts their original contextual meaning and suggests new stories, which generally revolve around the social, economic, political or historical realities but in a subtle way, just like sugar-coated pills which are sweet from outside but bitter from inside,” Atif stated.

According to the artist, the use of Mughal iconography in his work “expands the time zone of my canvas, from the present day to a few hundred years in the past; this helps viewers to free their minds from the limitations of real time and to enter into an imaginary world.”

Atif Khan’s work has been widely exhibited at home and abroad and is part of private and public collections worldwide. He is the recipient of prestigious international awards and has participated in workshops and residencies locally and globally. He has several solo shows to his credit in Pakistan, UK, Jordan, Switzerland and India as well. Alongside his artistic practice, Khan is faculty member at the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, since 2005 and serving as assistant professor in the department of fine art.

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