KARACHI: People in Pakistan have experienced terror attacks and bomb blasts too many times, however they are still looking for good things and seeking hope. We are a brave nation, and this needs to be told to the world, said Imran Qureshi, one of the leading contemporary artists in Pakistan, who has opened his first solo exhibition at KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark.
The exhibition, which is being supported by the Government of Denmark under its Pakistan Culture Development Program, was inaugurated by the Danish Minister of Culture, Mr. Bertel Haarder. The exhibition, which has drawn the attention of both the people and media in Denmark refers to social conditions in Pakistan, while also making references to the violence and injustice that affect innocent people around the world every day, especially in Pakistan.
Qureshi is also hoping that the exhibition will challenge the audience’s images of Pakistan, which he believes is mostly associated with bombs and terror attacks due to the way Pakistan is covered in the international media. “There are so many positive things happening in Pakistan, especially within the contemporary art scene and in the music, film and the fashion industry. People need to break the stereotype images of Pakistan and seek new images”, said Qureshi. He stressed that to achieve that, it was necessary to have cultural exchange activities such as this exhibition, which provided different cultures and nations the opportunity to meet, collaborate and learn more about each other.
Imran Qureshi has created two striking installations, which includes a huge floor painting and an enormous mountain, consisting of 30.000 sheets of crumpled red painted paper. Furthermore, the exhibition includes small, meticulous miniature paintings as well as large abstract paintings. The red colour explosions serve as pictorial metaphors of the violence and fear that has characterized the world since 9/11 2001. But beneath the surface, life and hope steadily trickles out of the landscape. The references to violence and the contrasts between life and death became uncannily present while Imran Qureshi was finishing the installations in Denmark. Two days before the arts museum opened his exhibition, militant groups attacked the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda city.
Ms Helle Nielsen, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Denmark in Islamabad said: “Art and culture are important means to bridge differences, to create tolerance, and ultimately to provide opportunities to every single individual, regardless of who they are”. Ms Nielsen expressed the hope that the Pakistan Culture Development Program will provide the much needed platform and opportunity to Pakistan’s art and culture sector to thrive and play its due role in the country’s progress and development.
Ms. Stinna Toft, the chief curator at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, who has curated the exhibition together with curator Razia Sadik from Pakistan emphasized that Qureshi’s artworks evoked much more than references to terror and global violence. “Imran Qureshi is a tremendous artist and craftsman and his artworks invite us to reflect on so many different aspects in life and society,” said Stinna Toft.