Reframing ‘Violence’, Transforming Impressions: Images in Contemporary Pakistani Visual Art and English-language Fiction

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Abstract

This paper looks at how images featured in artworks which I first encountered during a Residency at Lahore’s National College of Arts (NCA) in Spring 2012 engage with the theme of violence in an ‘Islamic Pakistan’ overshadowed on the one hand by the ongoing ‘war on terror’ and by the encroaching threat of ‘Talibanisation’ on the other. It asks how they may be read as interventions into contemporary global narratives around a suspect South Asian Muslim identity, and as contributions to discussions taking place within Pakistan about the challenges posed by more prohibitive, punitive and increasingly influential Wahabi and Deobandi interpretations of Islam to the country’s normative and traditional Muslim culture. It touches on the (mis-) interpretations which may
ensue when ‘global’ maps are traced onto local artworks, and considers how artists may mediate images in order to militate against false impressions. It attempts in part to complicate popular notions about a disconnection between the ‘true’ perspectives conveyed in Pakistani art which is locally created and disseminated and that supposedly ‘inauthentic’ material – English language fiction in particular – which is internationally packaged and reproduced (Kohari 92). In doing so, it draws links between the subject matter, framing strategies and transformative dimensions which may unite the two.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
JournalWasafiri
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2014

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