Art and Polemic in Pakistan: Cultural Politics and Tradition in Contemporary Miniature Painting 9780755603923, 9781848853652

Contemporary artists in Pakistan have, in recent decades, revived and reinvented miniature painting: a traditional artfo

231 77 16MB

English Pages [326] Year 2010

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Art and Polemic in Pakistan: Cultural Politics and Tradition in Contemporary Miniature Painting
 9780755603923, 9781848853652

Citation preview

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

1

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

The basic conflict between tradition and modernity will be introduced across the dynamics of two groups of miniature practitioners. These groups have been tagged in my research as ‘Group O’ (for ‘orthodox’) and ‘Group X’ (for ‘experimental’). This was done for two reasons, the first practical and the second pretentious, inspired by experimental ethnographic writing which links social life and the role of the imagination. Such a strategy is inspired by various examples of ethnographic writing (Clifford and Marcus 1986), but more particularly by Appadurai’s vision of global ‘ethnoscapes’. In his view, a ‘mediascape’ occurs when representation of the local or microcosmic, in this case the miniature, is interlinked with macrocosmic ‘imagined vistas’ through globalised mediation (Appadurai 1996). In my appropriation of this concept, the two groups, O and X, are represented by actors in a dramatic scenario, emulating the tensions of gang fever such as that between Shakespeare’s Capulets and Montagues. Appadurai argues that the point in playing off the micro against the macro, or vice-versa, as in Ortner’s Reading America (1991), is ‘to point to the importance of embedding large scale realities in concrete life-worlds, but they also open up the possibility of divergent interpretations of what locality implies’ (Appadurai 1996:55). In terms relevant to the actual practice of miniature painting, this offers a means of projecting the politics of a localised ideological

2

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

conflict onto a screen of international proportions, which may help in understanding the issues at stake. Within the contextualisation of Group X and their practice, the issues cover art education, nationalism and globalisation, with important subdivisions in each of these. Chapter 1 presents the socio-economic and political context in Pakistan through the issues treated in contemporary miniatures. Chapter 2 describes actual practice within the NCA, and introduces the theme of dialectical tension between Groups X and O. Chapter 3 examines concepts of tradition and suggests that the two groups’ divergent interpretations of them reveal their profoundly different political stances. Chapter 4 analyses the diverse aesthetic aspects of the practice, through an inter-disciplinary methodology which combines art history and anthropology. Chapter 5 compares the workshop context in India with that in Pakistan and reviews the contrasting discourses between ‘tourist’/‘curio’ reproduction and ‘elitist’ production by studio-based artists. Chapter 6 examines the diffusion and reception of the modern miniature through examples of trading, exhibiting and critique in diverse sites, global and local. Chapter 7 summarises the issues and offers some conclusions. Intervening between the chapters are cameos of the nine artists chosen to represent Group X: the experimental practice of the Lahore miniature movement. The underlying subtext running throughout this study is one of political concern with gender and its representation in a patriarchal society. The story is dramatic, but has many comic instances. It is a farce in four acts which unfolds a series of nestling frames or bands, not unlike the structure of a mandala. Circumnavigating the ‘invisible deity’ are nine artists, framed as cameo portraits. The themes running through the works produced by Group X are very different from those by Group O. The focus for many female artists is on the occupational hazards of women living within a profoundly patriarchal society, such as the pressures of purdah and of sexual violence. For the male artists, issues around the military, such as gun-culture and nuclear warfare, may appear to dominate, yet both genders treat an ongoing agenda of diverse social ills, from the extremes of fundamentalism and political corruption to the daily doses of feudalism

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

3

and drug addiction. Apart from home issues, the miniatures may also reveal a critique of Western imperialism, expressed in satirical sketches on the invasion of Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan and the Bush/Blair ‘war on terror’. Though there are some lighter works operating through pastiche, using a pop-art style, the more general tone is one of dark satire. The artists’ experimentation in Group X is both formal and conceptual. Techniques and imagery are appropriated intentionally from indigenous sources by references to traditional schools. The irony of approach in no way contradicts their committed homage to the medium, without which, they all believe, the miniature would become obsolete. Collage, layering, juxtaposition and fragmentation of the narrative serve their aim of re-inventing the miniature, and of saving it from the ‘trap of the copy’. Above all, their reflection on current social issues is the key factor which leads them to reject any authoritarian model. Based on actual problems related to both domestic and public violence, their mood is satirical and their aim political in consciously interrogating the relationship between indigenous issues and global, super-power policies. The approach of this book attempts to fuse long experience as an art historian with my deferred studies in anthropology. My ideal, written about elsewhere,1 is for artists and art historians to make use of anthropological theory and ethnographic practice as tools with which to expand the Euro-centric discourse on culturally diverse art practices.2 A parallel shift in traditional anthropological studies would entertain the notion of taking contemporary art practices as seriously as material culture. Through this interaction of disciplines, there may evolve a serious reflection on the complex cultural differences in ‘genealogies of the modern’ constituted in non-Western countries.3 My partiality towards Group X may well be due to my complicity with their evolution: at once invited to be a privileged ‘insider’, as a foreign observer I remained an inevitable outsider. This confusion played its part in the ‘culture making’ (Myers 1994b) constituted by all the actors performing within the miniature frame.

4

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Since my wish was to look at the ways in which a traditional practice is transformed through historical and political factors, I set out to experience an orthodox training exercised within a Westernised postcolonialist institution. My ethnographic means was both to observe and to participate in the praxis towards a ‘thick’ description of the present context of miniature painting.4 After delicate negotiations I was accepted as a student by the younger ustad, Imran Qureshi. During the following period of two years I had the tremendous privilege of studying miniature practice alongside the students in the department.5 My research led me to explore the nature of the two apparent approaches, orthodox and experimental, so that their interaction became a focal point. This is traced in the individual cameos and in Chapter 2, where the practitioners describe verbally and depict visually their reactions to their social environment. Two dispositions seem to permeate both their discourse and their imagery: frustration and irony. In between, it is their sense of humour which lightens the burden of a ‘dysfunctional society’ (Jahangir 2005). The constant deferment of democratic ideals creates the tension which, I suggest, goads the practitioners into their defiant agency.

Performative knowledge Traditional miniature practice was always transmitted orally within family structures. The fact that this methodology is being recycled by orthodox training and contested by unorthodox practice adds to the tension with which the latter is currently surrounded. Dissonance confronted consonance in the voices of my informants, and tension thus became paramount as a field of enquiry – time and tension had already set the scene, almost as if for a performance. In analysing this, certain proposals on the positive function of social tensions have been useful (Laclau and Mouffe 1985:11). How a subject position is constituted through antagonistic relations with others is a concept transferable to the main agents of this story: the artists in Group X. Fabian’s notion of the potential of performance to empower marginalised practitioners is also a viable way of examining

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

5

miniature practice (Fabian 1983, 1990), particularly through the juncture of ‘tension between representation and presence’ (Fabian 1991:208). My fieldwork confirmed that a more feasible way towards understanding a cultural event is to consider knowledge as a practice, not ‘handed down’ through tradition but historically sited,6 so that representation is seen as ‘something we actually do . . . our praxis’ (Fabian 1991:209). The notion of habitus (Bourdieu 1972:78) may apply to a colonial habitus as relational in the sense that whereas the imperial discourse produces cultural capital, the subaltern subject can also acquire cultural capital through indigenisation and socialisation.7 All levels of performance imply a sensual, somatic approach towards knowledge, a technique of transmission which respects the body and agency as described by the notion of corpothetics (Pinney 2001a:21). The devaluation of gender as a relevant category in so many descriptions of lived bodily experience, as signalled by Judith Butler accusing Merleau-Ponty8 of ‘implicit universalization of the male subject . . . aided by a methodology that fails to acknowledge the historicity of sexuality and of bodies’ (1989:98; 1981) is highly relevant to this study. Gell’s theories relating to the social aesthetics framing the agency of objects are particularly relevant (Gell 1998). A performative approach values imagination in the sense of adaptability to context; it esteems tactical rather than strategic skills, such as the negotiations of ethnoscapes pictured in the writings of Appadurai (1996:27–66). In many ways these ideas recall the Froebel (1782–1852), Montessori (1870–1952) or Decroly (1871–1932) pedagogies of learning-by-doing, the pragmatic methodology which inspired the policy of the Bauhaus (1919–33). The profound belief in combining technical skill in design and building with fine-art practice had a huge influence on post-war British art education, and consequently on post-colonial art schools.9 After Partition in the Indian sub-continent it replaced the academic structure of colonialist art education (Tarapor 1980). In Lahore, with the reclassification of the Mayo School of Art as the NCA in 1958, the first director was Mark Sponnenberg, who had in fact been a student at the Bauhaus.

6

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Global flows and the agency of artworks The practice of these young artists straddles South Asian and Western cultures as a result of their education, one which is at once traditional and postmodernist within a post-colonial art college. The environment where they actually produce is urban: Lahore, assumed to be the ‘cultural capital’ of Pakistan. The space of the miniatures’ reception, however, is increasingly cosmopolitan, since over the last five years they seem to have grown wings, crossing continents to be viewed by spectators all over the world. In the light of this global flow, it is interesting to envisage the works themselves as members of a diasporic community (Appadurai 1986; 1996). In what can they be said to bring about knowledge? Theoretical propositions from anthropologists will serve in studying the transcultural shifts and relocations in their significance, as well as texts by art historians studying the ‘traffic’ of material culture artefacts and art objects.10 At the present moment it is evident that the production and circulation of the miniatures is proof of an ambitious agenda, since in both content and communication they are acting as links between their local source of production and the places around the world to which they travel.

Performative reading Within this comedy of manners, to be read as either a morality play or a melodrama, the actors play character parts. To imagine how the context could be interpreted in performative terms may lead to an understanding of the occasionally ambiguous behaviour of the protagonists. The theme of the scenario is that of a struggle between order and disorder, power and resistance: the basis of myths, fairytales and soap operas. If ritual creates and controls social experience, it ‘belongs within a social theory of knowledge’ (Douglas 1966:66). To describe the performance of miniature painting as a form of ritual, and then to transpose this to another frame where the ritual is reenacted – as is happening within the miniature department – suggests a play within a play, or a re-framing of the frame: a neat metaphor

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

7

for understanding a practice committed to that frame. The story-line of the transposed drama would revolve around patriarchy: the social force stage-directing the miniature department, and a mini-model of Pakistani society. It also evokes a vaster image of the controlling forces within globalisation. Beyond this frame, in the margins, lie the protagonists of subversion.11 The analogies with theatre offer a seductive array of metaphors, not only through the notions of on-stage ‘live’ or ‘ham’ performances, of the tragi-comic contrasts, but also through all the off-stage allusions: behind the scenes, in the wings, outside the frame (Qureshi cameo). Such language, accentuating the dramatic aspects of the practice, can also be applied to the object of the exercise: the miniature itself. The focus on framing space evokes a theatrical domain, as spelt out poetically in Stewart’s text On Longing where she evokes the resemblance of a miniature to a ‘tableau’: . . . for in the miniature we see spatial closure posited over temporal closure . . . a world clearly limited in space but frozen and thereby both particularized and generalized in time . . . the closure of a tableau, a spatial closure which opens up the vocality of the signs it displays . . . the miniature becomes a stage on which we project, by means of association or intertextuality, a deliberately framed series of actions. (Stewart 1993: 48–54) The role of the margin in miniature painting is comparable to its use as a metaphor for social difference: ‘To have been in the margins is to have been in contact with danger, to have been at a source of power’ (Douglas 1966:98). Within the history of Western painting, its role was considered by Derrida in his reflections on the parergon (‘para’+‘ergon’), whereby the border and the frame are both beside the work and part of it (Derrida 1978:17–47). To be marginal implies being in the risky zone of transition, described as ‘liminal’ (Turner 1969). Curiously, two major aspects of Group X’s marginality are not seriously addressed by current criticism inside Pakistan: the gender of the actors and the political content

8

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

of their production. These two issues seemed increasingly interwoven, and yet they are simply being ignored. What are the reasons for this tunnel vision, whereby the miniatures are viewed through a glass darkly?

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

9

1 SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL FORMATIONS RELATING TO MINIATURE PRACTICE

The contemporary art scene in Pakistan today is a lively one. Defying the lack of state subsidy, with support from only a very few experimental galleries and critics, artists are challenging a growing audience with a wide variety of multi-media practices. Collaborative workshops are frequently set up by the artists, particularly in the wake of 9/11, when the need was felt for a shared reflection on the consequent tensions.1 Such a crying out for collective action has permeated the consequences of Pakistan’s traumatic birth as a nation. To recall the events of Partition is vital in understanding the intensity of Pakistan’s search for a cultural identity different from India’s. Their hostility was created by the ‘poisoned legacy of that fateful decision’ (Bose and Jalal 1998:164), taken by the British in 1947, to partition India along allegedly religious lines. In 1947, the British, together with the Congress party in India, presented a choice to Jinnah, president of the Muslim League: either to join an undivided India without a Muslim share in the central power, or to accept a sovereign Pakistan consisting only of the Muslim-majority areas of the Punjab and Bengal. His mistrust of Congress forced him to take the second choice, a raw deal, which, as Jinnah graphically described, resulted in a ‘maimed, mutilated and moth-eaten’ state (Bose and Jalal 1998:165). Before

10

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Partition, 100 million Muslims lived in the sub-continent; after it, 60 million migrated to east and west Pakistan, and 40 million stayed in India. In spite of a common faith, they were not a homogeneous community, because of huge regional, linguistic and economic differences. Jinnah’s use of religion was a political tactic, but like his counterpart Nehru, the president of India, his vision was of a secular state. The carving-up of the sub-continent was done by a Mr Radcliffe, an English judge chosen in the name of scientific objectivity, since he had never set foot in India. He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect, But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot, And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot, But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided, A continent for better or worse divided. The next day he sailed for England, where he quickly forgot The case, as a good lawyer must. Return he would not, Afraid, as he told his Club, that he might get shot. (Partition, W.H.Auden) The nightmare slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs as 17 million refugees fled across the virtual ‘Radcliffe Line’ has been evoked in Pakistani literature – by Saadat Hasan Manto (1912–55) and Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1914–84) – yet rarely in the visual arts, before two commemorative exhibitions on Partition: ‘Mappings’ in 1998 and ‘Lines of Control’ in 2007. Pre-Partition international relations involving cultural and economic factors within South Asian history are also significant here. The migrations of populations across continents, the traffic along trade routes, the spread of religions and the diffusion of technologies and disciplines have all contributed to forming a sub-continent with an inter-cultural, pluralist basis. A recurring image in Indian premodern history is an almost cyclical one of invasion, accommodation

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

11

and assimilation through cultural fusions (Ahmad 1964; Richards 1996). Pakistani history claims not only the Mughals as its honoured forefathers but also asserts as its original heritage Harappa, site of the earliest migrations two million years ago, whence evolved the Indus Valley culture (Hussain 1997; Ahsan 1996; Allchin 1995; Bose and Jalal 1998). As the Pakistani artist (and former student at the NCA) Masooma Syed, suggests, behind the ‘invented heritage’ lies a far more complex history: I find a cultural collage here stronger and denser than anywhere else . . . the popular image of a rich tapestry from the Indus Valley to Muslim times is in fact overlaid with the experiences of other cultures, Aryans, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and then the colonisation by the British who split art from crafts in order to encourage trade in Indian handicrafts. (Syed 2001) With the final gasp of the Mughal dynasty in the eighteenth century, and the annexation of the Punjab by the British in 1849, miniature painting gradually lost its grand patronage. The displaced painters of Lahore were obliged either to seek employment in the minor Hindu princely courts of Rajasthan and the Punjab hills, or to find ways of applying their medium to very different surfaces from the traditional wasli (hand-made paper), such as furniture or walls. A few of them even turned to photography, the new technology highly favoured by the colonial Raj. Coming from a culture which had no distinct terms for art and craft, mussawir (‘maker of images’) was the common term before the miniaturists were re-classed as craftsmen by British colonial policy, neatly creating a rift between craft and fine art. The Mayo School of Art was established by the British in Lahore in 1875, with J.L. Kipling as its Principal (Fig. 1). A reformed art education was set up to ‘save’ Indian indigenous crafts, under the suitably flexible ideology of mixing education and free trade in order to serve both economic and ‘civilising’ ends.2 The ambivalent

12

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Fig. 1. Portrait of J.L.Kipling 1880s by Munshi Sher Muhammed

colonialist discourse pretended to defend indigenous art, yet, by imposing Western academic methods on Indian students, managed to deconstruct the local processes of making art and hence to alienate miniature painting. After more than 40 years in the wilderness of exclusion, miniature practice was introduced into the Mayo School of Art in the 1920s under the pressure of artists/teachers coming from the Bengal school, but it was classed as a ‘minor option’.

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

13

With Independence in 1947, Pakistan’s search for an ‘authentic’ art form looked towards miniature painting. In 1958, the Mayo School was nationalised and renamed the ‘National College of Art’ (NCA); a traditional workshop was set up under two ustads (masters). In the late 1970s, their apprentice, the current ustad Bashir Ahmed, took this over to mount a special degree course. It is the only serious department of miniature painting in the world; it is conducted along orthodox lines and rigorously disciplined. Its official nationalist discourse is pursued through two strategies: by reiterating the menace of loss – ‘As a responsibility to this department, I continue to engage in ways of enhancing awareness of this endangered tradition of miniature art’ (Ahmed 2000)3 – and by promoting the Mughal legacy: The Imperial city of Lahore’s encounter with the Mughal emperors (1526–1857) had a lasting effect on the cultural ethos of the city . . . the city of Lahore is a tribute to the aesthetic sensibilities of its Mughal patrons and the expertise of its artists and craftsmen. (Vandal 1995) Since texts offering a coherent social and political history of Pakistan are plentiful,4 I have chosen to concentrate on the social fields relating specifically to miniature practice within the last decade. The issues selected are those informing critical commentary by the practitioners, both in their visual representation and in their discourse.

Tradition and identity High on the agenda, and the cause of apparent tension between the two groups of practitioners, is the debate around tradition, treated in Chapter 3. If inventing a tradition is arrived at through ‘constructing a continuity with a suitable past’, as proposed by Hobsbawm (1983:1), the issue is whether the return to miniature painting is in the spirit of a nationalist revival or is a ‘re-invented’ art form conveying the spirit of an ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983).5 On what grounds may a nationalist revival be judged as reactionary? Similarly, on what grounds may a ‘re-invention’ be assumed as

14

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

resistance? Nationhood as a potent frame of reference (Abu-Lughod 2005:27) has not lost its importance with globalisation, as the earlier text of Appadurai (1996) suggested; in her cogent study of contemporary Egyptian art, Winegar underlines nationhood as a ‘major category of practice’ (2006:20).6 It is the very lack of state support for art in Pakistan which engenders a disgruntled discourse on the nation and on cultural politics.7 One reaction is to exalt the ‘Mughal connection’. This style pervades orthodox production, but coincidentally provides plenty of matter for the re-cycling carried out by unorthodox practitioners – but what is their interest in appropriating the Mughal tradition? It is based on the need for a serious historical revision of the original cultural context of the miniature form. The image of the Mughal style has been distorted through a discourse based on ‘authenticity’, which relates it to purity and rejects its hybrid nature. In Chapter 3 it will be shown how the karkhanas (workshops) produced miniatures from a fusion of highly diverse sources, emerging from a Mongol and Timurid heritage and developing from practice at Persian courts. Under Akbar, ‘the real begetter of Mughal painting’ (Rogers 1995:41), production was intentionally eclectic. In structuring collaborative work between artists from Hindu, Jain and Muslim traditions, Akbar’s policy of enlightened religious tolerance was exemplary (Koch 1997). Such cultural eclecticism had begun in Lahore in the eleventh century, when Ghaznavid rulers made it the centre of Persian culture. The administrative language of the Mughal rulers in India remained Persian, but through linguistic and religious pluralism there evolved an Indo-Persian cultural fusion which forms the matrix of a more inclusive Pakistani identity today.8 ‘Sufism reflected the lived experience of a spiritual humanism that cut across a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, even as it mediated the subcontinent’s Indo-Persian cultural dimension’ (Irfani 2003:5). This spirit of eclecticism is now marginalised and threatened by the instrumental politics of the ‘Arabist shift’, as seen in the rise of the Islamist Taliban. Militant Islamist visions have erupted through the rejection of a multi-religious, Indo-Persian heritage, and the reclamation of West Asian roots in Arabist territories:

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

15

Nothing worked as magically in restoring the self-confidence of the Pakistani state and its privileged classes as the infusion of petro-dollars. But this new sort of money brought with it a new and curiously effective commodity as well: petro-Islam . . . a curious kind of Islam, equally ferocious in its pieties and its consumerism. (Ahmad 2000:260) Since Partition there has been, for diverse reasons, an ongoing crisis of Pakistani identity. Crudely described by the Pathan leader Wali Khan, as ‘an accident of history’, Pakistan has a vacuum where central allegiance might lie, due to constant power struggles, hierarchically and within all different social groups. The four groups that have ruled alternately are the military, the bureaucracy, the feudal lords and the industrial barons, ‘. . . as if allocated their turn in an invisible game of musical chairs’ (Shahid-Ur-Rehman 2000:111). The population of 170 million is split by sectarianism, the majority is Sunni and twenty per cent Shi’a, and by inter-ethnic conflict between five major groups: Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis, Pathans and Mohajirs (Muslim immigrants from India). Language is at the heart of this most significant problem of ethnicity, divided by three areas of contention: power, ideology and democracy. In the first of these areas, the English language dominates the domains of administration, the judiciary, the military, education and trade, as it has done ever since British rule. In the second area, that of ideological dispute, Urdu – of Persian origin and crucial to Muslim identity in India ever since the demise of the Mughal dynasties – has become, alongside Islam, the key symbol of Pakistani unity. In the third area, that of struggles for democracy, the ethno-nationalist movements for secularism and decentralisation defend the vernacular, indigenous languages as the basic weapon in their anti-colonial battle. Such complexities have served to accentuate class divisions, whereby fluency in English has evolved as a ‘caste-like distinction’ (Rahman 1966:237). This is enacted between the ten per cent of the population educated to be literate in English and the rest, divided into the eight per cent of Urdu speakers, supported by the Mohajir elite, against the 49 per cent of the Punjabi educated elite. The latter, in their turn, are accused by the remaining ethno-nationalist language groups (Sindhi,

16

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Pashto, Siraiki, Balochi and others) of practising internal colonialism (Census Report of Pakistan 1998). The language issue stems from hegemonic movements and compromises behind party politics. Proposals to unite the medium of education at all levels, Urdu under Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamisation (1977–88), or English under Benazir Bhutto (1988–90, 1993–96) have been denounced as conspiracies or pronounced too costly. So students continue to aspire to competence in English, which remains intact as the preserve of elitist knowledge (Mansoor 1993: 141–4). Parallel shifts in Islamisation have been less controversial. PostPartition Pakistan saw a few years of a comparatively mild, reformist Islam, one which still respected the Sufi saints of Sindh and the Punjab. All this collapsed with the war of 1971, when Pakistan cut itself in half, East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh. The 1970s saw the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto era, when Islamism, partially inspired by Qaddafi’s anti-imperialism, gradually moved away from socialist egalitarianism (Wolpert 1993:240–5). Symbolic recognition of Urdu as the national language was inscribed in the 1973 constitution, but English continued to dominate higher education. It was this period under Bhutto which also saw the first mediatisation of the miniature as a gift to foreign officials. His socialist Islamicist policy promising ‘roti, kapra, aur makan’ (food, clothing and shelter) gave the practice of miniature painting a role as a cultural ‘curio’ in his nationalist scenario, thus combining commodification with diplomacy in ways not unlike previous and devious rulers: the Mughals and the British Raj. Under Zia-ul-Haq, militant Urduisation imposed strict censorship on any imagery seen as unacceptable within the Islamicised ideology; thus, second only to calligraphy, miniature painting was officially celebrated. Configurations of ‘populist’ views on art and identity through regional folk art, music and literature were officially patronised, as long as they played the game in Urdu. Punjabi revivals of Sufi poetry and activist street-theatre groups such as Ajoka or Lok Rhas were as censored under Zia as folk theatre had been under British Raj (Rashid 2006). Meanwhile the traditional miniature was informing the developing curio market by its faith in copies as near as possible to

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

17

the ‘authentic’ original. Ironically, it was this very ‘vulgarisation’, via popular media such as calendars, cushion covers and advertisements, which – together with an anarchic refusal to toe the nationalist line – sparked the radical ‘re-invention’ of miniature painting at the NCA, under the inspiration of Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941–99).

Gender and patriarchy The practice of miniature painting is revolutionary on gender grounds because, for over 500 years, this art form was the domain solely of male artists, and thus of patriarchal transmission; but today the majority of the artists are female. The structure of the workshops has always been patriarchal – the only mention of women in art history texts is as assistants called in to grind the pigments (Chandra 1949:24).9 From father to son, transmission has always been oral; one of the reasons given for this is the need to protect knowledge. Hence ‘trade secrets’ are kept in the family, or rather within the male side of the family: ‘. . . not to be passed on to daughters in case they gave or made them available to other painters’ families into which they married’ (Goswamy 1992:94). This would explain the absence of manuals on technique. Similar prohibitions were set up by the Brahmins in Vedic times to control knowledge and power. It could also be related to the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century practice in North India of Rajput marriage alliances. Based on localised lineages by which mutual obligations were established, such alliances exchanged daughters and dowries for political or economic support. Female infanticide served as an alternative to being forced to marry into a lower-income group. Killing daughters became: ‘the likely social response to the threat of loss of status,’ writes Cohn (1970:184). Happily, not killing but keeping daughters away from the ‘trade secrets’ of miniature painting has been the ‘likely social response’ of miniature-painting fathers to the threat of loss of status. Throughout its history, there are only two women mentioned as painting miniatures: the one a Mughal Empress, Noor Jahan, and the other, Nadira Bano, alias Anarkali, the legendary concubine of Jahangir (Bressan 1995:58). There is the occasional reference to nineteenth-century

18

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Muslim bourgeois women in purdah taking painting lessons, seen as a pastime of the nobility.10 The present revival, in total contrast, is dominated by women: for every two male students, there are eight female. The gender shift within the Pakistani art world has evolved in wily fashion, artfully manoeuvred by women artists duly trained in the strategies and tactics of sexist cultural politics. For example, Pakistan was the first Muslim state to have a university fine-arts department headed by a woman, Anna Molka Ahmed, at the Punjab University in 1940. This outstanding event is explained by the simple fact that art was considered by the colonial administration of the 1940s as a fringe activity, to be relegated to the realm of women so long as they remained teachers. In the early years after Independence the official pedagogy sustained this sexist bias: Women’s emancipation means that women are beginning to take up subjects like chemistry and physics, and we don’t want to clutter up those classes with them. It’s a waste of space and time since they’ll get married anyway. The department of Fine Arts will admit only female students. (M.A. Hussain 1947, Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab University). (Hashmi 2002:15) Reproducing the Mughal family tradition, middle-class women could be painters, poets, even musicians, so long as they stayed at home. Gradually, in the post-Partition period, women began to teach art in schools and colleges all over Pakistan. In spite of this advance, women rarely exhibited, and the art scene remained male, dominated by ‘either the traditionalists and romantics like Chughtai, Allah Buksh, and Zainul Abedin, or the emerging modernists like Shakir Ali’ (Hashmi 2002:7). One extraordinary exception was Zubaida Agha, an abstract painter who is now considered the doyenne of modernism in Pakistani art (Araeen 2000:110, Hashmi 2002:35).11 During the socio-political upheavals under Bhutto in the 1970s, women artists began to acquire recognition in the cultural art world. Their extraordinary resistance to the military regime under

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

19

Fig. 2. W.A.F. (Women’s Action Forum) demonstration, 1998

Zia-ul-Haq was mobilised by the grotesque level of violence against women. Through the perversion of the legal system, such violence was legitimised, and resistance increased, with the horrendous impact of the Hudood Ordinance (1983).12 The Women’s Action Forum (WAF, Fig. 2) was formed as a pressure group, and organised consciousness-raising forums for women (Shaheed 1987; Mumtaz 1987; Saigol 1997; Zafar 1991; Mernissi 1986–89; Sher and Rukh 1996).13 In 1983, fifteen women artists signed a manifesto drafted by Salima Hashmi, Lala Rukh and I.A. Rehman. By the 1980s, women artists were rapidly growing in number and producing work which overtly challenged the patriarchal assumptions of Pakistani nationalism. Apart from state/military censorship, women’s rights in rural regions were restricted not only by the Taliban but also by various ethnic groups. Evidence of this was the frequent treatment of ‘honour killers’, following the code of izzat (honour), as beyond the jurisdiction of the state (Chhachhi 1991). Estimated by the HRCP in 2003 at 800 ‘reported’ cases per year, honour killing is a taboo subject bravely treated in a series of miniatures by Saira Wasim

20

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

(Cameo 4). The ongoing struggle for women’s rights is reflected in several miniatures;14 those by Aisha Khalid (Cameo 2) and Ayesha Durrani (Cameo 8) propose vignettes on the silent sufferings of women in purdah-like conditions, testified to by the numerous studies of domestic violence carried out by Pakistani women’s groups and NGOs (Hassan 2003). The patrilinear power of the fundamentalists, like that of the ustad in miniature practice, has come under threat simply because women are performing, not only in the law courts, like the courageous civil rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, but also in the galleries. Their growing respect is celebrated in Salima Hashmi’s pioneering book: Unveiling the Visible, yet Pakistani professional women are still comparatively unacknowledged, in Western anthropology and even in feminist writings from the Muslim diaspora.15 Gender issues are frequently grounds for intense discussions with students and teachers at the NCA, particularly because the institution is full of paradoxes: subject to a theocratic Islamic state under military rule, the college has been headed by women for the past 20 years, including Salima Hashmi and Nazeesh Ata-Ullah, the current Principal (Fig. 3). Many department heads are women: Sculpture, Film, Ceramics, Printmaking, Textile Design, the Master’s programme in Fine Art, Cultural Studies.16 Another factor is crucial: it is mainly through the women’s groups on either side of the contentious border between Pakistan and India that exchanges of artists and shows are taking place, inspired by the initial exhibition Mappings (in Delhi and Lahore in 1997) in memory of the Partition, curated by Pooja Sood – founder of Khoj, the main Indian artists’ collective.

Militancy and fundamentalism While ‘petro-Islam’ was being created out of the profitable exchanges between Saudi patronage and Pakistani professional and working classes, the first stages of various fundamentalist Islams – the puritanical Islam of Arab youth squads from the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood) – spread across college campuses, and were often invited by the student wing of the radical rightist Jama’at-e-Islami,

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

21

Fig. 3. Nazeesh Ata-Ullah, present NCA principal

the faction which was to lead the main provocations under General Zia-ul-Haq. Diverse attempts to unify the country through Islamic ideology have since backfired (Jalal 1991b:288); however, the Jihadi culture of militant orthodoxy currently risks revival with the reinforced Islamisation of public space and discourse in reaction to globalisation (Qadeer 2006:183–90). American funding of the Islamist rebellion against the Sovietaligned regime in Afghanistan was done through an expressly created military unit: ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) controlled by the CIA. This US aid, provided in the name of freedom, was Pakistan’s poisoned chalice, leading to the scourges of heroin addiction and arms-dealing. The gradual fusion with former mujahideen of the Taliban youth emerging from the Pakistani madrassas17 and seminaries allowed ahuge expansion of Islamist militias. American aid to Pakistan stopped with the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the American volte-face on the nuclear issue, when the IMF and the World Bank re-imposed strict conditions. Since then the financial crisis has worsened, through the exorbitant nuclear-defence budget and the corrupt regimes of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif preceding

22

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the latest military dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf. The defence budget is the largest item in the national budget, allowing little for health or education, let alone culture. Military spending is currently twice the amount spent on health and education combined. The army is in fact a vast business, which runs banks, real estate, sugar mills, pharmaceutical firms, chemical plants, construction companies, fertiliser factories, gas companies, power plants and farms. It functions in a totally globalised manner with five major business corporations; the biggest (Fauji Foundation) has assets of nearly US$2 billion. It generates the funds to run its own welfare programmes, and owns over 88 educational institutions and more than 100 hospitals; it is registered as a charity and pays no income tax (Bennett Jones 2002:275–80). The national obsession with the military (Pakistan’s largest circulation paper is called Jang (War) is a theme treated by the painter Hasnat Mehmood (Cameo 9), and an inevitable subject of discussion amongst the artists. Curiously enough, Nusra Latif Qureshi (Cameo 3) made observations about the army which were not as negative as could be expected. This was a phenomena I encountered on several occasions, since a common debate amongst Lahori intellectuals is to compare and contrast the swings and roundabouts of risk between the military and the politicians. In Latif Qureshi’s witty description: . . . intellectuals and the army have a love-hate relationship; because of the conflict with India the army is made to look like our saviour. Indeed its image at the grass-roots level is one of being honest, disciplined and upright, as most soldiers come from rural backgrounds, so there is a common trust much more than with the politicians who come from feudal backgrounds. That is why Musharraf’s take-over was seen as a relief . . . and now, as usual, it has transformed itself into a dictatorship! The biggest threat lies in the lack of unity within the army itself.

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

23

Once the most unified institution, it was open to potential splitting by Islamic zealots only too eager to oust the ‘over-liberal’ Musharraf (eventually achieved in 2008 by the activist lobbying of lawyers). In the current chaos under President Zarfari, an ideological vacuum is providing fertile ground for extremists and for their manipulation by different political parties. Such a situation might well lead to another military coup, since Islamisation of the imagination: ‘. . . a historical imaginaire locked in a virtual world of religious triumphalism’ (Irfani 2003:10) uses force rather than inventiveness. Nationalist faith in the ‘imagined community’ appears to exist more in the impassioned patriotism stirred up by military opposition to Indian aggression. The Indo-Pakistan conflict is both enduring and asymmetric: it is about territory, national identity and power in the region. The root cause is Kashmir, whose political status is perceived by the Pakistanis as being unfinished business from Partition. For reasons of identity and strategy, the core national mission of Pakistani leaders has always been to take the entire state of Jammu-Kashmir away from Indian control; hence India forms the ‘constitutive outside’ of Pakistani identity. Sustenance for this ‘enduring conflict’ is provided by irredentism on both sides. Their chronic rivalry currently uses three strategic fields: nuclear weaponry, the playing-off of global powers, and involvement with ‘terrorist’ movements, exploiting attacks such as those in Mumbai (2008) and Lahore (2009). One terrifying conclusion reached by many political analysts is that only an imminent crisis or threat of war could precipitate change (Diehl and Goertz 2001; Paul 1994; 2005; Lebow 1984; Khan 2009), and this raises the sinister threat of a major nuclear crisis between the two. The alternative hope, for any rational solution to the conflict with India, is to explore new economic deals and seriously to propose peace initiatives over Kashmir; this has been the sad lament ever since my first visit to Pakistan in 1968. The conflict with India motivates huge popular support for the nuclear deterrent in Pakistan. Simulated or obsolete rockets, as well as rusty planes and tanks, are to be found decorating

24

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

roundabouts, station forecourts and municipal parks (Fig. 11). They are the contemporary versions of the statuesque hero on horseback in Renaissance piazzas: public art in the militarist tradition of phallic monuments. Missile monuments always struck me as oddly similar to minarets; I sometimes wondered if this visual analogy had not constituted their popularity, almost through the evocation of some mythical common source.18 For whatever reasons, nationalist or fetishist, these weary weapons are each honoured with heroic names, and virtually worshipped in a manner comparable to Hindu lingams, enrobed with flower necklaces. Symbolic offerings are made by visiting families, who photograph their children, suitably dressed in camouflage gear, standing alongside the rockets, as if proximity with such powerful members will enrich their own fertility.19 ‘Nuke mania’ decorates matchboxes, posters and tea-cloths, but the most shocking is to be found in children’s toys such as pencil cases and Dinky-style miniatures. A find in Anarkali market was an automated army jeep, complete with siren and an Osama bin Laden figure standing in white, prophet-like, and surrounded by armed men. ‘Soldiers or disciples?’ I asked the vendor; he laughed and said that of course it was an image of Bin Laden’s capture. A favourite anecdote of exchange with rickshaw drivers was the one about ‘the-mostwanted-man-alive’, revealing the ongoing potential for legendary hero-worship.20 There is very little open debate, and only a nascent anti-nuclear movement. This is illustrated by a bold film made by Aisha Gazdarin 2002: Roz-e-qaza: Hibukasha ki Aapbeti (‘The last day: story of a Hibakusha [survivor of an atomic bomb])’. Footage from Hiroshima’s destruction is contrasted with street scenes of support for the bomb in Pakistan. Rabble rousers, Qazi Hussain Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami and Nawaz Sharif, are shown extolling the virtues of a nuclear Pakistan. An article by Ayesha Azfar in the Lahori paper The News on Sunday states: The strength of the film lies not so much in its visual impact as it does in conveying a dangerous truth: the ignorance that prevails in India and Pakistan about nuclear arms and the immense devastation they can cause. (14 December 2003)

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

25

Critical reflections on the above issues are poetically expressed in the miniatures by Imran Qureshi (Cameo 1). Saira Wasim’s paintings use visual devices which evoke the sharp satirical tone of the Letters to Uncle Samwritten in 1955 by Saadat Hasan Minto, Pakistan’s greatest short-story writer;21 here is an extract: Dear Uncle, . . . Regardless of India and the fuss it is making, you must sign a military pact with Pakistan because you are seriously concerned about the stability of the world’s largest Islamic state since our mullah is the best antidote to Russian communism. Once military aid starts flowing you should arm these mullahs. They would also need American-made rosaries and prayer-mats, not to forget small stones that they use to soak up the after-drops following nature’s call . . . I think the only purpose of military aid is to arm these mullahs.

Economics and globalisation In 2002, Pakistan’s population stood at 141 million. Of these, about 2,000 landowners own more than half the cultivable land, and the number of ‘feudal families’ has risen from the famous ‘22’, as named by economist Dr Mahbub Ul-Haq in 1968, to around 44. Such asymmetry is manifested brazenly in Lahore by the shocking contrast between the grandiose Palladian edifices, in ‘White House’ style, (Fig. 4) of the lush suburbs, and the delapidated havelis of the Old Walled City (Fig. 5). ‘The blending of traditional privileges with modern materialism is the basis of the elite formation’ (Qadeer 2006:230). The economic shift from rural to metropolitan areas has had huge repercussions in social conditions. Urbanisation and the emergence of a stronger middle class shape the political scene; over 40 per cent of the population now live in towns and cities, so patterns of production and consumption have changed. Some sociologists claim that even

26

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN Fig. 4. White House, Gulberg

Fig. 5. Haveli, Walled City

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

27

rural areas are becoming absorbed into the overall urban economy (Ali 2003). Yet this ‘adaptive modernisation’ (Khalaf 2001:55–9), whereby formal shifts are unmatched by functional ones, makes for huge economic disparities. These may appear less blatant than in India, since the Pakistani state has a hypocritical take on public and private matters. Its private areas are being secularised and its public spaces Islamised. Rampant consumerism exists alongside pious traditionalism, and hidden behind five-star hotels are squatter slums without water or sanitation. The dismal economic problems are due to dysfunctional domestic policies and huge foreign debts – Pakistan has survived so far only through borrowing. Up to the 1980s, aid allowed Pakistan to keep her head above the hell of her neighbour and the high water of domestic revolt, by maintaining reasonable economic growth in terms of GDP and of per-capita income. Another factor in this was income sent from the Pakistani diaspora abroad, as well as by a limited measure of free-market policies. The overwhelming problem is poverty: almost one third of the population live below the poverty line. Because of the lack of public welfare and education, alleviation of these problems is pushed into the private sector – particularly education, where the only free schooling is offered by madrassas, with frightening consequences. Class divisions are still rife, and wholly related to preserving the paradigm around English literacy. Although the majority of artists come from middle-class backgrounds, those in Group X are all from modest, lower-middle class families, whereas those in Group O are often from wealthy, even feudal family backgrounds.22 Notions of class hegemony figure in many of the miniatures, particularly those by Ahsan Jamal (Cameo 7). Over recent years, Pakistan has followed IMF and World Bank advice, thus ‘liberalising’ her economy, but has slipped back in her economic competition with India ever since 1991, when India loudly launched her shift into free trade and immediately expanded her economic growth, by far outweighing that of Pakistan. The rivalry is absurd, considering that the entire population of Pakistan is less than that of India’s largest state: Uttar Pradesh, with its

28

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

181 million people.23 The enduring economic rivalry has now infected the art world, through the sudden rise to prominence, since about 2007, of Pakistani contemporary art in the global market. It could be ventured that a positive blueprint for globalisation exists in the Mughal period, which was a time of intense intercultural exchange and spiritual eclecticism. The Emperor Akbar (1556–1605) revealed a transnational imaginary of beliefs, political and religious, which in many ways prefigure the cosmopolitan scenarios found in Pakistani postmodernist literature (Hamid 2000; 2007; Shamsie 2002; 2008; Hanif 2008). Meanwhile, is Pakistan’s current (partial) dalliance with globalisation bringing any benefits? Its impact on the economy is at its most visible within the textile industry, whose spectacular progress is visible in the vast consumption of cloth and the massive demand for tailoring across class and gender. Textiles constituted 67 per cent of all Pakistan’s exports in 2002–03, making the country the world’s fourth-largest producer of both cotton and cotton yarn, after China, India and the USA. However, due to the generally low level of technology in both the weaving and the processing sectors, its production of final finished cloth is only three per cent of global trade. The so-called ‘free trade’, globalised world-order suddenly takes on political implications (Chaudhury and Ahmed 2004). In the name of modernity and progress, Pakistan risks being penalised unless she manages her economy more efficiently. The similarity between these manoeuvres and the British colonial manipulation of cotton production in India in the nineteenth century is striking.24 I detail these facts because the overwhelming economic and popular pre-occupation with textiles in everyday Pakistani life undergoes witty treatment by several miniaturists (Durrani, Khalid, Syed) and will be examined in the cameos.

Everyday life Political tensions and inter-ethnic violence so dominate the media that any positive picture of everyday life vanishes from the global

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

29

image of Pakistan. Perhaps only ethnographic details can evoke the warmth and wit of social exchange with Pakistani people encountered over the last ten years. I was fortunate to experience contrasting levels of Lahore life-styles as I had accommodation alongside the students’ hostel, in a building which housed teachers and the families of the cleaners and chowkidars (doormen). In the local market I became a familiar target for gentle bantering with my shalwar kameez (loose trousers, long shirt) and limited Punjabi. Every time I went into the corner shop the grandfather would bemoan the lost Raj, a droning accompaniment to the discord between his two grandsons. The friendly one would fix my mobile and invite me on his tourist treks in Chitral, whilst his sour-faced brother would barely raise his head from the Koran to serve me.25 I shared meals with the students and heard of their amorous escapades, followed up through subtle observation of antics around the cricket ground. As the focal point of social life, the space’s colonial origins form a suitably ironic setting for the gathering of charmed circles of vociferous students. They sprawl in jeans or sit cross-legged in shalwar kameez around the ground or in the gracious Oxbridge style courtyard (Fig. 6). The college is sited on the Mall, once the legendary Great Trunk Road but re-named after Independence as Shahrah-e-Quaid-i-Azam, in honour of Jinnah. Initially Mayo College, the NCA is a formidable Victorian monument to British imperialism ‘. . . a massive cannon in the artillery of empire’ (Ashcroft 1995:425). Guarding its entrance is a bronze cannon known as Zamzamah or ‘Kim’s Gun’. Amidst the chaotic traffic of scooter rickshaws, painted trucks, bullock carts and 4x4s, the cannon’s muzzle glints up the Mall, shaded by tall peepal and eucalyptus trees (Fig. 7). An island of Kiplingesque nostalgia contains the ramshackle Kim’s Bookshop (Fig. 8), appropriately wedged between the museum, Kim’s ‘Wonder House’ (Fig. 9) and the NCA. Beyond the museum, the grand covered bazaar of Anarkali (Fig. 10), renamed Tollington Market under the Raj and for years in ruins, has been superbly restored as a craft museum.26 Along the Mall is a park where an obsolete missile stands erect in virile pride, garlanded with flowers. (Fig. 11) Another urban pedestal

30

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Fig. 6. NCA courtyard

Fig. 7. The Mall: Zam Zam cannon and fighter plane

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

Fig. 8. Kim’s Bookshop

Fig. 9. Lahore Museum (the ‘Wonder House’)

31

32

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Fig. 10. Tollington Market, Lahore

displays a battered fighter jet, (Fig. 7) heroic relic of Indo-Pakistani warfare. Such surrogate vigilantes serve a purpose, since NCA’s reputation for liberalism has suffered from reactionary description as a den of iniquity, denigrated because it is a rare haven: a space where the genders can mix freely, without patriarchal or matriarchal surveillance.27 Islamic faith is ‘simply there’ for the artists, it exists as a fait social, in the Durkheimian sense of constraint between the two consciences: the particulière and the collective (Durkheim 1895a: xxii, 45). A calm assertion of belief is constantly reiterated by the miniaturists in their discussions about the threats of fundamentalism, manifested in their imagery through the satire of extremists on both sides of the world (Cameo 4, Saira Wasim). Curiously little media attention in Pakistan was given to the destruction by the Taliban of the Buddhist sculptures in Bamiyan, but it was immediately addressed in the miniatures of Khadim Ali (Cameo 5), himself an Afghani whose family had migrated to Quetta from Bamiyan. A sense of irony in the face of everyday chaos is undoubtedly the chief characteristic of the Pakistani people. It is there in the

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

Fig. 11. Missile ‘Shaheen’ in front of Town Hall, Mall Rd

33

34

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Fig. 12. Rooftops with pigeon cages

telling of naughty tales, such as of the illegal betting which permeates the national rooftop-pastime of racing pigeons, whose cages are spectacular works of urban bricolage (Fig. 12).28 It is also there for more serious issues – irony barely veils the anger and indignation felt towards the ban on homosexuality by many artists (who vociferously applauded the courage of the recent film by Parvez Sharma, A Jihad for Love (2007). It is therefore no surprise that irony permeates the new miniatures as well as the artists’ discourse. A tone of weary ambivalence haunts this generation, made despondent by a constantly deferred democracy. Their antidote is satire, as demonstrated in the intellectual reaction to the nationalist reclamation of another social activity: kite-flying (Fig. 13). Flying high in the popular gaze, it may be contrasted with the miniature as a focus of a minority, elitist gaze. Kite-flying resonates with the total involvement demanded of its practitioners, suggesting analogies between sport, art and ritual.29 Since it was also courtly during the Mughal period, kite-flying is therefore now promoted by the state, like the practice of miniature painting, as an example of indigenous culture. It is a democratic activity since it costs very little, apart from the human lives recorded

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

Fig. 13. Kite flying on rooftops

35

36

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

in the newspapers’ daily death-lists of those fallen from rooftop terraces. Where the day-time urban skyline is a curtain of Matisse-like cut-outs manipulated by boys and men on roofs, the night-time city streets are packed with boys playing cricket under the dodgy electric wires. Both games are on the whole gender-specific. The local artisans in the Old City of Lahore who make the paper kites are often very elderly: I met with one who was 95, and crippled with arthritis. Carried every morning by his son to his tiny raised kiosk, he would sit folding the delicate forms with his gnarled hands from dawn to dusk, when his son would carry him home. This image of the heroic artisan, stubbornly maintaining his hand-crafted production in defiance of overwhelming competition from mechanical reproduction, becomes a poignant allegory of the nineteenth-century miniature painters: an ‘endangered species’, barely surviving in the last workshops in Lahore. Kite-flying is intensely competitive, since the aim is to cut the string of any other kite it meets. At pre-festival times, the roads are lined with kite strings tied to tree trunks while being laced with glue and embedded with shafts of broken glass. (A popular fable recounts how Mughal Emperors spliced their kite strings with broken diamonds.) The kites can be plain, or richly decorated with patterns from architectural motifs or textiles; more recently, stylised figures and flags of political parties have become popular. Kite-flying has become virtually nationalised, through the Basant festival, as a tourist marketing-attraction. Since Basant was originally an agrarian festival to celebrate the onset of spring, it is the only secular one in the calendar, and is nowadays feted in urban Lahore on a vast scale, involving all classes of people.30 ‘This annual flirtation with local culture affords an opportunity to re-inforce their “ethnic” identity’ (Mirza 2001:9). Inevitably such an occasion cannot be missed by the ‘mighty multi-nationals’ who sponsor any such cultural event to boost their brand names, so nowadays the festival has sections such as ‘Shell-Basant’or ‘Pepsi-Basant’. Certain artists have even jumped on the vernacular band-wagon, producing oil paintings of the festival with quaint views of the dilapidated old city and the crumbling havelis, works which find a ready market.

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

37

Fig. 14. Gawal Mandi (Food St)

The main sites for cultural commodification of the vernacular are the five-star hotels;31 these were built for the tourist trade, but since this hardly exists, they are full of business executives and endless conference bonanzas, where ‘. . . lavish extravaganzas of desi music and folk dances are put on regularly by the big corporations’ (Mirza 2001:10).32 The favoured, and socially acceptable, outing for women is to the fabulous cloth bazaars to buy fabric. Much time, energy and money is spent on ritual visits to (and from) the tailor, possibly the only artisan with a secure future, since the social and cultural consequences of shifts in technology and modes of production are still complex (Reddy 1986:282). Recently however, a great expansion of family nightlife has been offered through the colourful redecoration of two market streets in Lahore (Fig. 14), Anarkali and Gowal-mundi, ‘Food Street’, where families sit out at rows of trestle tables eating delicious Punjabi cooking in the welcome cool of the night.

38

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

CAMEO 1 Mohammad Imran Qureshi From early on, Mohammad Imran Qureshi, (b.1972) was interested in the linking of the personal with the political. His background is mixed: he grew up speaking both Urdu and Sindhi within a modest, Karachi-based, middle-class family. His apparently early social awareness had been encouraged by his maternal grandfather, a well known poet in Sindh, who told him bedtime stories, as did his own father. Only later did Qureshi realise that these had been adaptations of ancient Urdu texts.33 When he came to study at the NCA in the 1980s, the period of chronic oppression under the Zia-ul-Haq military dictatorship, Qureshi’s awareness was undoubtedly stimulated by the impassioned resistance of the women artists who taught him, in particular Salima Hashmi.34 Puppetry has been the impetus for many of Qureshi’s experimental ideas and practice. As a student, he ran the NCA puppet society and directed plays for a drama society.35 Qureshi and his group made puppets in the studio and then performed with them, accompanied by live rock music, in various centres.36 He speaks with enthusiasm about these experiences, describing how they helped develop a social perspective on regional conflicts. In many ways this was the catalyst for his introduction of contemporary themes into a traditional art form: miniature painting. The fact that puppetry, by its very nature, lends itself to political parody has inspired Qureshi to relate form to content. His stage-managing manoeuvres have also influenced his painting practice: the ‘framing’ of the stage or image recalls the ongoing theatrical debate between the protagonists of the proscenium, or ‘picture frame’ stage, and those who defend a Brechtian approach. The latter would favour the disruption of illusion, of any mimicry of realism, by emphasising the artifice of the spectacle. This is what Qureshi aspired to do by his play with framing in earlier works. He shifts imagery into the margins (or ‘wings’), thus decentralising the focus and representing the frame as a façade, indeed as a form of window-dressing which dissimulates the subject matter. The ‘naturalist’ visual strategies appropriated by the Mughal miniaturists from Western imagery provide fascinating material for

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

39

Qureshi, who has adopted similar ruses in a recent series concerned with nuclear arms. On account of Pakistan’s nuclear policy, described in Chapter 1, public sculpture is obsessed with the missile. In works such as Beginning of an End (2000, Plate 1) Lahore Resolution (2000) or Kagaz Kay Sanam (2000), Qureshi’s mise-en-scène is based on cartographic imagery relating to both landscape-gardening and military warfare. He treats the missiles like Mughal emperors, tragic-comic figures like Ubu Roi, inflated with their own rhetoric to the point of disastrous explosion. Camouflaged as trees in a walled garden, their warheads have iridescent haloes of gold leaf echoing the regal nimbus; the rockets rise out of misty landscapes, garlanded by mango leaves or spattered with sperm-like fall-out. Paradoxes in Pakistan are commonplace; the majority of the population is wary of the fundamentalist threat, and their reactions vary between compliance with and indifference to authority.37 Qureshi’s missiles seem to acknowledge this, as if the government’s obsession with nuclear defence must be handled with care, rather than confronted by force. Qureshi’s work is testimony to his enjoyment in playing with techniques. He is so intrigued by the process that he assimilates accidental marks or stains, such as those left by fungus growing out of a tea stain on wasli, the prepared paper. His exquisite drawing streaks into unknown territories where red lines38 twist and turn like vines across the text and image, celebrating or choking words and objects. He experiments with translucent layers of washes, with repetition and pattern evoking minimal as well as Islamic abstraction. Whereas in traditional miniatures the calligraphic texts were inscribed first and provided the subject matter for the painter’s illustration, in Qureshi’s work they play an active visual role. This is done either through collages of fragments of Urdu poetry from ancient manuscripts, juxtaposed with Letraset, newsprint and masking tape, or as a ground made up of old exercise books or sewing manuals. Memories evoked by such ‘papiers trouvés’ found in the bazaar, enhance a mood of nostalgia or deflate a dogmatic image. Montage is a tool for changing perspectives. His juxtapositions of curious imagery open a window onto a world of social malaise, where fragments of the scenario are

40

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

blown up into frames from a silent movie, and texts function as subtitles. Another area of investigation has been the actual presentation of miniatures. In London Qureshi saw how they were stored in boxes in the V&A museum. The contrast between the possibility of handling the paintings, as opposed to the usual regulated distance between them and the viewer, led Qureshi to conceive two installations: Let’s Make Things Better (2001) where he crumpled up his drawings of missiles, placing them beneath gold-framed miniatures which were in fact reproductions of old prints. In the other work, Homage to Hope Street 1 (2001), his paintings were placed in boxes on a table, and spectators were invited to take them out and peruse them, as in Mughal times: ‘I think the notion that miniatures are precious needs to be questioned, I want to demolish the barrier about not touching the work . . . it is an art form like any other . . .’ These pieces were completed during Qureshi’s 2001 residency at Liverpool Art College, where he dwelt on the issue of immigration which dominates the context of a city with a history as a major port for colonial traffic. In one painting in a series, Homage to Hope Street IV (2002, Plate 2), fingerprints are the fodder for satire: aligned in rows like refugees, yet impossible to regiment, they collapse into the margin. Their humiliation is avenged by Qureshi’s implicit mockery of the neo-colonialist immigration systems. In a fourth installation, West is West (2002, Plate 3), miniature images of maps are placed in one jar while a second jar is filled with gold leaf. His fascination with cartography was used symbolically here to delineate the eternal myth of the ‘gold rush’ to the West. The scenario is relocated to the plight of South Asian migrants in their search for ‘a place in the sun’, under the wettest skies of Europe. The title of the work, West is West, captures the irony of the situation: We must see that the miniature is related to today as it was in any other time. It is directly related to the environment that envelops us. The enamel glossy dots of transfer letters on my very matt, water-based imagery, produces my line of travel during a three-month stay in the U.K.

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

41

Qureshi’s attitude to current miniature-painting is pragmatic: his discourse is never rhetorical or theoretical, but is centred fairly and squarely on the actuality of performance. Because of his reflexive modesty and his openness to others, he communicates with ease and is highly respected as a teacher, both in Pakistan and in his workshops abroad. In the words of a note written by a final-year undergraduate at Liverpool university who had attended his workshop: There is a lot of emphasis in our culture on the immediacy, quantity and novelty of the image. Imran’s method of working, the contemplation demanded by the object and its authority in spite of its scale, shows us an alternative to this. (Reid 2001) Qureshi’s 2002 works, when he had returned to Pakistan, resumed the theme of cartography. This became the prime vehicle for works reacting to the abuse of power by those involved in political war games – ‘the way they’re handling the world’ is how Qureshi describes his references to the American invasion of Afghanistan and to the Bush rhetoric on the ‘axis of evil’ after 9/11.39 His own paintings were like mappings of virtual campaigns. His dots and targets refer to two kinds of mapping: civilian, after his discovery of street maps in the West, and military, relating to global warfare. They also refer to the dots in Urdu scripts as well to those in digital imagery. Cartography, inspired by military topography, was the original vehicle for the early Chinese scroll paintings of landscapes. The combination in these works of couture and camouflage weaves a tapestry of sombre satire. Pages from old tailoring manuals serve as grounds for his portraits of missiles, scattered dots chart out coded terrains, such as in Spots, 2001. In Game of Tenses (2002, Plate 4) a missile reveals itself as illustration to an English-Urdu grammar exercise on the verb ‘play’, leading to a cogent reference to US/Iraqi tension. Perhaps one of his most disturbing images is God of Small Things (2002): squatting on a background of paper patterns is a camouflaged sewing machine, its carnival costume promising a ritual of inversion whereby the domestic mimics the military and provokes a spirit of revolt. Scissors appear in several works alongside photographs of a mullah’s beard. In other

42

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

paintings they slice through circular discs of massed blue leaves: a key symbol in Qureshi’s work which comes from the rounded trees of Basohli painting. Such images of fertility and plenitude are threatened with castration by the hovering scissors: the velvety leaves, trapped by blood-stained metal, spell out sexual abuse. In Take It or Leave It (2002), loosely painted boxes or cubes are decorated with patterns of camouflage, evoking the ‘mechanical parcels’ dropped onto Afghani villages by the US military. Qureshi’s animated brushwork transforms such poisoned gifts into fun-fair cardboard cut-outs. Various textures and levels recall the medieval technique of palimpsest, where text is erased and re-inscribed. Reshape (2005, Plate 5) mixes his familiar iconography of aerial military maps with the traces of the very first drawing-exercises in his miniature apprenticeship. Targets and dots infiltrate the neat boxes of parallel lines, which seem to be wavering under fusillades of gunfire. Patches of camouflage cloth melt down into fragments of Qureshi’s familiar signature: the Basohli leaf pattern. The surface becomes a screen for digital cluster-bombing, where squares mark designated target areas. Such a turbulent sign language recalls the frenzied abstract-expressionist gestures of de Kooning, but whereas those were floating signifiers, Qureshi’s signs zero in on focus. Ever since his first paint installation at the Khoj workshop in 2001, Qureshi has used the Basohli leaf pattern, on various surfaces, either to accentuate a specific architectural detail or to signal a particular problem (such as the plumbing inside a mosque!).40 Over the last few years his ambitious site-specific installations have transformed miniature painting into a new form of fresco, particularly in his series Time Changes for the ‘Living Traditions’ exhibition at Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul in 2008 (Plate 6). His parodies of Pakistani military hegemony, especially its ‘missile’ diplomacy, show the extent to which 45 years of military dictatorship have left their mark on Qureshi’s miniatures. Freeing his line from the orthodox lead has become a metaphor of hope for an opening-up to democracy. Having reached a stage where he has mastered the medium, Qureshi can now let go – not unlike Zen archery, where the aim is to have no aim.

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

43

CAMEO 2 Aisha Khalid In their absolute commitment to art and life, where love and marriage really do seem to go together like a horse and carriage, Qureshi’s partner in the minimalist house and studio they have built together is the celebrated miniature painter, Aisha Khalid. Khalid’s modest family background has contributed to her sensitive reflections on the condition of women in Pakistani society. Domesticity is treated paradoxically in her work, at once a source of genuine pleasure,41 and a symbol of closure behind the curtains of purdah. As a consequence, her work thrives on pattern, culturally embedded within the everyday code of Islamic iconography: ‘Never show the face – the angels will stay away’.42 Khalid has been very affected by the sufferings of women friends and distant family members. It was the story of a cousin’s suicide from depression at being childless and facing the constant family pressures towards maternity which ignited Khalid’s determination to treat the subjection of women in Pakistani society. A dual sense of oppression and subversion is distilled by her intensely exquisite ornamentation. Each setting of Khalid’s precious scenes conveys the claustrophobia of interior space through the tightness of its structure, as described by one critic: ‘. . . the picture plane undulates echoing Escher and Mughal manuscripts simultaneously. Within it, a hidden female form is submerged wearing a burqa, becoming part of the fabric itself, enveloped and suffocated’ (Hashmi 2003). Khalid’s play with pattern illustrates how the common Islamic motif of abstract formal repetition may serve to reassure, through recycling the familiar.43 The metaphorical alliance of pattern with camouflage hints at the hypocrisy underlining an orthodox use of repetition legitimised by a popular concept of tradition. Repetition through pattern as a screening of the ‘real’44 is a theme addressed by other Pakistani women artists. The idea of surveillance by other women is an important factor in Khalid’s narration. She uses the disturbing image of the single eye to suggest such controlling behaviour, either as an icon floating across the burqa as in Silence with Pattern (2000, Plate 7) and across the curtain in Amsterdam 111 (2002), or

44

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

as the invisible eye behind the mask in Truth (2006). Inevitably the male gaze also articulates gender relations in Pakistan, yet the interchange between women becomes more pronounced by virtue of their spatial intimacy: a consequence of the former Purdah.45 This burden may be lighter nowadays, but it still stigmatises any kind of pre-marital intimacy (Haeri 2002; Weiss 1992; 1994). In many of her paintings, women become invisible through the mutation of the burqa into the surrounding chadi wari (‘four walls’, a common title for her works), as in Form and Pattern (2000, Plate 8). The women are doubly contained, by the burqa and by the walls. Their bodies, and their eyes, are still and invisible, as in Exotic Bodies 111 (2002). The only potential movement lies in their own gaze from behind the latticed veils. The visible eyes are those swarming across their bodies, punctuating the patterned cloth with sentinel peep-holes. Such a militant aspect was later emphasised in her series of women wearing a burqa of camouflage cloth, as in Covered/Uncovered 111 (2002, Plate 9). This was first made during the workshop Darmiyan that Khalid and Qureshi set up with other artists in Lahore to share their responses to the aftermath of 9/11. The boldness of her pastiche was two-fold, she questioned the Western media’s focus on the burqa as a stereotypical agent of Muslim women’s oppression, as well as the state’s assumption that military intervention was a solution. The fusion of camouflage material and the traditional burqa neatly serves as a sartorial metaphor for gendered dissimulation, hinting at how the very symbols of power and purdah both function by masquerade, by disguising form to deny content.46 Khalid extended her satire by embroidering roses onto frames of camouflage material, which became a wall installation. This was taken even further by a video piece entitled ‘Conversation’ (2002, Plate 10) in which each of two screens shows a pair of hands. On the left, the hands slowly embroider a red rose onto a circular frame; the rhythm is gentle and methodical. On the right, the hands are slowly unpicking the very same rose, methodically yet tensely. The soundtrack is of the cotton thread being sewn in, and then the grating sound of it being brusquely torn out. The hands embroidering the rose are rounded and brown, while

SOCIAL INTRODUCTION , POLITICAL :AND MINIATURE HISTORICAL MANOEUVRES FORMATIONS

45

those undoing the stitching are angular and pink: a visual parable of post-colonial power relations which, Khalid feels, permeate relations between Eastern and Western cultures. As I accompanied her on her path from Lahore to Bombay, to London and to Amsterdam,47 she recounted her initial reactions to Western society. Even in Amsterdam, supposedly a ‘multicultural’ city, she had been made to feel uncomfortable simply by not drinking alcohol. Her first weeks there were very difficult, both socially and in the studios. In her work, this was clearly related to her choice of continuing to make miniatures:48 her teachers suggested that she gave up this ‘traditional’ work in order to be experimental, or, as she put it roguishly, ‘to follow the traditional brief of the school!’ In reaction to this Khalid produced an actual book of miniatures, Birth of Venus (2001), a return to origins never ventured upon before, or indeed since, by any other miniature artist. The absurd irony of the situation was revealed when, after a year of pursuing her ‘traditional’ production, she suddenly shifted to video for the piece described above, which was then not only criticised but almost censored by the very same tutors: they saw it as being too tough (or perhaps too literally ‘hands-on’, since one suggestion was to have the hands simply pushing the circular frame aside rather than unpicking the embroidery). Khalid’s other object of critical attention was the Western ‘myth’, as she calls it, of ‘women’s liberation’. The plethora of sexist advertisements plus the spectacle of the ‘red light’ district led her to conclude that feminism had not really changed the phallocentric perspective of Western gaze in the ways she had heard about. This observation sparked off her series on comparing the conditions of women in East and West by way of symbolic flower imagery. Contrasts were set up between the lotus and the tulip; the way the latter was being recoloured fascinated her. This related to her story of buying a bouquet of bright blue tulips with which to greet her husband, Imran Qureshi, on his arrival from Pakistan. Khalid’s comments on the cosmetic interference likened it to that practised on the body of women in the advertisements: ‘. . . whereby the event becomes a plastic imitation of itself’.

46

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

The concept of simulation has motivated recent pieces in which Khalid’s nimble play with geometric chevrons has moulded ambiguous forms. Their fusion of cosmic yantras and op-art zigzags manifests an energy which evokes both agony and ecstasy, as in Kiss (2008, Plate 11). Khalid has continued over the last few years to make extraordinary new work, using the miniature technique on an expanded scale to create wall paintings in situ, which share Qureshi’s aim of reconfiguring architectural space. Their collaborative installations in the Queen’s Palace in Kabul are particularly outstanding.49 Khalid’s spectacular and painterly use of a high window as the source of invading cluster bombs suggests an allegorical take on Western art history and militancy (Plate 12). The duo are the only two miniature artists to be exhibited in a major Western gallery which is not ‘ethnic-specific’ (see Chapter 6). Their particular achievement is to function successfully within a globalised market, whilst committed to living a family life with their children in Lahore. I would nominate them king and queen of the miniature scene!

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

47

2 MINIATURE PRACTICE

As stated in the Introduction, the tension between the two groups X and O will be presented here as a microcosmic performance against a back drop of macrocosmic pressures, colonial and post-colonial. The aim is to raise a more concrete awareness of the interface between localised conflicts and global politics. Such an undertaking recalls another performative analogy, one with the Brechtian theory of ‘distanciation’: ‘a means by which an effect of estrangement could be got’ (Willett 1960:179). The aim of a dialectical relationship between the actor and the role forced a shift from the particular to the ‘epic’, in order to make the familiar strange and so enable the actor and the spectator to read a situation more critically; the disrupting of assumptions permitted a clearer vision of the terrain.1 From my observations, I sensed there was a self-consciousness in Group X’s performance which empowered their critical sense (Fabian 1990). The ideological underpinnings of the two strategies will be sketched out through description of each group’s ritualised internal rapport. I hasten to add that the image of ‘gang fever’ is intentionally inflated. Although my fieldwork shows some evidence of antagonisms, the only real bloodshed lies in those of their images inspired by gory Mughal heroics.2 The first impression given by most of the artists in both groups is one of a pensive gentleness possibly reflecting the sensibility required for the practice. Pensive in manner yet expansive in vision, their former teacher, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq, was the artist whose

48

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

experimental approach has sparked off the re-invention of miniature painting over the last 15 years. This has developed through the practice and teachings of his followers, namely Imran Qureshi, Aisha Khalid, Nusra Latif-Qureshi, Saira Wasim,Talha Rathore, Hasnat Mehmood, Reeta Saeed, Risham Syed, Masooma Syed, Usman Saeed, Hamra Abbas, Waseem Ahmed, Khadim Ali, Ahsan Jamal, Mahreen Zuberi, Mahwish Chishty, Muhammed Zeeshan, Ayesha Durrani, Maryam Irfan Ullah Khan, Farheen Maqsood and Habiba Khan; these are the young painters who make up what I have called Group X.

The miniature department The monumental edifices containing the adjoining Mayo Art School and Lahore Museum were both constructed in Indo-Saracenic style, a favoured mode of colonial Victorian Gothic.3 Today the NCA has scarcely changed: its façade of red brick, its turreted crenellations, the giant chimneys and ogive arches in the courtyard, have hybrid echoes, shared with Oxbridge, of Bombay railway station (itself born of St Pancras). More is definitely more – no touch of moderation mars its ornamental pomp. The decor is designed to impress an attitude of obeisance on all who enter. The original studios were fabulous, orientalist dream-worlds: vast spaces with high ceilings and ideal day-lighting: these have been preserved as the College Art Gallery. At a curious remove from this suitably historical decor, the miniature department is now situated in a former sculpture studio, in a new wing. With the pressure of numbers and new disciplines like multimedia, alterations have reduced spaces and required neon lighting. Aspects of a traditional karkhana (workshop) have been reproduced (Fig. 15), where the participants in the practice are seated on the floor under the surveillance and supervision of the ‘stern Mughal master’ (Goswamy 2005:7). Although this space is large and airy, it in no way reflects the gigantic scale of the Mughal enterprise, where workshops ‘grew from approximately thirty painters at the time of the colossal Hamzanama project of circa 1557–72 to about 130 artists by the mid 1590s’ (Seyller 1999:20). The space however is structured hierarchically, with the ustad (Bashir Ahmed) at the top, both administratively

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

Fig. 15. NCA miniature department

49

50

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

and literally, on his mezzanine.4 Here he eats, sleeps and holds court with endless visitors, over cups of chai served by the scurrying chaiwallahs from the canteen, who also serve the students their coca-cola.5 Below the master’s mezzanine, students and teachers sit cross-legged on cushions and carpets on the floor, with a wooden board placed behind at an angle of 60 degrees to support the back against the wall; a drawing board supports the hand-made wasli in the lap, and brushes and water paints are mixed in sea-shells with hand-made brushes, all neatly laid out to one side (Fig. 16).6 The regular day of study starts at 8.30am, ending at 3pm in the summer months, when students disperse on account of the heat, but extending to about 6pm during the cooler days from November to February. During the early stages of study, exercises are highly disciplined, as described below. It is worth noting the contrast of intentions between the original and the current workshops. Where the Mughal ustad would be supervising already-trained artists on a project to design (draw) the illustration of a specific text or for a special album, and where colour application was the job of the ‘less accomplished or more junior members of the atelier’ (Seyller 1999:21), the present-day master sees his task as one of training students in the technique of miniature painting, as passed down to him by his own ustad. Compared with the fine-art studios, where the competing rhythms of bangra rap and quawali songs resonate from huge ghetto-blasters, here all is muted concentration. The students sway their torsos gently in response to individual earphones (often masking similar sounds), and from time to time will lean over to examine a neighbour’s work and to give advice.7 The atmosphere evokes that of a nineteenth-century workshop re-enacted by twentyfirst-century teenagers for a folk festival, and all is sweetness and light until the noisy breaks, when the students join others to chatter away in the canteen courtyard. Incidentally, this chaotic canteen, packed with ramshackle tables and with flies pestering the platefuls of spicy Punjabi cuisine, is decorated with glossy murals of coca-cola adverts. These were being carefully ‘re-calligraphed’ one day by a small team of elderly men using fine brushes, the paradox of this performance going unnoticed by the students (Fig. 17). They laughed as I photographed the wall-painters, who were also laughing, probably glad to

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

Fig. 16. Miniature making and tools

Fig. 17. NCA canteen

51

52

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

have found some work, since calligraphy is being rapidly displaced by photo-shop technology. The canteen is indeed a performance site for very clear class differences, enacted through the rapports between the mostly middle-class students and the canteen workers. I often spent time talking to the students here and witnessed their range of diverse attitudes towards the canteen workers, chaiwallahs and chowkidars, from offhand to over-familiar. In return, these workers seemed to regard the students’ behaviour with bemused resignation. Whether this veiled a subaltern consciousness of power politics was difficult to estimate. One teacher hinted that I should beware of employees who wore a beard but no moustache, as this was a sure sign of ‘fundoo’ sympathies’; I counted several librarians with such a goatee, but rising paranoia was calmed by remembering that it adorned the chin of one of my sons as a sign of the transnational ‘rapper’ mode. The studio ambiance of gaiety noticeably darkens towards jury time. Sheer enjoyment turns to concentrated angst as the students work on their final ‘thesis’ piece. In preparation for the diploma show, the students create separate shelters, as if preparing for a nativity. Spaces are separated by curtains and stylised with personal objects. This rite of passage accompanies the last stages of intense production, which sometimes obliges them to work all night. They literally fall asleep working in a squatting position and then roll over onto cushions. The final month sees them all in residence round the clock. On several occasions I went to witness this curious hive of nocturnal activity around midnight, since they all claim their best time for concentration to be between that hour and 6am. This was when the grandiose colonial edifice seemed transformed into an exotic night-club, the bangra-rap blasting out to the grinning approval of the chowkidars. On return in the morning I would find the space returned to its normal hush, with the students curled up in their sleeping bags until midday.

Teachers and training Training is based on the traditional ustad-shaghird (master-disciple) relationship, as far as that is possible within a Westernised academy. The actual studio at the NCA is structured around a hierarchy in

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

53

Fig. 18. Zahoor-ul Akhlaq

which the main teacher plays the role of ustad, and delegates younger teachers, all his former students, to take certain classes. Current miniature-teaching in the school thus celebrates the two ustads: first, Haji Mohammed Sharif, the artist referred to above, who traced his descent from a prominent family of Muslim miniaturists in Patiala. He taught at the Mayo School of Art (MSA) from 1944 until after its nationalisation as the NCA in 1958 (only 21 students passed through the miniature studio, edged out by the modernist mood).8 Second, Sharif’s disciple, ustad Sheikh Shujaullah, carried on teaching ‘the old style of Indian miniature painting’ (a phrase from the original job description by the MSA) from the 1960s into the 1970s. Under these two ustads, poorly paid and without a patron, the Mughal style served as a basis for copying and reproducing miniatures within the marginalised department.

Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq The first seeds of subversion in miniature practice were sown in the 1970s by the artist and teacher Zahoor-ul Akhlaq, (Fig. 18) on his

54

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

return from studying at the Royal College of Art in London. He had been inspired by the quality of miniatures observed on his regular visits to the outstanding collection at the V&A Museum, formerly the South Kensington Design School for colonialist art educators. Zahoor (as he was known to everyone) had been a student in the first intake, in 1958, to the NCA as a National College, under Shakir Ali. The visual arts had already been integrated with a professional design-oriented pedagogy under Sponnenberg’s influence from his Bauhaus training. The artist Naazish Ata-Ullah, a close friend of Zahoor’s, recounts the contrasts at this time in the teaching in the Fine Art department, between Shakir Ali (1916–75), considered by his contemporaries as the founder of the Pakistani modern-art movement, and Haji Sharif (1889–1978), the Mughal miniature painter: Shakir’s modernism was in direct contrast to the traditionalist, copyist mode of Haji Sharif. Through the fifties Shakir’s early cubist paintings evolved into the use of a new contemporary language which explored indigenous themes. Meanwhile the traditional techniques of miniature painting were practised and taught as a minor subject at the N.C.A. by Sharif. On his retirement in 1968, Sheikh Shujaullah, also from alineage of traditional miniature painters, took over the teaching at the Department in a similar mode. (Ata-Ullah 2004:60) Zahoor was a keen modernist, but like any South Asian artist conscious of the post-colonial predicament, he sought ways in which to localise his modernism. As a young boy, he had learned calligraphy from Yousaf Dehlvi, working on a takhti (tablet).9 This led him to experiment with ‘calligraphic rhythms’, his description of the linear forms he used in his painting between 1958 and 1962. In the late 1960s, he went to study print-making in the UK at Hornsey College of Art, followed by postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art. His use of line was enriched both by the medium of etching and by the revelations of the miniatures in the V&A. At the time of Zahoor’s return, Pakistan was living under the regime of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Regional and folk art, music and

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

55

literature were officially patronised. Attempts were made to create a new cultural programme under the direction of the poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911–84),it was still incomplete when Bhutto was assassinated. Reports vary as to what had been intended for the revitalisation of miniature painting: it was officially promoted, in a restricted but symbolic sense, as an ideal gift for foreign visitors, employing a rhetoric which emphasised its courtly origins.10 At the same time a wave of popular ‘vulgarisation’ recycled familiar Mughal miniature themes: ‘Images taken from the Mughal School were abundant on gift items everywhere, saturating the tourist market’ (Sikander 2001). Ironically, the salvage strategies of the commercial market during Bhutto’s regime intrigued Zahoor as much as the refined techniques of the V&A miniatures. Bemused by the current commodification, Zahoor’s fusion of formal elements from hybrid sources was deliberately transparent. His idea was to encourage students to look at miniatures as a potential source of inspiration for their own painting, as indeed he did in his own practice.11 His production was impressive and extraordinarily diverse: His work ranged from ‘ready-mades’ to commissioned large scale sculptures; from painting on paper, board, wood and canvas to designs and logos. Years of study into Islamic visual geometry were embodied in his work . . . recurrent themes of the nuclear holocaust, miniature painting iconography, still life, archetypal female forms and suggestive landscapes permeated his work. (Ata-Ullah 2004:60) I had met Zahoor while he was studying in London – a reserved and concentrated student, who kept his head down in the print studio at Hornsey College of Art, where we were both students.12 The fascination for mixed media in the 1960s art schools was reflected in a motley range of practices: live and video performance, rock and punk music groups, collective events, earthworks, installations, conceptual semantics, minimalist painting and sculpture were all united in their conflict with authoritarian structures. The alternative movements that evolved from the diverse protests across the world in 1968 also

56

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

form part of Zahoor’s story, as the swing was clearly shifting away from abstract formalism and back towards an art linked in various forms to the social context.13 This determined informality certainly provided Zahoor with a framework in which to rethink the making of miniatures. Combined with his discovery of the inventive force in the miniatures he saw in the V&A, Zahoor proposed a fresh vocabulary for the practice by juxtaposing material from his own cultural history with contemporary innovations gleaned from the West: He was always curious, and had a very special yet objective relationship to the miniature tradition. His own paintings remained fairly minimal and he was very aware of Western painting in the 60s. Yet he brought the miniature into the school curriculum because of his serious intellectual commitment to the subject. (Sikander 2001:69) Whereas the traditional method, which by then informed the developing curio market, functioned on faithful copying of the ‘authentic’ original, Zahoor’s method was to advocate using photocopies with the deliberate intention of disturbing any such precocity. Inspired by Dada and Pop art, the painting department at the NCA under Zahoor’s direction in the 1980s entered an experimental period. His own observation of miniatures led others to look at them in a new way, in order to spot the ‘accidents and incomplete areas, the looseness of paint application, the use of collage, the play with the margins’ (Mirza 2000). At the time, there appears to have been no militancy in his deconstructive tactics, simply a parody of academic principles, both Eastern and Western: His postmodern aesthetic investigated the form and structure of the two-dimensionality in miniature painting through his own work. He believed in the possibility of allowing the viewer to read a painting in many ways and at many levels, but the underlying concern with miniature painting was at the core of his image making. (Ata-Ullah 2004:60)

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

57

His idea was to make miniature painting alive through absorption into painting of the present day, not to preserve it in any pastoral sense. During his lifetime, first as professor and later as head of the Fine Art department, his approach was welcomed with enthusiasm by the majority of his colleagues at the NCA, who were similarly involved with the modernist predicament. By those who rejected this as yet another infection floated by the decadent West, he was attacked at a personal level, being declared ‘brainwashed’ by one critic, a Dr Naqvi, in a1997 article.14 Zahoor’s influence resonated on to the next generation of miniature artists, including all those involved in Group X and particularly those who had been directly taught by him, such as Qureshi and Sikander: ‘Zahoor played a critical role in a conceptual dialogue with the miniature tradition and my interest grew through watching him do the opposite of what I was pursuing – he was deconstructing miniatures in relation to larger-size painting’ (Sikander 2001). All his former students speak about him with an admiration bordering on hero-worship. He evidently had charisma and warmth, combining sociability with pedagogy in a manner which recalls Victor Turner’s concept of communitas. On my return to Pakistan in 1999, and meeting Zahoor again for the first time in 35 years, I fully realised the degree of his passion and importance, artistically and politically. He had lost his reserve and was full of stories, while his international career had led to him becoming the most polemical artist in Pakistan. Tragically, we were never to prolong our conversation, since a month later he was assassinated, together with his daughter. He has now become a martyr and his life a legend.15 In the 1980s Zahoor encouraged one of his brightest students, who had studied miniature painting as an apprentice, to start up a specialised department. Zahoor proposed that miniature painting and print-making be offered as major areas of specialisation, along with painting and sculpture, and encouraged maximum interaction between the departments in order to complement the experimental mode with the rigour of traditional practice. The complexity involved putting theory into practice, both at the intellectual and practical

58

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

levels. The student whom he chose to do all this was Bashir Ahmed; however, Bashir had very different ideas.

The present ustad: Bashir Ahmed Ahmed was a disciple of Ustad Sheikh Shujaullah, who himself had been taught by Ustad Haji Mohammed Sharif. Thus the chain from the post-colonial education linked straight back through Patiala to the Mughal karkhanas of Lahore. Ustad Sheikh Shujaullah’s image as a severe disciplinarian comes about through descriptions of Bashir’s rituals as his disciple: duties involved filling his hookah, replenishing his pan leaves and rinsing his feet. Bashir’s clear aim from the start has been to maintain the patriarchal system of the workshop. His strong belief is that the survival of the miniature depends upon its remaining within the strict bounds of tradition, as already stated; he describes the practice as ‘. . . this endangered Islamic tradition of miniature art’ (Ahmed 2000). From his early days of commitment to this ideal, he set out to site miniature practice in an autonomous department, and in 1985 it was classified as a major rather than as a minor subject. ‘Bashir Sahib’, as he is known, has developed a mixed reputation amongst students and artists. He is genuinely respected for his teaching of the technique, seen as the key factor in rooting the practice to a traditional method based on Persian origins. At the same time, it is this very obsession with maintaining the myth of the ustad which limits his tolerance of experimentation and sets up a tension with any alternative practices: ‘Ahmed’s commitment to the field is one of sheer dedication. His approach is conventionally more fundamentalist’ (Ata-Ullah 2004:60). A small wiry man in his late fifties, Bashir Sahib protects his domain with defensive energy. With those students (and teachers) who follow his orthodox path of treatment and content, as well as subordination of behaviour to the master, he is patronising but charming. With those whose content or style obviously challenges the stereotype, he is brusque and dismissive. For example, one bright student, now a successful artist, failed to get the distinction he deserved because he had drilled holes into the wasli and used a

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

59

rapido pen instead of the traditional brush. In an interview with Homi Bhabha, Shahzia Sikander even described Bashir’s behaviour as ‘tyrannical’. Those who are deferential – including those in Group O – demonstrate their respect in the hushed tones of the newly converted: I chose to do miniatures only if Bashir Sahib was my teacher, he is the master, we see him as our ustad (F.H. 2002). We have done no history of miniatures because Bashir Sahib gives us all the information we need: how the Mughals started, the different schools, how to tell the difference between originals and copies, he shows us how some artists cheat, there is even cheating in certain images in the books (M.H. 2002). We are lucky to be taught the traditional way, he trains us all the time. He is responsible so we can always ask him and that matters a lot. We never feel insecure, we are never disrupted, all thanks to him. He clarifies our mind as to whether a miniature is real or not (S.N. 2002). Thus the Group O female students, well in the majority by eight to ten, appear to be treated with paternal seduction, almost as if he is wooing them into total commitment. This is enacted out bodily in the ritual disposition of the favourites working on the mezzanine around Bashir’s divan, whence his gaze surveys the girls’ progress, while he remains awake, and their gaze adores him with filial devotion while he sleeps.16 Throughout my time in and out of the studio, I was quizzed regularly as to my intentions in studying miniature when I was supposed to be teaching Western art history and theory. I realised that having been accepted as a pupil by Qureshi was problematic. On several occasions Bashir refused to converse with me, saying I was an ignorant Westerner out to perpetrate stereotypical untruths about miniature painting. It was only when I agreed with him that he eventually agreed to talk about his past experience . . . and we had

60

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

one strained interview in 2002. In response to my questions on the origins of the department, he replied: ‘I made this thing. I started it in 1976 and have spent 27 years sitting here . . . people come with no knowledge . . . I am the authority . . . Now it’s become an intensive course, but you have to fit it in with the rest. If outside in a workshop, you don’t need the bullshit of the rest of an academy, like art history or drawing: Michelangelo and Leonardo didn’t need degrees . . . They should just sit here and get on with it. I need teachers who go through the proper channel of apprenticeship. I studied eight years with Shujaullah – he was a court painter who went to work in Alwar state. I tell them to work under guidance, and then to sell their paintings . . . they want to grab, but the only way is to work hard. I did this because I wanted to, nobody forced me; it was not because of celebrity or fashion, but now it’s a fashion. If they continue that’s their problem, I’m only concerned with the academic system; they must work hard here but after that I never discuss with them . . . if they want to continue what can I do?’ Thus arose and developed the split between the two central discourses around reviving miniature painting: one inspired by Zahoor’s belief in diffusing its methods into painting, and the other based on Bashir’s determination to keep it autonomous. The most interesting production is developing in an area in between the two extremes. ‘The diversity of approaches within the department however is also its strength’ (Ata-Ullah 2004:60). The department’s present state of flux may well have motivated the explosion of energy seen in the extreme diversity of recent miniature production. Out of the tension between proponents of the two discourses comes an unpredictable force, which manifests itself in the extreme positions adopted around the representation of cultural identity in art. Where the argument defending Group O attaches itself with ease to a nationalist position, centred around religion and the Mughal heritage, that of Group X is more focused on the dilemma of cultural aesthetics in a post-colonial context, which values both traditional and modernist influences.

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

61

Their differences are visible predominantly in the subject matter, and this is strongly related to gendered attitudes.

Training By all official accounts, the early stages of the ‘revivalism’ were based on the traditional workshop method (in the few workshops remaining) and proceeded throughout the 1960s in a manner which appears to have been sustained without question.17 The fundamental difference between current learning and that of a traditional workshop, however, lies in the fact that today’s students only specialise fully in their final two years. Previous to this they have spent two years in the Westernised academic training of the fine-art department, during which the art history taught is predominantly Western, along with some study of the Indus Valley culture. In total, the actual miniature training for those who select it as a major amounts to some 46 weeks: the equivalent of only one year’s solid teaching. Technique is presented by the present ustad, Bashir Ahmed, as ‘the driving force’, and all students interviewed agree that in terms of basic training this is imparted very thoroughly through a rigorous curriculum, since only through hours, days and months of regular concentration is a ‘good’ level of practice supposedly achieved.18 It is interesting at this point to signal a comment on training made by Homi Bhabha in an early interview with Shahzia Sikander, the first miniature painter who exhibited successfully in the West: Usually, when people look at a work that comes from other cultural or historic contexts, or work by diasporic or migrant artists, there is an attempt to see cultural differences in the image or in a style, at some mimetic level of the work. What I find interesting is something else, which is that cultural difference is not merely for the eye; it is in the way one is trained – it is what art school means “there” as opposed to “here”. What distinguishes culturally different kinds of work seems not merely to be the making of one image different from another, but the whole training that happens before paint touches paper. (1999:147)

62

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Bhabha’s statement implies that there are important cultural differences in art training, but whether this is the case in postcolonial institutions is debatable. The constant contradictions between my prior knowledge of post-colonial art education and the actuality of its practice in Lahore lead me to doubt the notions of: ‘. . . positivity of custom, control and conformity’ (Fabian 1991:193).

Image and text The main task for court painters was to create visual documentation of album texts which described historic events. They were also under commission to provide illustrations for poetic and legendary tales, for myths, fables and romances of Indian and Persian origin. Another duty, which expanded with the Mughal aggrandisement, was that of portraiture, chiefly of emperors but also of court dignitaries. The verbal accounts were dense and inspired elaborately detailed graphics, which in turn became increasingly expressive. Hence the image advised in the NCA’s teaching of beginners is a portrait of a Mughal emperor. Whether the basic exercise was based on traditional teaching or for ‘revivalist’ reasons relating to the ‘suitably’ glorious subject matter, was never very clear in my training experience. Later, the student is given the choice of different schools of painting from which to copy. Most begin with Persian, mainly because of its historical primacy, but also on account of its impression of a flowing, expressive imagery, perhaps perceived as easier to begin with (an illusion in my experience). The selected image is then copied. Most copying is done solely by eye, something which a Western training, keen on measuring, does not really provide for, so my application of a grid to the reproduction was greeted with much mirth. The framing of the image is crucial, not the outside frame, which was a Western addition,19 but the framing within: ‘The image was housed in a definite “hashiya”/margin which served as a device for simultaneous closure and opening’ (Sheikh 1997:22). Often this borderland provided space for odd sketches or ‘solitary savourings’ (ibid);

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

63

somewhat like the marginal jottings in an ethnographic notebook, they inspire much of the metaphorical transgressions in the new work.20 Traditional practice had the page lay-out prepared for the calligrapher’s text,21 and space for the image and for the important margin. (The contemporary miniature’s neglect of text, apart from pieces by Imran Qureshi, Hamra Abbas and recently by Aisha Abid Hussain is curious.) In copying, each stage of the image, starting with the background and gradually working in the details, leaving chihranami (facial expression) to the last, still follows the traditional method.

Drawing exercises Draughtmanship is the essence of miniature painting, so drawing exercises are the primary stage. The first stages are structured around a drawing practice unlike anything I have witnessed in the West: the student must spend all day and every day for some two to three weeks simply drawing parallel lines, horizontally, vertically and diagonally, in boxes of one inch square. The aim is to arrive at perfectly parallel and virtually invisible lines as if traced by a spider. Lightness is all in the accompanying exercise of spiral forms, recalling the scroll-like clusters of Mongolian-style clouds in Persian miniatures. Another theme for repetition is the lotus-shaped flower form in order to achieve a flowing curved line. Many other drawing trials are undertaken with a very hard pencil, whose lead point, three to four inches long, must be kept razor sharp. Only after passing these tests can one proceed to the second stage: learning to use the brush. Meanwhile the student learns how to make the paper support, or wasli. This word is derived from the Persian word for union, vasl.22

Wasli preparation The process of preparing the wasli is a very lengthy and elaborate lengthy. It involves gently cooking layee, a kind of soup of starch-based glue, to which is added a drop of copper sulphate, as an insecticide to protect the paper. Ready-made glue is of no use, as it dries the paper

64

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

too quickly. Having reached a porridge-like state, the mix is slowly poured onto sheets of rough paper or newsprint. One by one, each sheet is covered with the paste and is then overlaid by the next sheet, up to four layers are used, each pressed down with a cross sweep of the fore-arm so as to expel air bubbles. Smoothly pasted together, the four layers become a solid card which permits the application of layers of water-based paint without warping. The process takes about three days to dry out before the card is rubbed rhythmically with a conch shell to achieve a burnished surface, ‘smooth as a baby’s bottom’.

Copying Copying, as with many traditional art forms, is the basis of the learning process, which involves the meticulous copying of four schools of painting. Initially Persian, in homage to earlier Safavid sources, then Pahari and Rajput, acknowledging their links with Lahore, before the main Mughal school (Fig. 19). All students have to master these different styles and are restrained, from creating a compositional fusion before the final six months of the course. A copy of a Persian painting by a second-year student, Sarah Ali Khan (Fig. 20) demonstrates the dexterity taught through copying, about which many students waxed enthusiastic: ‘I really enjoyed all the copying in the first year, it’s an amazing sensation after you get over the fear of accidents, slowly you work more quickly and sometimes the eyes get better’ (S.R., 2002). As a consequence of the institution’s pride in its modernist art training, there were, and still are, signs of derision towards copying among Fine Art students. This can be seen in Sikander’s description of the reaction from fellow students and even certain faculty members to her decision to specialise in miniature painting: They said it would retard my creativity, that miniaturism was just rigorous copying . . . but it was the traditional that I wanted to revert back to and experiment with how both could co-exist . . . it was more about subverting modernism than being part of the modernist tradition . . . recognis[ing] the rebellious impulse within our use of tradition. (2001:66–72)

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

Fig. 19. Copying Practice

Her doubts raise interesting reflections on the act of copying: What are we referring to with the term ‘copy’? Is it understanding a process, is it understanding the lineage or history of the medium, or is it appropriation? At this level, working with

65

66

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Fig. 20. Copy by Sarah Ali Khan

miniature comes with a lot of responsibility . . . copying can also mean understanding history . . . my trip to India allowed me to claim works by Indian artists for myself. It was political. (ibid)

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

67

Here lies a crucial issue which recurred throughout discussion with the miniaturist artists: how to acknowledge the pre-Independence Indian sources of twentieth-century miniature painting. Where and what do the students copy? Zahoor copied from the originals in the V&A. As J.M. Rogers, curator at the British Museum and author of Mughal Painting solicitously points out: ‘London is a particularly good place to study Mughal paintings’ (1993:119). The lamentable fact is that Lahore is a particularly bad place to study Mughal painting. Since the dissolution of Lahore as the centre of patronage, most of the grand Imperial libraries were dispersed. Many of the finest paintings went with the ‘booty’ of the Afghani conqueror Nadir Shah and are still in Iran, many others went into the ‘collections’ of officials from the East India Company (Archer 1959:19–20), and ‘now ornament London collections, both public and private’ (Rogers 1993: 119). Precious little of the former collections remains in Lahore. In the adjoining Museum, much of the small collection is described as either ‘missing’ or ‘lent’ since the divisions of collections structured by the British at Partition, as recounted to me by the keeper Nusrat Ali: A lot of paintings went to Chandighar at Partition because the Hindus knew the right value of paintings, Muslims were too rigid to have paintings in their houses, but the Hindus were highly educated and so acquired works like the Britishers did. As did Gupta from Bengal, who was then Head of the Mayo School and so knew which were the better pieces, and the rest went with the British. There remain some good examples of the Pahari (Punjab Hills) Schools, a few exquisite Sikh works on ivory and the rare manuscript: Mirat-ul Quds (‘Mirror of Holiness’), all of which have been graced by a recent improvement in their presentation. The remaining works on show are often in poor condition, and although there are apparently more in the basement, the display is rarely changed. In 1997, a show was put on, suitably entitled The Traditional Succession: 50 Years of Miniature Painting, which concentrated on the ‘three great

68

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

masters’, teachers at NCA. In reply to my question about her reaction to the contemporary work, Nusrat Ali said: ‘The Mughals had their elephants, now we have our missiles, people prefer war movies, so why not put that subject into miniature painting?’ Yet the museum neither buys nor exhibits contemporary work. ‘This is the job of private galleries,’ stated Nusrat Ali with a throaty laugh. When the eminent art historian Robert Skelton, visiting from the V&A, lectured at the NCA, he managed to persuade the keeper to allow students in to see the reserve collection: a rare opportunity. The museum collection is in a dire state of preservation, which is already a shame for specialists but even more so for the local public, particularly the students of miniature painting.23 The sad fact is that the students rarely use the museum: ‘We went in the second year, but there’s no time in the fourth year – perhaps they change the works on show, but I felt I saw the same ones each time’ (M.H., 2002). Ustad Bashir Ahmed even said: ‘I don’t encourage the students to go, the process of practice is more important; lots of people criticise the museum – I don’t want to have anything to do with it.’ As a consequence of such attitudes, practitioners throughout the 1980s and 1990s performed the initial stages of copying by using black and white photocopies of colour reproductions from badly printed Western art-history books on Oriental art, published in Singapore or China. There are now exceptions since the printing of reproductions has been developed to a much higher quality. One source is Belgium, suggesting a poetic return to Flanders, the home of the first printed engravings brought to the Mughal court by the Jesuits. Thus instead of the museum, the students research in the library. Whereas Zahoor encouraged the students to look directly at miniatures and to observe their discrepancies as well as their prized characteristics, the current orthodoxy functions through the art of respectful reproduction, risking comparison with the curio market.

Pigments The traditional workshop method of using pigments to make colours is sadly dying out, due to prohibitive costs. Formerly, inorganic

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

69

pigments were made from semi-precious stones, either by grinding powder from stones such as lapis lazuli for blue or malachite for green, or from minerals such as vermilion and orpiment, or by heating white lead to make red lead, called minium. The word ‘miniature’ is said to be derived from miniare, Latin for ‘to colour with red’, since the adornment of books was originally executed in minium.24 ‘Almost orange in colour, it was so popular amongst Persian and Indian Mughal artists that their work became known as “miniatures”: the word is nothing to do with the size of their paintings’ (Finlay, 2001: 180).25 The ground powder was then ‘levigated’ in water to separate the particles, before being sifted and mixed with a little safaida (white pigment), to make an opaque colour base.26 Organic pigment originated in plants such as indigo for blue or saffron crocus for yellow; Indian Yellow (gogoli or piuri) was said to be made from the urine of cows fed on mango leaves.27 The extracts were then dried, powdered and also mixed with safaida. Such tales of alchemical recipes are now part of the exotic lore around miniature-making. At the NCA today, however, the water colours come in boxes supplied by Winsor and Newton, (Fig. 16), a piquant product of post-colonial globalisation. An added irony here is that the institution’s economic reasoning is not tested by accountability, since knowledge of natural pigments disappeared along with the loss of workshops in Pakistan. In India certain miniaturists still labour over making pigments, as will be shown in the section on workshops.28 The opacity of any pigment is increased by adding safaida, and then the pigment is bound with gum arabic, quadram. Mussel shells serve as palettes, following the traditional method of storing pigments.

Brush work Anecdotes abound of Bashir’s insistence on the ‘apparently traditional’ ritual surrounding the brush, as recounted by Sikander: ‘. . . and the instructor did play kind of mind games. To gauge his student’s seriousness and resilience, one of the first assignments was to catch baby squirrels for the making of the brushes’ (1999:148). The task

70

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

of plucking the finest hair from a dead baby squirrel’s tail has been recently refused by some brave-hearts who prefer to use the hair from (live) kitten’s tails . . . I chose not to ask where my brush hairs came from, but did learn how difficult it is to make the brush, by tying the right-sized hairs together with thread, sealing this with gum arabic and pressing it into a hollowed-out pigeon feather which, attached to a bamboo shoot, becomes the sheath for the qalam, brush/pen. After the first stage of the barely visible compositional drawing (tarh) has been completed, it is strengthened by the single-haired brushwork. The ultra-fine brush is carefully dipped into a dark pigment to go over the faint pencil drawing of the subject selected; this is named siyah qalam (‘black brush’). The very difficult task now is to manipulate the brush as if it were a pencil, since when the stage is reached of actually copying a miniature it should be done with the brush and never a pencil. This second stage lasts weeks, with simple black or brown water-colour, before even beginning to use other colours. A thin layer of safaida is often applied to the brush drawing to prepare the ground for an extra-rich colouring from the layers of paint to be applied. The flat groundwork is done with tepai brushes which layer the spaces as smoothly as possible before the final rendering technique, pardat, described below. The eventual colouring, rangamizi, is a process demanding extreme delicacy of touch, as the brush slowly raises the density of tone. Learning to apply colours is a very delicate process, building up layers ever so gradually, as if drawing with the paint. The art here is to arrive at controlling the balance of pigment and water on the brush so that lines are perfectly flowing and even. Colours are selected from the seashell, and then mixed in the minute cup made between the thumb and the forefinger of the clasped left (or right) hand. The intriguing marks in the margins of a miniature in process are traces of the artist’s preparation of the right amount of pigment on the brush. To keep the balanced flow of the line, thus avoiding blobs of pigment, is a skill requiring a corporeal, embodied knowledge, learned only through months of practice. When opaque colour is added to siyah qalam (black-brush monochrome) it becomes neem rang, halfcoloured. Finally comes the rendering technique: pardat or par dokht

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

71

(‘nourishing’), whereby strokes or dots in gouache colour are applied by ultra-fine work with the squirrel brush.29 This brings the painting up to its supreme level, ready for gudd rang, where the surface is made to shine like an enamelled jewel by being burnished on the reverse with a conch shell. ‘For me, it is sheer love of beauty to burnish an image until it smiles back’ (Hamra Abbas 2003).

Time and theory Time is a great source of anxiety, being the measure of the continuation of tradition. As recounted by Seyller, calligraphers as well as painters took days to complete small passages: ‘seventeen lines of Nizami’s Khamsa in a single day’ (2005:13). In spite of the innovations mentioned, the process is still labour-intensive and painstakingly slow, simply because so much patience is required for a medium which depends on an incisive touch. In the traditional workshops, apprentices used to spend at least eight years collaborating with others before being allowed to treat a figure individually: Mughal manuscript illumination was undertaken by teams of painters, divided into groups of two or three for each painting. The younger artists coloured in the designs made by the more senior ones, who then later completed the details of the faces. But the NCA operates in an academic context, a fact which constantly disconcerts efforts to mythologise not only the décor but the period and the time scale. Because of the time demanded by concentrating on technique, there appears to be comparatively little time left on the course for serious attention to theoretical notions. What is curious is that no ‘original’ text exists on miniature technique, since the tradition is oral.30 Since the majority of the students choose to adhere to the orthodox method, whereby experiment is discouraged, any theoretical reflection only takes place between those practitioners who question the notion of preserving a tradition in a fixed form. In other words it is those in Group X, especially those who have become teachers and who are trying to make changes in the system. In my discussions with the students and teachers, comments revealed an ongoing debate about the nature of change and continuity. Those wishing to preserve

72

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the tradition aligned as closely as possible with their image of the ‘authentic’ clearly accept the programme’s status quo; but others made observations pertinent to the thesis that a traditional art form can only continue by constant renewal from outside sources. This eternal debate will be examined in Chapter 3. The split between the approaches of Zahoor and Bashir, established at an early date, simply goes on widening.

Group X The artists listed at the beginning of this chapter have never decided to adopt any form of organised group, with a manifesto, as was the case with several avant-garde movements such as the Futurists or the Dadaists. However their communal spirit shares factors which combine to evoke an image of a ‘movement’, one gained through critical appraisal rather than through aspiration: Karkhana and the Fukuoka survey exhibition helped establish the idea of the contemporary miniature as a ‘movement’. Larry Rinder, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s contemporary curator, recognised this when he invited Imran Qureshi and Saira Wasim to participate in his landmark ‘The American Effect’ exhibition at the Whitney in New York in 2003. (Nasar 2009:50) The artists are all close friends, through their shared experience at the NCA and their solidarity with the vision of Zahoor, but the main factors which unite them emerge in their humour, reflexivity and critical awareness of the socio-political climate in Pakistan. Charting these characteristics discloses their interdependence which is hopefully revealed in the nine cameos which are interposed between the chapters. Nusra Latif-Qureshi is perhaps the most articulate artist in Group X: her thoughtful interrogation of post-colonialist discourse emerges clearly in her work. In response to my questions about her attitude towards tradition, she wrote this:

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

73

What matters is that some segments of the traditional practice have been revived, re-used and validated through practice. That this practice is happening in this particular time when it can be, and often is, contrasted with technology and modernity is of course important, but it is neither valid nor fair if one approaches it through positioning tradition as an equal to or substitute for ‘ritual’ and on top of that identifying tradition as the opposite of modernity. What is significant here is that there is a specific ideology and physicality of the practice which has resulted in many strong works of art that are as relevant and as valid as any ‘technological’ or ‘modern’ methods of expression. (2001) She added that she felt quite strongly that the contention set up in the miniature department between tradition and modernity had some devastating effects: ‘. . . many students stick more to “ritual” rather than to really exploring the sense of tradition. Perhaps this attitude becomes an excuse not to think.’ The spirit of Group X merges an avowed appreciation of traditional practice with a search for contemporary knowledge, intellectual and technical. Like the others, Saira Wasim is convinced that the impact of Western art and media is positive for the practice: If we are commenting [on] current events we have to use present-day imagery and new techniques, yet the practice is deeply rooted in a ritualistic grounding . . . the good thing is that we are learning from our history and stay connected with our roots, unlike the Americans who have no knowledge of their past! In her response to questions about ritual and tradition, Hamra Abbas stated vehemently: What I do in the name of contemporary miniature practice, I don’t think has much to do with tradition as everything on and around the wasli is globalised today. I’d rather call my practice ‘photo-realist images painted in the miniature technique’.

74

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

However, she admitted to being seduced by the ritual of their making: ‘It’s the technique that I just love and enjoy practising – it must be some magic or addiction, otherwise it would be nothing else but madness to try and reproduce the images as I do.’ The artists reveal a cynical understanding of symbolic posturing, through their play with the Mughal connection, as described in the cameos. Their commentaries show how strongly they refuse to play the ethnic roles cast for them by curators in the monopolistic, multicultural art world. The Western re-cycling of imperialist jingoism is parodied in several works focusing on colonial critique. Images from the Renaissance may be juxtaposed with those from Bollywood, revealing how bombastic allegories can be reduced to ridicule in the miniature scale. For example, in a 2004 piece entitled Battle (Plate 23) Wasim portrays George W. Bush, dressed as Uncle Sam and framed in the traditional jharoka (balcony seat) of a Mughal Emperor, surrounded by his retinue of the Saudi royal family: a parody of the power dynamics in contemporary politics. In Regime Change (2004) (Plate 22) Wasim replaces the fallen and blackened statue of Saddam Hussein with a white marble one of Bush dressed as Caesar. Colonial portraiture in South Asia is satirised, writes Anna Sloan, through a visual semiotics based on the allegorical: ‘. . . a semiotics of slippage . . . to address the constantly shifting nature of political identities’ (2004). The military issue pre-occupies miniaturists. Since Pakistan became the world’s seventh nuclear state in 1998, with its testing in response to India’s, this became the central theme of a series by Imran Qureshi (Cameo 1), and several works by Hasnat Mehmood satirise the jingoist panoplies of war (Cameo 9). An article published as a ‘Letter from New Delhi’ in the Karachi paper Dawn (22 December 2001) describes how India and Pakistan are ‘too close to confrontation for anyone’s comfort’. This was just after the December 2001 attack on Parliament House in Delhi, said to have been carried out by Islamic terrorists from Pakistan. Islamabad’s retort was that it had been ‘stage-managed’ by New Delhi, an accusation repeated after the Bombay attacks of 2008. This is exactly the sort of cowboy rhetoric which deserves the parodic treatment meted

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

75

out to both governments in the miniatures of Saira Wasim. Warmongering discourse on both sides has its roots in the irredentist argument, itself based on the question of izzat (‘honour’): ‘Despite the recent loss of face, India has to think afresh and use every means available to end the Pakistani terrorist threat while it still has freedom to act’ (Hindustani Times, 12 December 2002). Their joint anxiety over izzat and their identical threats of violent retaliation against any provocation harness the two countries in a Mafia-esque Armageddon of epic proportions: ‘When the other side not only doubts India’s resolve but also mocks it openly, the application of force can only become an issue of timing’ (Hindu Times, reported in the Pakistani Daily Times, 13 December 2002). Widespread corruption is so embedded in Pakistan that it scarcely raises a qualm. Cynicism seems a common reaction in the media, for example the story of national disappointment when Nigeria beat Pakistan to head the list of the world’s most corrupt countries: ‘Why didn’t we bribe the agency compiling the statistics?’ (Ali 2000:17). In Badshahnama (2000), Wasim’s pastiche of the original Mughal manuscript Padshahnama (‘king of the world’), her images are inspired by President Nawaz Sharif’s notoriously liberal gestures, which created an ‘enterprise culture’ at the expense of any free education or welfare system. Wittily described as ‘visual oxymorons’ in that they are ‘epic miniatures’ (Sloan 2004), the paintings produced by Group X artists share an intimacy of scale which belies a powerful imagination of resistance, one which makes demands on the viewer to look beyond the seductive imagery: ‘In its tableau-like form, the miniature is a world of arrested time; its stillness emphasizes the activity that is outside its borders’ (Stewart 1999:67).

Experimental techniques Theological injunctions against the depiction of human and animal life upheld the Muslim credo banning any religious effigies or imagery of a ‘realist’ nature. Miniature painting risked polemical debate, and flourished only because it was under the protection of those powerful

76

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

enough to counter any accusations: the Mughal Emperors. Thus it became an aristocratic art, with corresponding limitations. It functioned in the manner of all visual propaganda: through carefully contrived imagery, dutifully reflecting and celebrating the power of the Mughal empire and the extent of its cosmopolitanism. Visual strategies, such as symmetrical composition, or Western perspective (adopted from the European prints brought over by the Jesuit missionaries) were developed, with the aim of manifesting hierarchic order: ‘There was absolute control of the pictorial world and its laws of representation’ (Koch 1997:142). Yet, as will be recounted in later chapters, there already existed an inventive spirit which allowed for extraordinary variations and even individualist gestures (Goswamy 1999; Sheikh 1997). Such aspects are important because they are revisited by current practitioners, primarily through the necessary exercise of copying, but secondarily and more significantly, by being re-appropriated for different purposes. Apart from using other forms of colouring agents, such as acrylic, inks, markers, even ball-point pens, all sorts of contemporary materials and methods are appropriated by the painters in Group X. Photocopying was already used by Zahoor, long before photo-shop technology appeared to tempt the artists. Transfer via rubbing or letraset is used. Collage of found fragments, the favourite method of the Dadaists, is an apparent innovation in miniature practice, yet in traditional Mughal painting there were several instances of adhering insects’ wings for decorative passages.31 Many of the traditional paintings had passages of silver or gold leaf. Haloes around Imperial heads are systematically treated with gold leaf, and this is repeated today in an identical way: the space is prepared with a gum-arabic wash, the leaf is stuck down gently and the extra fragments scraped away. When dry, the area is burnished to a bright shine. Another traditional method was to apply tea-stain to the wasli; this obviously enhances any antique effect on account of its manuscript paper quality. The artists in Group X play with such factors, using torn pages from old found textbooks or manuscripts, sanding them down, inter-laying and effacing parts to allow fragments to become almost transparent, and evoking depth or geological stratas; they recall palimpsest

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

77

techniques. Above all it is the imaginative exercises set by Imran Qureshi which have inspired experimentation. Using photocopies of diverse originals, he asks the students to re-arrange the figures or insert others in order to grasp the basics of composition. Another example is his regular proposal to cut out and collage texts and images from newspapers. Images still predominate text, possibly due to the legacy of the division of labour in the Mughal karkhanas, whereby calligraphers worked separately. One approach, shared by all in Group X, is the will to demystify the technique by revealing its methods or by leaving areas unfinished: ‘. . . a glimpse of the mechanics of the process’ (Adamjee and Jain 2005:52). The experimental fervour shown in the nine cameos can be seen in many works by other artists I would place in Group X, all of whom are now performing to critical success both at home and on the global circuit. Wasim Ahmed’s early work was provocative in its parody of the pre-occupation with the female nude and the male gaze in Western art history. For his Burqa Series (2001) he appropriated the famous portraits of Manet’s model Victorine from Olympia and Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (Plate 54) and dressed them in transparent burqas. The reclining female gazes with ease at her male admirers. Thus an expression of resistance is implied through the subversion of a stereotype, an example of modification through mimicry of the dominant model. His Krishna Series (2001, Plate 55) plays on Bollywood’s ambiguous rapport with Hollywood and provoked violent Hindutva reaction in Bombay when shown in a gallery, which was forced to close under threats from the Siv Sen. Ready as always to defend inter-faith practice, Indian artists protested vehemently against such fanaticism. The youngest in the group, Muhammed Zeeshan (born 1980) made a series of miniatures underlining the proliferation of gun culture in Pakistan through popular culture, such as in the Punjabi song: I am a Kalashnikov of Lethal Beauty! His series: Bananas and Guns II (2000) (Plate 56) relates to the risks, not only of glamourising violence through Lollywood cinema but also from banalising it, where the gun becomes a toy. His delicate drawing skills have been applied to extraordinary trompe l’oeil executions with his disturbing

78

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

series: ‘Sublime Maladies’ (2006) which portray rodents and human body hair as ‘elaborate allegories . . . where violence masquerades as innocence and terror may have velvet claws and a furry tail’ (Menezes 2007:3). Inspired by Aisha Khalid, he has also made a book, A Colligation (Isolated Facts) (2008), but most polemical is his recent work Dying Miniature (2008, Plate 57), an act of defiance against all that tradition holds dear – it is on sandpaper in graphite, an ironic gesture in its reversal of orthodox technique. His work alienates rather than exploits the fetishist charms of traditional practice. Reeta Saeed’s angry yet witty commentary on the US invasion of Afghanistan, Sorry for the Inconvenience, Work in Progress (2001, Plate 58) is a prime example of ‘détournement’, or deviation from traditional devices. Heads concealed in the rock formations have their source in sixteenth-century Persian miniatures wherein animal and human faces were fused into geological strata. In Saeed’s portrait of a soulful donkey being bombarded with US ‘gifts’ of hamburgers and coke, in between cluster bombs, the rocks represent Tora Bora and the heads are those of Bin Laden and his cohorts. Saeed’s later work reflects on the violence against women, as victims of patriarchal and feudal customs.32 Combining sewing and painting on wasli, torn cloth signals both vulnerability and resistance in her Woman on Fire (2003). Talha Rathore (born 1970) makes paintings using fragments of New York subway maps, as in A Matter of Silence (2002, Plate 59), which pursues her theme of a diaspora’s anxiety. Her use of collage as a consequence of dislocation echoes the work of Schwitters in exile. Her mapping of memories, They Told Us It Would Be Like This uses stencils, block prints and red thread to trace the parallel lines of women’s isolation and their pre-occupation with textiles. Mahreen Zuberi’s work has a strongly conceptual bias, formally ascetic yet hinting, in a Duchampian sense, at a droll narrative (Plate 60). Mahwish Chishty’s architectonic fields offer a minimalist play with grids, evoking the inner and outer spaces of Japanese garden landscape (Plate 61). Recent experiments show a shift towards thickening the paper wasli to a sculptural form on which minuscule imaginary text is exquisitely inscribed with the qalam, thereby recalling the

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

79

miniature’s former liaison of text and image, through a contemporary diaristic form which combines the personal with the political (Aisha Abid Hussain). Rehana Mangi weaves human hair in and out of the wasli to construct austere patterns recalling the minimalism of both Agnes Martin and Nasreen Mohamedi. Delicate drawings by Isbah Afzal suggest aerial weavings of ‘angel hair’, reflecting the luminosity of spiders’ webs. The making of an interactive piece uses transfers from newspaper puzzles (Hajra Saeed). There is currently an inevitable attraction towards using miniature technique in video games, according to a recent article by Louis Werner (Saudi Aramco World 2009) – playful proposals perhaps, as signs of current times whereby the more politicised content of their elders (witnessed in the cameos) seems to be overshadowed by a veil of entertainment. Whether this current mood signifies potential subversion through Bakhtin’s carnivalesque or simply a reflection of Debord’s ‘spectacular society’ is open to conjecture. Perhaps the most striking feature is the transformation from two-dimensional, small-scale imagery into vaster dimensions, either through digital elaboration (Rashid Rana), or into 3D sculpture on a life-size scale (Abbas), or mobilising it through video and digital animation (Sikander and Abbas). The most recent experiment lies in the ambitious site-specific installations using miniature technique on a grandiose mural scale, as executed by Qureshi in Singapore (2008) and by Qureshi and Khalid in Kabul (2009). These projects, which surpass all limits of the ‘revivalist’ agenda, may even spell the end of the miniature paradigm. When is a miniature not a miniature? The question is addressed by Mirza in Chapter 6.33 The issue of scale plays a part in the gender-based arguments concerning art production in modernist times. Whereas the monumental scale has been part of the heroic agenda of traditional history painting in the West, small-scale painting was inevitably more accessible to women artists, deprived of studio training or space. It has been shown that miniature painting in South Asia has been the domain of male artists, as well as the accepted Pakistani art form since Partition. In the 1970s, because it figured on the list of officially-sanctioned state art, alongside calligraphy and landscape painting, it was rejected by

80

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

women artists in the early days of their revolt. It was only in the 1980s, with the move towards re-invention, that the miniature was perceived by women as a potential vehicle for ‘the personal as the political’. The very fact that it was disparaged as ‘feminine’ by mainstream modernists was seen as worth challenging. In spite of the success of many women artists, most female practitioners stop making miniatures on their marriage, an event still assumed in Pakistan to be the most important stage of a woman’s life. The few who continue are those who have either married abroad, or escaped arranged marriage by working abroad, or come to a compromise, simply because it is virtually impossible for a woman artist to live alone, as one artist explained after her earlier rejection of marriage whilst studying in London: ‘When I came back, I realised marriage was an institution in our society which gave one independence . . . my husband is very kind, supportive and gives me space . . . he honours my work’ (R.S., 2000). Many of the female students, particularly those in Group O, still have arranged marriages. The widespread South Asian custom that daughters are raised ‘for other families’, due to the patrilocal system of arranged marriages whereby young women leave their own families to live with their in-laws (Haeri 2002:318), makes the basic need for studio space even more of a hindrance to women artists wanting to work.34 The couple formed by Qureshi and Khalid, the first two cameos, is exceptional for two reasons: theirs was a ‘love-marriage’, and they are equally successful as miniature painters. Concerning gender, a marked difference observed in the two groups was the openness towards feminist ideas on the part of both male and female artists in Group X, while comments from several in Group O showed their neutrality on this issue.

Group O From interviews and observation, it seems clear that those practitioners whom I classify as members of Group O function through an absolute belief in past traditions, and are convinced that only by imitating the ‘originals’ can the practice continue. It is almost as if any transformation is deemed iconoclastic in the sense usually reserved

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

81

for deformation of religious imagery. Their paintings show certain changes which resemble ‘variations on a theme’ or essays in stylistic adjustments. They tend to lack the conceptual deconstruction or the formal experimentation of the works produced by those in Group X. When the final diploma years have been under the direction of Bashir Ahmed, their themes appear conventional, formulas are repeated and the style is decorative, but one interesting shift lies in their play with scale. On closer examination of the works and discussion with the students, it grew obvious that the themes occasionally went beyond the regular modes of familiar narratives and aspired to more ambitious projects. In the final thesis diploma of December 2002, eight students were presented, all women and all disciples of ustad Bashir ‘Sahib’. Their themes were epic. For example: the original vision of Pakistan as dreamt of by Jinnah; the landscape of Kerbala; the original site of the massacre of Shi’i ancestors; the Muslim vision of Heaven according to descriptions in the Koran; Dervish dancing and aspects of Sufism; the glories of Mughal architecture, focusing on the Taj Mahal; city vistas of Lahore; reflections on childhood; and contemporary fashion in Pakistan. Without exception, all were single large pieces, either oval or rectangular and approximately three feet by two in scale, which would seem to be the officially accepted sign of ‘being modern with miniatures’. Final works from the previous year on this scale included one or two on unusual themes, such as a study of the Hijra (transvestite) community in the Old City, a reflection on Buddhist tales, and the re-enactment of Anarkali’s tragedy via images from a Hindu silent movie. In the year of 2002, the content was either nationalistic or religious, whether through ‘high’ rhetorical icons or ‘low’ popular allusions to family and fashion. When questioned about such themes, the students spoke with enthusiasm about their choices, insisting that the ideas had come naturally if not spontaneously, inspired by their copies and earlier exercises. One or two spoke of the need for hope in the midst of today’s chaos, for example the one working on Jinnah’s vision said: After listening to my grandfather’s stories about leaving Jullundur, so determined to come back to a new identity and

82

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN the idea of justice in Pakistan, I asked why nothing has turned out right. Why has the dream eroded? Why the cynicism, the bitterness? I inscribed the beautiful text of the national anthem expressing hope – where has this hope gone?

When I asked if she intended it as a political comment, she replied: I want to explore that grey area which is beyond the political, beyond the social; it’s not about politics, politics just gets in the way. I don’t want the painting to be too direct – I worked around the anthem, to be read like poetry about the brotherhood of people. We’re all human, we have the same desires . . . Scenes of refugees were depicted alongside groups reading the Koran, described as signalling ‘the death of individualism’; another scene showed games of chess and snakes and ladders, ‘to give the idea that all is beyond our control’ (M.N.).35 The student who produced ‘Vision of Heaven’ described her family, telling of her father, an accounts manager in Doha, who had completed his Koranic studies by the age of 12: My ideas came from reading the Koran; I started reading at three, my grandmother and my mother first read it to me and then I learned texts by heart; I’d read it all by five . . . this is not exceptional, I also learned calligraphy. I read the scattered references to heaven, there are summaries also on the net . . . I wanted to relate it to fantasy art, and I used my imagination. When asked if her dancing girls, delineated in art-nouveau tracery, were intended to resemble the objects of the Taliban’s gaze, as lampooned by the Western media, she replied that they were indeed, as were the Mughal princesses and the ‘ladies praising the Moon’. One student described her family as ‘feudal’ and proud to be so. They all played different musical instruments. Her father was a lawyer and her mother a ‘landlady’ (in the sense of owning land) and a poetess . . . ‘but I’ve never read her poetry, we never interfere with

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

83

each other’s lives, we never discuss the day at dinner’. Admitting the advantages of a middle-class education, she said: ‘Yes, I’m privileged, it shows in how I’ve been brought up. It’s very difficult to envisage leaving such a home, and I have no intention of marrying yet (S.N.). Class observations arose in my talk with the Museum Keeper, Nusrat Ali when I asked her about the gender dynamics she had experienced in the museum. She replied at length on the struggle to survive of ‘the poor class of women’, so rigidly controlled, she said, by Islamist dogma, whereas: ‘We middle-class women live a very comfortable life, my sons are highly educated in Christian missionary schools so they learn good manners, but I’m happy to be a Muslim, that’s what inside gives me courage.’ There was a curious yet composed detachment about gender in the orthodox group. The girls tended to repeat the general view of miniature painting as being too delicate and demanding for male artists: ‘Guys want to throw paint.’ The fact that the department is predominantly female does not seem to be of any consequence to those in Group O: ‘It never affects us, it never comes to our mind. I think that women had the knowledge of painting, they prepared the brushes and the pigments but they were not practitioners because of the housework. That’s in our culture.’ (S.N.) When I recounted Goswamy’s explanation that women were excluded from their father’s teaching on account of their potential giving-away of family secrets through marriage, S.N. replied: This goes on still in families with classical music – the secrets must be kept at home, so the daughters are not allowed to play seriously; as with shamanism, they are not given the recipes. Female performers here have the reputation of prostitutes, especially dancers; there is no public place for dance and women singers are rare in public, yet this was never in the Koran. The prophet asked Aisha if she wished to listen to music, and she replied ‘Yes please’, and he brought a woman singer home; he was there and he praised her. One cannot say that such censorship as exists today was ever there in the Koran.

84

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Inter-group tensions How has the apparent tension between the two groups come about? It would seem from various accounts that it was simply absent in the first stages of revivalism or re-invention. An image of comparative harmony in the school is given from interviews with teachers and students who were present before the miniature ‘movement’ as such erupted in the 1990s, when antagonism gradually started building up between the orthodox and the experimentally inclined. It was the burgeoning success of the artists in Group X which brought it to a head. The chief arguments employed in Group O’s reaction are that the experimentation process is taking place too soon: ‘the third year’s project with Qureshi is too early, they don’t yet know the difference of the schools or the mixing of the colours’ (M.), or that it is too dependent on Western influence: ‘Mine is already contemporary, I don’t need to cut or change or scatter or make it abstract’ (S.N.), or that it fails to respect the rules: ‘Imran’s work has sensibility but he goes too far with his images . . . Sikander’s installations are not miniatures, although she says they’re inspired by them’ (H.). Above all the political content of works produced by Group X is perceived as unnecessary by the orthodox painters, even though they recognise the potential of the miniature as a vehicle for personal observations: ‘What does contemporary mean? What you do today, there’s no need to do more social comment, so much has already been done . . . one should just let the mind wander, without having to make an intense statement’ (S.M.). When I asked Group O students about the signs of a return to religious content, which had no place in original miniatures, the reasonable response was that since it was there in the poetry of Sufi texts, why not in the imagery? Concerning references to nationalism, one student said that this was a justifiable continuation of the underlying theme in Mughal battle scenes. Two or three spoke with anxiety about the conflict with India, and observed how rarely art had treated Partition. This was an interesting point, and was argued with earnestness. On the whole, their remarks over time implied an undertone of admiration for the work produced by the Group X students – there was evident appreciation of their graphic

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

85

skill, and occasionally of their imaginative content. Finally, however, the consensual opinion had won them over to a perception of the ‘radical’ contemporary miniature as a phenomenon of postmodernist fashion, inspired by the Western art world and lacking ‘authentic’ qualities. Commonly propagated in the standard art reviews of the media, this view appealed to them as an honest and popular reaction. What struck me most about the final-year students I talked with in 2002 was their apparent innocence or naiveté about the current political context, indigenous and international. Nostalgia had become the palliative for all angst. The contrast of this group with those from the two previous years I had witnessed was enormous, in respect of both attitudes and production – it was as if 9/11 had never taken place. Whereas the students and teachers in Group X had organised workshops immediately after 9/11 to discuss their reactions and to interrogate the apparent links between local social crises and global super-power policies, the orthodox work in the miniature department was ‘business as usual’. Over the past two years, ustad Bashir Ahmed has continued to supervise the final year, yielding similar results: any experimentation is highly contained.

Miniature department exhibition The manner in which the two groups vary was clearly illustrated in the works selected in 2000 for an exhibition – ‘Celebration Folio’ – in the NCA Gallery (named after Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq) as part of the school’s 125th anniversary. Curated by Bashir Ahmed, the main body of work was made up of excellent copies (Mughal, Persian, Kangra), ‘medieval’-style narratives, panoramic landscapes, scenes of college life, vignettes of family and friends. There were a few more adventurous paintings: autobiographical studies of a psychological nature, urban-scapes and abstract compositions based on geometry and pattern. The majority of these works appeared to fulfil the academic requirements of skilful technique, and responded to the public expectations of the familiar Mughal style: they were spectacular. This aspect had been accentuated by Bashir’s urging of final-year

86

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

students to ‘make it big’ – suddenly the thesis works grow up to a metre wide, partly inspired by Sikander’s five-foot autobiographical scroll from the early 1990s. Scale was evidently perceived by Bashir as a revolutionary step; when I asked him why, he replied that the Western concept of a miniature as small was a historical error, and that in India he had seen large-scale miniatures.36 To judge by audience response to the show, the paintings were greatly admired, and apparently many were sold after the exhibition. Most of these works were made by students adhering closely to the orthodox path, those in Group O. Works by Group X were barely represented. The ethos of an ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983) certainly seems to permeate the dogma of the main ustad’s teaching, as well as the school’s promotion of the department as continuing the Mughal style. Examples of such imagined communities are more often sited in exilic contexts than in established institutions, as Clare Harris described the Tibetan community in Dharamsala enacting a ‘historically tutored memory’ (1999:46). I suggest that this kind of memory process is comparable to that being promoted by the revivalist ideology around the miniature practice. The imagery reproduced in the orthodox path is that from a past valued as being the ‘real’ source; thus contemporary interventions are considered inauthentic within a similar paradigm of preservation. The miniature department shares the anxiety of the Tibetan community through the common notion of surviving as an ‘endangered species’, one threatened by change and possibly even dissolution. How values, ideologies or opinions are enacted through learned processes of socialisation became clearer as my time in the miniature department continued. I lived out what I had learned, that cultural forms and systems of meaning need to be understood relationally, that they constitute one another through what they exchange. However, it gradually became evident that the very way the groups were constituted took place not only through their opposition, mutually defining each other, but also through their lack of exchange (Henriques et al 1984). This tension was evidently a motivating factor in the practice of Group X.

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

87

Reflections Certain sets of dispositions seemed to be directing the behaviour of the agents: teachers, students, administrators and artists appeared to be characterised in ways which recall images of colonial times. I realised that the counteractive or ‘local’ resistance, here seen in Group X, is as much constituted by the ‘colonial encounter’ as is any Western group: ‘Diasporic cultures mould each other as well as the metropolitan cultures with which they interact’ (Gilroy 1993: ix, 16). The ways in which this burgeons historically through post-colonial teaching will be examined in the following chapter. It was clear that within the Institution as a whole, and within the miniature department specifically, the interaction between the space and the behaviour of the agents produced sets of symbolic actions. Over the months there I had a growing impression that certain actions and attitudes were virtually unconscious. The discipline of the practice enforced a routine of both physical and mental concentration which initially imposed a certain consciousness, but which became less conscious through force of habit. ‘Habitus’ (Bourdieu 1972:78) may be seen as a dialogue between social space and embodiment produced by positionality: ‘The body as an object of historical enquiry can therefore be approached through the everyday practices surrounding it’ (Collingham 2001:3). If we perceive the learning of social differences as coming not just from rules but from embodied experience, it helps us understand the mechanisms of how everyday practice relates to strategic social distinctions of gender and class. Can Bourdieu’s ideas be applied to a South Asian context? My impression that this is indeed possible came through observing the students’ behaviour whilst in practice, and also whilst at leisure. Inside the studio, the ritual positioning of the body was observed with diligence, by practitioners in both groups, while under the surveillance either of the ustad or of the visitors he occasionally invited. This scene was a performance, less elaborate than the one put on for the Queen perhaps, but nevertheless one demanding a constant awareness of the audience on the part of the player. It resembled any

88

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

ritual put on by indigenous performers for the tourist gaze. It was in the degrees of awareness of the ritual that I remarked certain differences in the attitudes of Group X and Group O. This relates back to the ‘distanciation’ theory, which may explain how Group X revealed a consciousness of the need to interrupt the habitual performance, whereas Group O seemed content with the routine. However, once ‘offstage’ – in the canteen, in the courtyard or even in the studio when there were neither ustads nor visitors present – the students relaxed their body positions, they ‘hung out’ in a permanent state of communicativeness, like any students anywhere: ears plugged, once into Walkmans, now into iPods, eyes fixed on mobile phones as they texted or talked. An apparent lack of ecological concern, witnessed by the overwhelming litter in the courtyards at the end of each day, conveyed the casual, elitist disposition towards servicing personnel. Apart from the odd case of extravagance, most of the clothes worn were similar, shalwar kameez for most girls, jeans for the boys, with about a third of the girls also in jeans. The distinctions of class revealed themselves clearly at the interface with the outside world: the manner of arriving or leaving the ornate edifice indicated the differences, which were significant. Many female students were deposited and collected by chauffeur-driven cars, and some male students had their own cars; otherwise there were school buses or rickshaws. Nobody walks, nor even cycles – especially women, banned from bikes by the mullahs since the freer days in the 1950s when the Mall (‘Thandi Sarak’ or ‘Cool Street’) was ‘flooded with girls cycling to Govt. College and the Punjab University’ (Hussain 2005:294). As mentioned above, behaviour in the canteen and in exchanges with the school porters was also revealing. It became clear that for many of the female students, an art education was seen to be the perfect finishing touch in becoming the ideal wife, especially if their degree did not lead to an automatic job – figures from a 2002 survey show that because of ‘mismatches’ between the education system and the labour market, there are high levels of educated unemployment (Mirza 2002). The biggest shift in gender work-patterns in contemporary Pakistan is effectively taking place among lower-middle-class

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

89

women. Due to chronic economic conditions such women are moving away from home-based work and gradually entering market-oriented training schemes.37 Such changes are breaking down conservative notions of purdah and re-defining gender relations, yet even for those middle-class women who appear to have an easier exit from chadi wari (‘four-walls’) domesticity and an entry into liberal careers, the road is still dominated by the patriarchal code, as indicated in studies of professional Pakistani women (Haeri 2002). In many ways the NCA could be described as a small-scale society, a microcosm highly regulated by a self-perpetuating hierarchy, echoing the Pakistani state oligarchy in its use of orthodox social aesthetics as a symbolic force. ‘Society is a poetic work, which reproduces metaphors, not capital’ (Todorov 1995:10–11). Nevertheless, the corporeal inscription of power is being resisted by the tough-skinned artists in Group X. They share a different aesthetic experience, one which becomes a ‘unifying principle’(MacDougall 2006:99) empowering their revolt against social control through a dialectical performative relationship: ‘. . . making, fashioning, creating what I call a sociality . . . a social praxis: the result of actors working together to give form to their experiences, ideas, feelings and projects’ (Fabian 1990:6). As to the statement that it is the training that ‘distinguishes culturally different kinds of work’ (Bhabha 1999:147), my observations have led me to conclude that the training in art colleges in South Asia is now very similar to that in the West, mainly through the importation of modernist theory, which dominates the relatively scant teaching of indigenous art history. The ‘cultural’ differences in the work lie in the making of an independent modernism.38 This is a fragile process which arises from specific modulations of a new visual language, one formed through the artists’ gradual discovery of their own visual heritage and fired by their reactions to the legacy of colonialist ideology. Consequently, heterogeneous versions of a postmodernist kind are becoming more apparent in this particular South Asian institution.

90

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

CAMEO 3 Nusra Latif Qureshi The following artist has chosen a different path: one of relocation to another continent, which has allowed her and her partner to extend their art practice within an ostensibly more democratic context: Australia. However, Nusra Latif Qureshi’s critical eye is sharp in pointing out the risks of assuming a better reception from the public there. A shadowy yet strong persona emanates from her slight figure and firm face. From a modest but scholarly family, part of her critical reflection is directed towards the ongoing hegemony of feudal families. Slightly older than the others in Group X, Nusra illustrates a more mature perspective on the miniature practice from both within and, after her travels, from the ‘constitutive outside’. Throughout her time as a student and then a teacher at the NCA, she became known for her forthright opinions, which she voices quietly and with a disarming lack of nervousness. Latif Qureshi is one of the few who dare to speak out with candour on the corruption of power within state institutions. Ardently committed to the miniature tradition as a living practice, she plays with its formal conventions, stripping down any unnecessary ornament with the same intellectual rigour she applies to deflating officious rhetoric. She is the artist with the most consistent concern for post-colonial history; her theme is the vulnerability of history to differing interpretations. She is deeply involved in analysing the heritage of colonialism in a post-colonial state. Her painting plays with formal devices such as layering, superimposition and silhouettes to suggest how truth can be manipulated iconographically. Contours of royal couples as represented in Mughal portraits are overlaid with outlines of colonial figures. A refined process of stratified imagery suggests the geology of time, and how notions of the ‘other’ are constructed through ideological additions or subtractions. Her reflections stem from her analysis of a Westernised art education in its confrontation with a traditional practice. She redeploys visual strategies learned from her encounters with both sources in her post-colonial critique of the abuse of knowledge as a tool for dividing and ruling: ‘I am constantly reminded of the

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

91

persistent authority of the neo-imperialist U.S.A., intent on marking new territories as its own, insistent on bringing justice to the world. How is this different from other “justices” in the past?’(2003). One series has been devoted to has been devoted to a visual study of the political effects of early photography on representation under colonial rule. Three visual languages are deliberately played off against each other. Outlined fragments of British Raj group photographs frame her figures appropriated from Mughal and Rajput miniatures, and are woven together with the taut linearity of the Company-school style of drawing, as in Balanced Relations (2001) and Drawing upon Our Knowledge of Orientalism (2001, Plate 13). The three modes interact to produce an animated narrative recounting the history of the rise and fall of miniature painting. However, the risk of such a story becoming nostalgic is avoided by Latif Qureshi’s critical distance. Cutting across sentimentality with her own sharp-edged editing, the stress on surveillance is enhanced by her images of scientific tools of measurement. Latif Qureshi uses these through collage and photo-montage to juxtapose the three visual discourses and reveal their imperialist mission. Her subtle linearity strips down the threefold rhetoric into a muted state, one apparently orchestrated by the powerful poses of Raj domination as in Of Our Lords and Masters (2003) and Set On A Red Carpet (2005, Plate 14). Yet time is arrested in order to re-arrange history, in ways which allow space for the subaltern position. One painting which manifests Latif Qureshi’s stripping of content down to the ornamental, as a parody of the ‘colonialist effect’ on Indian art, is States of Abstraction (2003, Plate 15). A strong example of her careful methodology lies in Reasonable Acts of Compliance 111 (2005, Plate 16). This is based on a well-known photograph, taken by Felice Beato in 1858, of the regiment known as Hodson’s Horse in Lucknow just after the ‘Indian Mutiny’ of 1857 (Plate 17). The photo is said to capture the spirit of alliance between the British officers and the Sikh and Pathan soldiers who, by their ‘courageous loyalty’, helped to suppress the uprising in the Indian army. The very formation of the group delineates the hierarchy of respect and loyalty within a military field of power relations; the

92

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

colonialist echo of the Mughal model is replayed through the Mughal courtier interposed between the blue lines: the only coloured figure amongst empty silhouettes. In her sharp text Patel sums up the force of this montage: ‘Qureshi erases the very reason that photographs are valued: their ability to tell the truth. By doing so, she challenges the viewer to question the information they convey, rather than remain passive observers of a perceived objective fact’ (2005:20).39 Latif Qureshi has always been articulate about the effects of a Westernised art education on the miniature practice, and is therefore keen to research the diversity of Indian art and culture, particularly since travelling with the department to Delhi and the Chandigarh museums,40 where the collections are so much richer than in the Lahore Museum. Latif Qureshi’s comments during our frequent conversations take up the oft-spoken refrain of loss, in particular the depreciation of intercultural fusion: ‘Everything was always more mixed and matched than nowadays, when religion is just going in one direction. With partition and the huge shifts, people changed or reinvented their ancestry, they often hid their identities, heroes and villains mixed together’ (2001). She argues that the traditional training is absolutely fundamental, that it has always been open to outside influences, even from the West, and that it needs to hold on to its eclectic identity: The connection Zahoor made was not in view of a revival, it was a positive perspective. In no way was his idea to oppose miniature painting to painting, they are not in opposition in any binary sense but they combine different ways of thinking. (2001) Although the training under the current ustad is basically very sound, the problem lay in the orthodoxy of his vision: [T]he issue was that of freedom of process, we were made to produce manually without breathing enough en route, there was an ideological notion constructed around the ‘true

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

93

tradition’ which became exoticized and certain fixed attitudes were adopted over the last four years. (2001) Latif Qureshi vehemently affirms a link between scholastic repression and the national lack of democracy: [N]owadays diversity is simply not allowed. In Pakistan today everything is so unsure, the state surveys at every level and there is a natural return to extreme religion, to fundamentalism which is constructed from the word and a mistranslation of the ideals in the Koran. All this is political. (2001) Her interest in pedagogical methods leads to her despair at the lack of investment by the Pakistani state in education, a situation which simply perpetuates the vast class differences in Pakistani society. She says in anger: ‘There is no national curriculum, and schools are utterly class ridden, divided by language conflicts, this is underlined by the regional struggles which are continually being either subdued or repressed’ (2001) Having graduated in 1994, the year after Imran Qureshi, she remains a close friend, greatly admiring his critical series on the nuclear issue, the latter hyped by ‘heroic’ mediating through nationalist discourse: ‘There is no clear history of nuclear issues given out to the public so it is not seen as a danger, but as a necessary deterrent to the Indian threats over Kashmir’ (2001) Latif Qureshi’s tone of despondency sank even deeper when we discussed the actualities of the political context of Pakistan – this was before 9/11: There is no possibility of a democracy here because we have had twenty years without any democratic politics. All is based on nepotism and connections. Bhutto and Sharif were both evicted brutally. People have become desensitised. There is a very poor media apart from Dawn which is alive and kicking. All is so intricately related, due to economic concerns critique can only be veiled. People follow ‘opinion formers’. There are Urdu language tabloids, but passivity is carefully nurtured. Even

94

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN those who try and think get laughed at and then they keep their noses down, earn their money and keep quiet.

Nusra Latif Qureshi left the MA course at the NCA in the summer of 2001 to complete an MA in Fine Art in Melbourne, Australia. She married a fellow NCA student, Naeem Rana, also a successful artist; they live in Melbourne and exhibit across the world. Recent work has shifted her miniature based technique into digital imagery using calligraphy: ‘. . . the use of words is a response to the occasional futility of the word itself . . .’ (Latif Qureshi 2009:34) In a series of prints called Red Silks (2007) layering and fragmentation of transcultural imagery intensify her ‘. . . highly developed argument against “purity”’ (Nasar 2005:13).

CAMEO 4 Saira Wasim Amongst this group, the boldest political commentary is to be seen under the qalam of Saira Wasim. Because I had been struck me by the sharp cutting edge of political satire in her painting, I had assumed the artist would be outspoken and extrovert. However, first impressions of Wasim were of a shy young woman; her timidity showed in her modest discourse and in her driving – stalling frequently amid the chaotic Lahori traffic, Wasim confessed to having just learned to drive with her sister over the two previous days. I gulped, admiring the easy enunciation of such a daily social fact, one shocking to a Westerner conditioned to living life itself as a security risk. Like many of her compatriots, Wasim had had no real driving instruction, let alone a test. I concluded that she had an invisible nerve, and events since have proven that correct. Saira Wasim is now a star miniaturist in the US, almost but not quite as famous as Shahzia Sikander, the ‘icon’ of miniature painting. Selected to appear in the notorious Whitney annual exhibition, entitled ‘American Effect’, in 2002, her work received a huge response since it starred ‘Bush and

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

95

Mush’ and their extraordinary ‘special relationship’ which diplomacy has bestowed on them as a couple since 9/11. Her interview in the New York Times article on the show revealed her persona as one who has learned to master the advantages of appearing naive whilst daring to voice a clear opposition to the Mullahs. Describing her painting called Friendship (2001) after 9/11, she writes: This shows a new era of amity between Pakistan and the United States. It depicts President Bush embracing President Musharraf for helping him in the war against terrorism in South Asia. There are also the Mullahs who are oblivious about their own religion (Islam being a faith of peace and love) they are the ones who misinterpret their religion and manipulate the innocent public to commit violence in the name of Jihad. They are never happy with this friendship, which is why they are portrayed as sad at this occasion. It’s time to realise that only love and friendship can save this world from all disasters. (New York Times 2003) The homespun candour of this text contrasts strongly with the almost cynical irony of her visual language. Her provocative bias began with her thesis in 1999, entitled Badshahnama, a piece made up of a series of brilliant pastiches celebrating the ceremonials of state power. As she states in exchanges with the author, I mostly paint ironical political paintings. Inspiration is taken from court scenes in Mughal miniatures and from drama, theatre and circus, where the idea behind is to entertain. So in my compositions I depict political figures, emperors and celebrities with a background of cupids, and animal portraits. There is always satire and humour with royal majesty and grandeur. (2004) Her themes interweave the political and the personal through her growing awareness of gender issues. Juxtaposing figurative appropriations, her work fuses the realism of Mughal painting with the

96

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

photo-realism of Western pop-art imagery: ‘Trucks, missiles, weapons, flags and mullahs are to me pop images to make my work contemporary.’ Early works exemplify these intentions: Tomorrow? (Pakistan) (2000, Plate 18) Hali Goli (‘political carousel’, 2001, Plate 19). Together, these diverse realisms serve a common cause: parody. She mocks the Mughal copies of Western naturalism, and also the media’s obsession with celebrities. Wasim shifts gears back and forth (more confident in the studio than on the road) in order to show how mimicry can deflate both victim and perpetrator. W.G Archer, a specialist in Indian miniature painting, once wrote that the tradition was based on ‘a minute attention to detail, characterization and a concern for drama’ (1989:37). By such standards, Wasim’s work is embedded in tradition, reflecting the rigour of Mughal drawing as well as its use of spectacular imagery for ideological ends. Such strategies are revisited to provoke the viewer into realising the historical similarities and links between old and new conflicts. Subjects as critical as the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq jostle with the long-standing daily dramas of life in a Pakistani society which is still embedded in the issues of izzat and patriarchy. Her courageous series on so called ‘honour killings’ was provoked by her shock on seeing the documentary by Shelley Saywell: Crimes of Honour (1999). Wasim’s painting In the Name of Honour (2004, Plate 20) treats the taboo subject with a stylised, desperate delicacy: I painted Pakistani women as fragile and helpless as flowers, culprits were painted with swords and this brutal society with a pond or a tree. My series shows flowers drowned in their own tears, flowers carrying foetuses, plantations of swords, frozen chadors emerging from the rocks creating a gesture of mourning, baby girls floating in noxious dull ponds. (2004) This series has a very different tone and technique: in place of irony and florid colours, there is pathos, verging on sentimentality, and acid hues: This ignominious issue of our country is a huge social problem to our society as it shows the miserable conditions of the

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE : MINIATURE PRACTICE MANOEUVRES

97

so-called ‘weaker sex’. There are a number of cases in which women are being victimized, burnt and killed in the name of honour, culprits in all these killings are often let off scot free . . . and our government and law are also silent. (2004) In reply to my request for more details of the contents of the paintings in her series Mullahs from Terrorism (2000), including Fundamentalists (Plate 21), Wasim gave me a clear portrait of the ugly character she had re-visited: the Mullana Fazal ul Rehman: He trains the Talibans in his madrassas . . . he deals with the heroin and cocaine business in Afghanistan . . . smuggles weapons from Afghanistan to Pakistan . . . is called ‘Mullana Diesel’ since he got a licence from the government to export diesel from Pakistan to Afghanistan. According to me he is one of the top most religious leaders who are manipulating youth to create violence in the name of religion. (2004) In her parodies of corruption Wasim uses the masquerade of the carnival: generals, politicians, cricket players and pop stars ride on the swings and roundabouts, framed by jeering jesters such as Ronald McDonald. Political identities are manoeuvred through disguise and propaganda concealed in allegorical symbols: ‘Wasim has invented her own language – a visual semiotics based upon the slippery essence of all representation’ (Sloan 2005). Blair is disguised as a puppet dangled by the emperor Caesar/Bush, erupting from the fallen statue of Saddam Hussein, in Regime Change (2004, Plate 22); below, a sombre mob of Muslim leaders, including Arafat, Musharraf and Mullah Omar, all snooze in Mughal-cushioned comfort around barrels of oil and miniature missiles. Bakhtin’s notion of carnival subverts the hierarchical norm by turning it upside down. In Wasim’s poster-like presentations, such as Battle (2004, Plate 23), the pomposity of dominating patriarchs is ridiculed by farcical costumes and absurd attributes, all verging on the ‘obscene’ of carnival:41 perfectly calculated, like Dada performance, to épater le bourgeois. The question as to whether it succeeds in

98

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

this is a moot point – according to various accounts, she has been castigated by certain Mullahs who deem her work iconoclastic. Other reviews show how often it is the craft and detail of her photo-realism which absorbs the viewer more than the content. Wasim’s conviction is that fundamentalism, in both its eastern and western forms, is a corruption of the real faith. Her discourse implies that the strength of her own belief provides her with the courage to openly defy and challenge the Mullahs. Such scorn for the extremists was a common characteristic amongst all the women I interviewed. The museum’s Keeper, Nusrat Ali, stated: ‘The fundamentalists are just a lot of black beardies. This is not the way – it has to come from the core of the heart.’ In spite of scant theoretical training in her years studying at the NCA, Wasim, like many of the younger miniature painters I worked with, has developed an intuitive feminism, which comes through in her brilliant play with mimicry. Throughout her work examples appear of farcical performances employing masquerade, described by Riviere (1927) as a potential means of explaining the parodic nature of feminine self-representation.42 One feminist proposal is for the woman to play along deliberately with the male vision of the feminine as: ‘. . . lack, default or as mime and inverted reproduction of the subject – (to) show that on the feminine side it is possible to exceed and disturb masculine logic’ (Irigaray 1977:75–6). Wasim’s performance of a genteel persona is one which suits the feminine image demanded by orthodox Pakistani society; but if read against the grain, her satirical content suggests that ‘in between’ the signs and lines, her work may well subvert through apparent seduction. Wasim has already suffered the indignities of religious discrimination in Pakistan, since as a member of the Shi’i Ahmadi sect, a Sufi-oriented movement rejected by the Sunni, she was considered a ‘non-Muslim’ and refused the right to pray, either publicly or in a mosque. She is now married, living and working in the US, amid post-9/11 anxiety. Along the lines of Hogarth’s lampoons, her paintings use biting wit to illuminate the need for social justice.

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

99

3 IMAGINING OR INVENTING THE TRADITION OF MINIATURE PAINTING?

In many ways it is possible to state that the two groups, O and X, make use of the concepts both of ‘inventing a tradition’ and ‘imagining a community’. I will argue that whereas the invention of tradition towards ‘continuity with a (suitable historic) past’ (Hobsbawm 1983:1) pervades the rhetoric of the orthodox miniature practice, it is rather the vision of a ‘popular imagined community’ which articulates the discourse of the experimental group.1 It would seem plausible that, apart from the powerful icon of the imperialist, two political reasons lie behind the official adoption of the Mughal style to frame a positive profile of Pakistan’s identity. The first is the well-documented strategy of association with what is seen to be an ‘authentic’ or ‘traditional’ art form, in order to create a positive image, whether for economic or political purposes:2 ‘Like other objects of cultural history, aesthetic modes can be wrenched from their contexts and functions, to be used to display the wealth and power of the social group that has appropriated them’ (Buchloh 1981:39). The second reason is related to the interweaving of religious and political tensions arising from the sociology of colonialist rule in India. The reification of communal identity through census classification (Pandey 1990), separating electorates and controlling religious

100

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

endowments, neatly divided Muslims from Hindus.3 Such wily diplomacy lead to the 1905 Partition of Bengal: More insidious was the attempt to pit Muslim against Hindu by claiming that the creation of a separate Muslim-majority province in eastern Bengal with Dhaka as its capital would almost resurrect the lost glories of the Mughal empire. (Bose amd Jalal 1998:118) Resistance to this first partition signalled the beginning of the Indian swadeshi movement (Cohn 1987; Chatterjee 1993; Mitter 1994). Orientalism, as a form of ‘imperialist knowledge’ (Abdel-Malik 1963; Said 1978; Inden 1986), played a predictably ambiguous role through its equivocal discourse on the rise of Indian nationalism in Bengal. Orientalist thinking is often represented as having infected swadeshi ideology with the notion of a dichotomy between the ‘spiritual’ East and the ‘materialist’ West, by opposing colonial policies and searching for a purely Indian image (Guha Thakurta 1992:148; Mitter 1994:234). This would appear to be an exaggeration, and will be reconsidered below. However, Orientalist romantic imaginings certainly inspired a search for a genuinely ‘authentic’ Indian art, one encouraged by visions of India as a pre-industrial community whose traditions were founded on religion and mystical philosophy. British art ‘experts’, such as Owen Jones, Henry Cole, James Fergusson and Birdwood, wrote, lectured and published theories on Indian art in ways which they felt would revive indigenous traditions within the new art schools, and thus defy the colonial policies of Western academic training. The effects of this on the Mayo School, under Lockwood Kipling’s dynamic direction, were eventually frustrated by the demands of the British administration to produce artisans rather than artists (Tarar 2008:332–45). Craft, re-designated as ‘Applied or Industrial Arts’, was the focus of colonial art education in the Punjab, where students came from two very different social and economic groups: artisans and the salaried classes. Kipling’s ‘Arts and Crafts’ principles were intended to make the artisans ‘more skilled than their fathers’ (Kipling 1875)

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

101

through knowledge of indigenous arts as well as crafts. However, his ideals came unstuck when faced by the poverty and the lack of education of the artisan class, ‘less than one per cent literate . . . lowest in the social scale’ (Sharma 1978:15). Although Kipling occasionally showed colonialist colours by singling out ‘their ignorance of English . . . their most serious drawback’ his discourse was highly critical of the ‘prejudice against manual labour’ displayed by the students from the naukripesha classes, or salaried classes. Above all, he was dismayed by the colonial community’s manifest lack of interest in Indian art, favouring: ‘. . . imitations of the familiar and cherished forms of European Art . . .’ Kipling’s aim for the school was to develop indigenous styles of art: ‘. . . the first thing to study is the actual work of the country, which alone can give a rational point of departure for variety of design and improvement of technique’. (Kipling 1883–1886 cited in Tarar 2003:26–49) Design manufacture, accompanied by the training of students from the salaried classes, was promoted by the British Indian government’s scheme to develop trade in the manufacture and sale of industrial arts. The spectacular International Industrial Exhibition in Calcutta in 1883–84 presented the Punjab Court, with examples of student work in sculpture, ornamental woodwork, plasterwork, pottery, lithography and oil painting (Tarar 2003:27). Yet there was no sign of miniature painting: did the British miss out on this potential market? Forty years later however, the Punjabi section (curated by Lionel Heath, the Principal of the MSA) of the Indian Empire Exhibition (1924, in London), showed painting by Abdur Rahman Chughtai, (1897–1975), heir to the Orientalist discourse on manuscript painting and self-designated leader of the Punjab School. Although the intellectuals within this group adhered to the ‘Mughal connection’, they shared with the Progressive writers4 a more cosmopolitan approach to their Indo-Islamic cultural heritage, due to their education abroad (Faiz 1981/2006:62, Dadi:2006).

Patronage and patriarchal attitudes The absolute authority of the Mughals is evidently where the

102

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

attraction lies in the Pakistani construction of a cultural identity. Since Bhutto’s time the official pro-Mughal arts policy suggests an Orientalist response to the issue of patronage and its importance in sustaining the myths of tradition. It was the powerful resources of the Mughals which enabled the huge scale and high level of workshop production. Texts by specialist art historians imply a clear discernment of the how aesthetic levels of miniature technique varied according to their sources of production. They propose a classification of higher and lower status which depends on proximity to the original Mughal workshops: ‘The equation of the quality of painting with the rank of the patron is implicit in many studies of Indian painting, but nowhere more so than in the class-conscious distinction between imperial and “sub-imperial” Mughal painting’ (Seyller 1999:25). A definite hierarchy evolved, whereby the best work was made under direct patronage of the Emperor. The notion of mastery, as imaged by the title of ustad, has structured the revival of the workshop tradition, functioning by way of a patriarchal hierarchy which is said to emulate that of the Mughals, even though the idea of the ustad has altered over the centuries. The Mughal enterprise allowed for a collective practice which shared a stylistic coherence according to the distinguishing traits of different artists, and was thus constantly changing.5 The NCA revival positions one man as the all-knowing ustad, in certain ways closer to the common perception of a guru, a father-figure, to the disciples/students. This hierarchical relationship neatly extinguishes the method of collaboration: ‘The systems that are lost have been lost forever, there is no point in pining for an UstadShagird [‘master-disciple’], although there are still living examples of both this Eastern “hallmark” and its Western parallel: the “master”’ (Latif Qureshi 2001). Nostalgia for traditional practice was one of the paradoxes in the search for a nationalist art form in India at the beginning of the twentieth century. Through colonialist pedagogy, the conception of the artist as an autonomous individual, in the mould of Western modernism, imposed itself as a replacement for collective practice. The work of Abanindranath Tagore (1871–1951) illustrates the dilemma in locating an Indian modernism through adapting

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

103

Western, and Far Eastern, styles to a conscious use of tradition, in his case the miniature one. This fusion became known as the ‘Bengal School’, and is the source of orthodox miniature work in Lahore today. It was transmitted through the teachings of Chughtai, whose arrival in Bengal in 1905 after the first Partition forced him to envisage an art-form with a sense of a Muslim identity. Another disciple of Abanindranath Tagore was Nandalal Bose (1883–1966) who in turn, while at the experimental Bengal School of Santiniketan, taught K. G. Subramanyan (b. 1924). Subramanyan has been a source of inspiration for contemporary miniature painters through his writings. His essay, What is With Nostalgia? (1992:53–67) deliberates on the virtues and vices of using traditional forms in ways which avoid escapism and self-delusion, and yet are open to transformation through the personal. His concern with an individual interpretation of a traditional practice is precisely the aspect which separates Subramanyam from the orthodox transmission of miniature painting. For this reason, the perception of his role by his Indian students in Baroda contrasts with that held by Group O of their ustad. This is illustrated in the observation by a former pupil, the Indian artist Nilima Sheikh: ‘He was definitely as interested in exploring Indian craft traditions as in painting in oils. And his concerns were all about bridging these dichotomies’ (2001:66). The final phrase signifies the contrast in patriarchal attitudes. Whereas the orthodox teacher is preservationist towards the notion of craft, Subramanyan opens it up to experiment.6 Throughout their comments, Group X practitioners relate their highly-conscious use of tradition, one which attempts to subvert the tradition/modern paradigm through the instruments of parody and irony. This was the intention of the first artist to experiment with the practice: Shahzia Sikander:7 I like that tension, remaining free of being prescribed while using a very prescribed and structured form, miniature painting comes with a set of rules but it’s not only at a conceptual level that those rules are played out, it’s in the act as well, the act of violating those rules. (2001:71)

104

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Since no ‘original’ texts exist on the technique, as hereditary occupations were prevalent in the patriarchal society of India, information has been culled by art historians from the huge bureaucracy set up by the Mughal machine to deal with the scale of production. The only disciple to have written up his learnings was Moti Chandra (1949), whose small book I found in the Delhi Craft Museum library. This contained recipe-like lists of detailed techniques studied with his ustad, thereby breaking the patriarchal code to control knowledge by selected oral transmission.8 The reconstruction of the workshop model at the NCA under the patriarchal direction of Bashir Ahmed is a faithful copy of what he imagines the original ones to be. This image has been constructed through the reminiscences of his teacher, Ustad Sheikh Shujaullah, who in turn passed on memories of his own master, Ustad Haji Mohammed Sharif. ‘Ustad Haji Mohammed Sharif, the Pride of Performance Laureate, was on the faculty of the college and Sheikh Shujaullah continued the tradition of the Great Master.’ This eulogy is in the ‘Celebration Folio’ of reproduction miniatures made for the anniversary exhibition at the NCA in 2000. According to this text, although Haji Sharif descended from a line of court painters in Patiala, ‘there is little doubt that some of the original technique was lost before Haji’s grandfather took up the brush’ (Sirhandi 2000:3). By assuming the existence of an original technique, the myth of authenticity is sustained and the discourse on Mughal heritage now focuses on regret at its loss. This could be related to Walter Benjamin’s ideas on the affinity between romantic allegory and ruins: ‘[T]he premise being that something becomes an object of knowledge only as it “decays” or is made to disintegrate (analysis as decay)’ (Ulmer 1985:97). The mechanics of this reasoning are certainly echoed in the Orientalist discourse, whose evident romanticism correlates with certain attitudes towards the miniature practice. Post-Partition orthodox appreciation of miniatures maintains a poetic perspective. Chughtai, who claimed his lineage went back to Persian architects at the Mughal court and was acclaimed as the first ‘National Artist of Pakistan’ after Partition, was described thus: ‘Chughtai’s whole outlook is romantic . . . a logical evolution of Mughal miniature painting from the

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

105

illustrational and documentary to the lyrical and decorative’ (Ahmed 1954:18). Given the fact that Mughal imagery often contained scenes of blood and gore which were not particularly romantic, how did this benign interpretation evolve? My supposition is that the replacement of the ‘documentary’ by the ‘decorative’ is a strategy which has suited Pakistani dictatorships by its denial of content. It is precisely for this reason that the actual work the experimental artists are making now disturbs this vision by its retrieval of the ‘documentary’, an aspect I believe to be at the core of the medium, incited by the critic Geeta Kapur’s observation on the inspiration of miniatures for the Indian modernist painter, Amrita Sher-Gil: ‘[T]heir moments of wit, relief and pertinence and the possibility of direct address . . . turn them into contemporary chronicles’ (2000:10). The myth of tradition is supported by underlining the threat of its potential demise, as in the reiterated mutterings about it being an ‘endangered species’. Fabricating a ‘purist’ Mughal style through consensual discourse and official exhibitions is the prime tactic in promoting ‘authenticity’. Historical studies reveal the fantasy of this purist image by demonstrating the hybridity of the original practice. Such wily artifice recalls the re-writing of Islamic history ordered by Akbar in 1581 to identify his own projects with illustrious ancestors; the resulting ‘Akbar-Nama’ has ‘the unmistakable feel of propaganda’ (Okada 1992:20).

Tradition, orientalism and nationalism A demise of Mughal authority had been observed by the historian John W. Kaye in the nineteenth century; he called the situation a ‘political paradox’, whereby the Mughal ‘was to become a pensioner, a pageant and a puppet. He was to be a King, yet no King – a something yet a nothing – a reality and a sham at the same time’ (Kaye and Malleson 1892:4). This melancholy description could be applied to the dislocation of the miniaturist. His loss of courtly nomination as Mussawir (image maker) lead to his re-classification as a ‘“craftsman” or “artist designer” . . . a new creation, a person with no traditional place in the previous system, and, however influential it was hoped he might later become, he remained in practice, a pathetic outsider’

106

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

(Archer 1959:25). When the Emperor became a pensioner, the miniaturist became the pensioner’s discarded pet. With the fall of the Mughal dynasty, patronage for miniature painting was slowly lost to the Punjabi Pahari hills from Lahore, where the courtly workshops were replaced by commercial workshops more suited to the colonialist mercantile agenda. The miniaturist’s talents were now reduced to that of an interior decorator, a career which has earned an upwardly mobile status over the last century, but which was seen by the miniaturists themselves as marking a downward path. Paradoxically, his very ability to work on diverse surfaces befitted the ‘arts and crafts’ policy followed by J.L. Kipling as principal of the Lahore Mayo school. In keeping with other principals of colonial art schools in India, such as Havell and Birdwood, the aim was to implement progressive education policies for encouraging indigenous craft industries. If miniature painting was now classed as a craft, why then was it excluded from the curriculum during Kipling’s era? This can be interpreted as a token syndrome of the equivocal attitude so carefully constructed by the British administration towards indigenous art. Whilst promoting Indian ‘decorative’ design abilities as an economic counterpoint to the ‘fine art’ of the West, those in powerful positions were steadily collecting Indian art, as proven by current accounts of museology (Tarapor 1984; Guha Thakurta 1992; Mitter 1994). This double discourse relates to the growing shift within the Orientalist movement, one which was transferring its interests from the academic and economic towards political engagement with nationalist swadeshi ideology. Two influential Orientalists at the turn of the century were E.B. Havell (1864–1937) and A.K. Coomaraswamy (1877–1947), both fervent arts-and-crafts idealists who fused their hatred of modernism with socialist activism, duly reflecting the spirit of William Morris (1834–96).9 Havell’s intention, as Superintendent of the Government School of Art in Calcutta (1890–1906), was to make ‘Indian art the basis of all instruction’ (Guha Thakurta 1992:149). His early years concentrated on encouraging the Indian traditions of decorative arts by removing the Western academic fine-art teaching from the curriculum. This was influenced directly by Kipling’s pioneering

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

107

policy at the Mayo school in Lahore (1875–93), where his training for artisans saw the handicrafts and ornamental design of India as being the major ‘living art’ forms. Students were required to draw local buildings in the Old City and to draft designs for crafts, calligraphy and buildings.10 However praiseworthy this desire to break down the distinction between fine and applied arts, there is a contradiction in Indian design initially being reformed with scant reference to indigenous models of art: Indian art forms in painting, sculpture and architecture were not as worthy of inspiration as those informing craftsmanship and design. ‘Fine art’ was classified as European and ‘decorative’ as Indian, thus creating a dichotomy which had never previously existed. By the mid-nineteenth century, race theories had indeed entered the branch of western Orientology called Indology.11 Mughal architecture was defined as being constituted of both Persian and Hindu influences, the latter represented as fundamental, corresponding to the new Orientalist vision of a pure Hindu civilisation, untainted by the ‘desecration and destruction’ suffered under Mohammedan times in a place like Benares (Havell 1905:76).12 Gradually the united call for an ‘authentic’ Indian art on the part of both the new Orientalists and the swadeshi movement led Havell to revise his former ideas, modelled on South Kensington art training, and to shift attention to the living traditions of ‘imagination and spirituality’ to be found in Indian fine art and aesthetics.13 Earlier Orientalist discourse held that the period of courtly art under the Mughals in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could not qualify as great art because it was secular and lacked the ‘divine ideal’ of Hindu and Buddhist art (Havell 1908:225–6). A later text argued that since the Persian elements ‘were transformed by the greater force of existing Hindu traditions’ (Havell 1908b:182–3), Mughal art could be classified as Indian. According to Coomaraswamy, however, Mughal style needed to be combined with the technique and sentiment found in Rajput painting in order to qualify as a wholly ‘original, “Indian” school of painting’ (Coomaraswamy 1910:318–9). Apparently enthused by the coincidence between personal and official taxonomic shifts, Havell then decided to designate Akbar,

108

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the Mughal emperor famed for his enlightened policies and grand ateliers, as an ‘honorary Aryan’. This was because Akbar upheld the great synthesis of Indian cultures, one which followed the lesson of Indian art history, ‘making Indo-Aryan traditions the central pillar of the Empire’ (Havell 1918:ix). Havell totally rejected the British bias against Indian art, epitomised by Birdwood’s denial of the existence of ‘fine arts’ in India, comparing a Buddhist statue to a ‘boiled suet pudding’.14 Havell’s defence of such mood changes relied on the triad of tactics familiar to British colonialism: ambivalence, denial and self-depreciation. He now decreed that it was due to ignorance and incapacity that Westerners were unable to understand the spirituality of Eastern aesthetics: ‘[It] shines brightest at the point where we cease to see and understand it’ (1910:2). The interest in recounting Havell’s fitful fluctuations lies in their primary cause: the Mughal miniatures which he ‘discovered’ and collected for the school gallery from 1896 onwards. These miniatures he felt would provide excellent instruction for Indian art students, alongside examples of indigenous metalwork, textiles and architecture.15 To lead India back to her past by way of an ‘ingenious concept of Indian-ness which legitimises British rule in India’ is one way in which Havell’s pedagogical project has been described (Jamal 2001:21). Jamal argues clearly that Havell’s policies insidiously served the colonial project, but his insistence that this was set to ‘reduce Indian-ness to the moment of the Indo-Aryan’ is contradicted by Havell’s evident celebration of Mughal art, witnessed by his recommending Abanindranath Tagore to ‘emulate’ Mughal miniatures as an example of Indian tradition.16 ‘Why then did I agonise so long about finding proper indigenous material to emulate?’ (Tagore 1971:157–8).17

Discursive links Parallels between the ambivalent nature of the colonialist and postcolonialist discourses in art education are to be found in various agents’ discursive subject positions towards tradition.

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

109

The activists of nationalism were constantly at odds with the conflict between their education based on Western aesthetic canons and their desire to make a new indigenous art. In many ways, the reasons for the tension within current training in miniature painting and practice could well be compared to the Orientalist context. The early Bengali nationalist defence of Indian art, written in 1874 by Srimani, was dedicated to his English art teacher, Locke, who had advocated looking at Indian antiquities. This fact provokes Partha Mitter’s sardonic observation: ‘How ironic, in a period full of unintended ironies, that the appreciation of Indian art by the Indian elite was kindled by European teachers’ (1994:224). From various accounts it would seem that both Indian nationalists and British Orientalists were highly disconcerted by their bilingual art education.18 Writing in particular on late-nineteenth-century Bengal artists, Guha Thakurta describes their frustration in having to compete for patronage with European artists. Copies or engravings of ‘Old Masters’ were highly valued by the Bengal bourgeoisie as examples of classical fine art, imitating the tastes of European connoisseurs and so magnifying their social status. ‘This dichotomy in their position – this gap between aspirations and possibilities – was, to a large extent, inherent in the very structure of the training out of which they emerged’ (Guha Thakurta 1992:57). The issues which perturbed the early Indian nationalists are almost identical to those discussed by young Pakistani miniaturists and Mitter’s comment on the former could be applied to the latter: Ought Indian subjects not to be depicted in an academic style at all then? Was classical naturalism not a universal language? . . . these questions bothered early nationalists, creating a love-hate relationship with western art, and gave rise to many inconsistencies. (Mitter 1994:228) Nationalist allegories were read into Rajput miniatures of chivalrous narratives from the medieval period, and continuity in tradition was read into the neo-miniature paintings by Tagore and others of the Bengal school. In the nostalgic words of Nivedita:19 ‘We forgot the long period that had elapsed between the one group and the other, and

110

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the long painful search for the right end of the thread that had been lost. It has been found again.’ (The Modern Review 1910:410–11) The Mayo School of Art was embedded in Orientalist discourse. Its first Principal, John Lockwood Kipling (1874–94),20 manifested a strong interest in the Vedic shastras. The second Principal, Percy Brown (1899–1909), Indian art critic who wrote in detail about the Mughal imperial workshops,21 was interested in exploring the ancient aesthetic theories of Bharati.22 When Surendranath Gupta arrived as Vice-Principal in 1910, he brought with him an Orientalist baggage of mysticism, nationalism, Pan-Asian techniques and folk art, having been inspired by the Tagore dynasty at Santiniketan.23 Curiously enough, none of this pedagogy was ever mentioned in all my time spent working at the NCA. Secondary-school textbooks, shown to me by students, demonstrated how pre-Partition history was re-written to fit the nationalist ideology, but it was surprising to find a similar sense of amnesia within an institute of higher education. This was made particularly explicit by an event at the school. In a conference on art education, held to mark its 125th anniversary in November 2000, notions of tradition were spelt out by several of the older teachers and honorary speakers from the Lahori intelligentsia. Ideas of universal values and eternal principles were loosely referred to in diverse interpretations. Because of the college’s historical link to the Bengal School of thought and its underlying Orientalism, the lack of historical references in these speeches was surprising. Yet the language used around the ‘traditionally spiritual’ purpose of art was almost identical to that found in the Orientalist texts. I quote from a speech made by an architect renowned in Lahore for his vernacular restoration work: The vast reservoirs of everyday knowledge of the ‘villager’, his practices and skills, should be re-invested in the purpose of art, in order to support man’s spiritual quest . . . by reminding him of his role and function in this life, by pointing to his true goal and by illuminating the way to that goal. (Mumtaz 2000) Modernity was repudiated in his discourse as a Western materialist

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

111

invention, seen to have arisen during the European enlightenment with the aim of reducing philosophy to a meaningless game of semantics. Mumtaz concluded by saying that since high-tech industrial processes have ‘devastated our social infrastructure’, the logical solution for art education was to return to the study of traditional crafts and indigenous materials.24 Such a discourse, pronounced in an art school designed by the British within an arts and crafts/Orientalist perspective, was greeted by certain factions as a just reclamation of the ‘authentic’ traditions of the institution. By others, in subsequent discussion, it was hesitatingly interpreted as a form of subaltern rhetoric, embodying an indigenous stance of resistance to Western globalisation. The similar conclusion of these two apparently opposing arguments reveals how hegemony works in paradoxical ways. Recovering and playing with tradition involve hegemonic tactics which can be both resistant and reactionary (Gramsci 1971:55–60; Habermas 1985:3–15). An important point to make here is that in between these two reactions was the view, expressed by the few outspoken critics, that the discourse was an example of the growing neo-conservativism of certain intellectuals who have renounced communism to embrace Islam.25

The traditional art course The ‘traditional’ architect quoted above was an invited lecturer on a new course created for the MA programme in Fine Art aiming to provide a South Asian art history. This seemed an excellent project for the new MA students, given the fact that the art history taught on the BA course was wholly Western, modelled on that of British art schools in the 1950s. The new course was therefore greeted with pleasurable expectancy. It was announced that it was to be in the charge of an American specialist (a professor on a Fulbright fellowship) because there were no equivalent Pakistani art historians.26 There were to be invited professionals from the worlds of the traditional arts, including classical music, dance and calligraphy, as well as miniature painting. In the official brochure for the course, the interpretation of tradition reflected an orthodox, neo-fundamentalist perspective:

112

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Tradition is about reality, not in the form of gadgets but via a different construct. The concept is a hierarchical one where the idea is higher reality, perfect, absolute and unintelligible. Tradition is the idea of virtue and goodness. It carries with it the divine qualities such as humility and thus traditional art enlightens the soul. Defined in terms of opposition in the text, the ‘modern’ artist is assumed to follow individual, materialist desires, which constantly change with time, whereas the traditionalist is part of a universal collective whose belief in the divine source subjugates both the ego and any subjective propositions which might interfere with the divine source. The texts were again identical to the Orientalists’ rhetoric in their projection of tradition as an idealised, abstract and mystical utopia. They echoed the dualist vision which reduces philosophy and aesthetics to an opposition between East and West. The new MA course took an ethnographic turn with a project for each student to select a ‘Traditional Practitioner’ for an ‘Art Practice Placement’ during the holidays. This proved quite difficult to set up, particularly for miniature practice, as there remained only one active workshop in the old city (see Chapter 5). Others chose to study in calligraphy, pottery, woodwork, metalwork and goldsmiths’ workshops, while one went to learn how to fabricate Shi’a ceremonial decorations. The course brochure made it clear that such engagements with traditional craft were to be experienced as an alternative art practice to the existing Western, hegemonic trends of art institutes. Students were asked to present an ethnographic account of the experience in both written and visual media, alongside examples of their work made according to the traditional methods. The tension around this component of the course arose from the generational clash of experiences, which produced the most irrational consequences. On one side were the teachers, who had been active during the times of resistance to the Islamicist regimes but who now appeared to be back-tracking towards orthodoxy. On the other were the students, keen to learn of their heritage but wary of Orientalist leanings, perceived as deriving from Western exoticism.

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

113

The students’ reaction to the project was highly critical on many counts. First, they shared the arguments raised against the recent globalised mode of artists’ workshops or residencies: that because of the absurdly short period of time spent on them, they are seen as an exercise in cultural tourism rather than as any intended ‘participant/ observer’ fieldwork of an anthropological nature.27 The second argument was that studying art at MA level was supposed to raise critical awareness of cultural differences, whereas the orientation of the South Asian course was towards a lesson in how to respect the cultural heritage. As one student wrote: Art presented here with its monolithic agenda as traditional seems to me like a burden or a kind of protective measure towards tradition by giving the student a capsule of tradition as an antibiotic to heal the mind infected with modernisation. (Syed) Her report points to the third argument, raised by many of the students, that there was a paradox in the fact that the faculty planning the new course had been trained in Western institutions, and included a conceptual artist of long-standing feminist resistance to the male-dominated art-world.28 In her MA dissertation, Tradition and the Modern Pakistani Artist, Syed asks which characteristics classify an art form as Pakistani. She cites a work by the painter Rashid Rana, entitled in English and Urdu across the canvas: What is so Pakistani about this Painting?’ (2001). Rana’s imagery engages a parody of ‘. . .the calligraphy-in-oils favored in the Zia years . . . (and) also uses the found object of Karachi pop . . .’ (Singh 2005:21). In another work entitled, in English and Urdu, Art History Lessons (2001), he replays the famous painting by Courbet, The Studio, but instead of a palette, the artist is holding a takhti, the painted wooden board on which all school-children learn to write with chalk. As in the Fine Art department production over recent years, many of the miniature themes are about parodying Western art history in ways which reveal their questioning of the nature of their own education process. The reality in Syed’s view is that hybridity

114

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

runs throughout Pakistan’s history and ‘invented heritage’. She cites Jyotindra Jain, the Indian historian and former director of the Craft Museum in Delhi, who defends craft traditions as a contemporary art form in a very different way from that proposed by the new course.29 In his inspiring talk at the NCA,30 Jain stated: ‘Far from being a static entity, traditional craft practice today can function, by modern intention and individual sensibility, as an innovative art practice, not as if in a primitive world in need of preservation, redemption and representation, but as one which has a contemporary existence, absorbing and responding to changing environments’ (Jain 2000). The essential critique by the students was that patronage of the traditional is a form of propaganda taught by a neo-colonialist enterprise: [I]nsistence on indigenous activities can parallel the ‘cultural shopping’ of western curators which is an obvious form of cultural imperialism . . . it is only those post-colonial discourses that use one’s own history in a propositional way that intelligently encounter the irony of the situation. (Syed) Such lucid comments illustrated the students’ clear understanding of the complexities involved in appropriating traditional techniques with a critical awareness. Thus they immediately questioned the harshness of Araeen’s critique, (letter to author September 13, 2000) which he asked me to read aloud. Addressed to Pakistani artists in general, he accuses them of ignorance about their own modern history, a lack which leads them to turn to a remote past, ‘. . . because it’s an easy escape. Even when they try to ‘politicize’ their nostalgic longing for the past, by disrupting its purity, it is a naive, simplistic and facile exercise. The cultural transparency of most works, by which they are easily recognisable as Pakistani, Islamic or Oriental, betrays their superficiality and vacuousness.’ Araeen’s thesis that modernism in Pakistan was highly developed during Ayyub Khan’s military regime in the fifties and sixties is a worthy one, and certainly needs further critical investigation, but to leap to the conclusion that current postmodern practices, particularly

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

115

the miniature ‘movement’, are not only ‘bankrupt’ but “dangerous”, due to their dearth of modernist history, is to deny Pakistani artists the critical intelligence manifested in their practices. The reasons for such epistemological antagonism between indigenous and diasporan artists are complex and will be revisited in Chapter 6.

The language debate My experience of these MA seminars was limited by their decision to perform them in Urdu. Apart from the political correctness of this strategy, it proved curiously frustrating for everyone. This is partly due to the confusion of several conditions: the institutional policy of English-medium art education, the varied levels of both English and Urdu literacy in the student body. The language issue is probably the biggest dilemma in higher education in Pakistan: it highlights class differences, and for the less-privileged students increases learning difficulties. The latter group is evidently in the minority at the NCA – the majority of the students are middle-class urbanites from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, but there are increasing numbers of students coming from regional and more remote areas in Sind and in the northern territories.31 A sense of alienation arose from my poor Urdu, and certainly compelled me to recognise the discomfort of the students, so often expressed in their agonised facial expressions or body language during the English-medium classes in art history.32 I interpreted my own situation as a form of deserved poetic justice, which added a layer of guilt to my scepticism about an education system which prolongs the imbalances of colonialism. Subject formation within a post-colonialist institution such as the NCA appears to reproduce the hegemonic process of colonial pedagogy, whereby the student was obliged, according to the ideological rule-book of the British ‘civilising mission’, to learn English. Language and culture were tools in the political machinery of a colonial administration which devalued indigenous literature and art in the name of a superior Western education, and which ‘became a mask for economic and material exploitation’ (Loomba 1998:85). It seems such tools are still in place: a recent Home Office paper on immigration entitled

116

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

‘Enforcing the Rules’ (2007) states: ‘Britain is a country where people work hard, speak English and play by the rules.’ That this strategy of interpellation was a form of political control has been analysed in Foucauldian discourse theory. These views are contested by a critique which argues that they imply a passive reception on the part of South Asian subjects, ignoring their participatory or resistant reactions to such manoeuvres.33 Are there any signs of such resistance at the NCA? To teach a class in Urdu may be perceived as a sign of subaltern resistance, but this view underestimates the complexity of the social context in the college. It involves class and linguistic overlaps as well as hierarchies in ways which challenge certain propositions in colonial discourse theory. The diversity of vernacular languages across Pakistan has been subordinated to the official language of Urdu, which many regional students find difficult. The local dialect of Lahore is Punjabi, source of traditional poetry and songs, hence officially discredited as ‘popular’. One student on the MA in Fine Art was from a rural village in Sind; bright, and apparently highly articulate in Sindhi, he had difficulty in expressing himself in either Urdu and English, let alone in writing essays in English.34 This was seen as a disadvantage, and led to his being eventually deprived of his MA because, in spite of his extremely interesting practice as a painter, he failed in theory. His case exposes the difficulties in acquiring the necessary cultural capital: fluent English literacy, demanded by two dominating institutions – the academy and the global artworld. His misfortune was due to two factors. Whereas the first was a familiar given – his lack of family ‘cultural capital’ – the second reason lay in his ‘inefficiency’ in terms of conventional socialisation: his incapacity to play not only the official game but also the game of unwritten rules. Access to extra language tuition also seemed to depend on the student’s skills in social mobility. Eight years on, notwithstanding his poor language skills, this artist’s social skills have blossomed, due to his success in the global art-world. Many students from Lahore spoke to me about their love for their mother-tongue, Punjabi, spoken at home and sustained with passion by a small group of poetry lovers who meet every week to read and chant Punjabi songs.35 In the face of academic pressure there have

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

117

been demands to write in the vernacular, met by the predictable response of ‘Sorry, but we must play by the rules’. In terms of language, this situation typifies the concept of ‘linguistic utopia’ conceived by M.L. Pratt, whereby the fiction of a homogeneous ‘speech community’ creates a dominant model of a language spoken by players sharing the same rules. Questioning this ‘utopian’ myth, Pratt poses a counter-model representing the reality of speech situations, which, she argues, are partially shared on account of hierarchical relations and misunderstandings. This model, which she names as ‘linguistics of community’, focuses on how language can work across rather than within social differences of class, culture and gender (Pratt 1977). Such conditioned attitudes reveal how much the colonial sociology of rule has been embodied into Pakistani self-conception. Division into religious and ethnic groups was the instrument for control of communal diversity in colonised India (Cohn 1987; Dirks 1987; Pandey 1990), but the institutional hegemony of the English language has become an indigenised discipline in decolonised Pakistan. Since politico-religious tensions have been accentuated by the ongoing conflict between ‘les soeurs ennemies’, India and Pakistan, it might be pertinent to compare negotiations of ‘cricket diplomacy’ with those of ‘art diplomacy’. Locked into a love-hate scenario worthy of ‘opera-bouffe’, the siblings re-enact this on the cricket pitch: ‘Cricket matches between India and Pakistan are thinly disguised national wars’ (Appadurai 1996:109). This ‘simulacrum of warfare’ on the cricket field is very different from the readily concerted dialogue between the two countries in the field of art. Is this because of the gendered state of cricket? Perceived as male-dominated both in its practice and in spectatorship, cricket has even been described as an erotic aspect of nationhood: ‘[T]he erotic pleasure of watching cricket for Indian male subjects is the pleasure of agency in an imagined community, which in many other areas is violently contested’ (ibid:111). I would argue that the erotic pleasure of both making and looking at art is also the pleasure of agency in an imagined community, but one which has nothing to do with ideas of nationhood or violence, particularly concerning the artists in the experimental group of this study. However,

118

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

where nationalism becomes part of discursive subjectivity, it may be said that art, like cricket, can link gender fantasies to the concept of nation. This was the case in the early stages of Indian nationalism, which used imagery of Hindu goddesses, fusing images of ‘nation’ with the ‘feminine’ and the ‘sacred’. Like a woman’s body, art was seen as ‘the ultimate site of virtue, stability, the last refuge of freedom’.36 Cricket, in both India and Pakistan, was liberated from its ‘Victorian value framework’ by the indigenisation of patronage and by spectacular mediatisation, but no such support was given to art in Pakistan. The reasons for this imbalance are gender-orientated but, paradoxically, for entirely opposing perspectives. The apparently ‘virile nationalism’ inspired by cricket is simply not matched by aesthetic virtues, even those tinted with a Mughal hue, since the official cultural policy has been to degrade art as a ‘feminine’ domain (Hashmi 2002:4) – a designation which may appear rosecoloured in the West but is far from connoting ‘sacred’ in Pakistan society. Cricket, however, is sacrosanct, and the recent attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore (March 2009) has left a black hole in Pakistan’s psyche, and galvanised its bellicosity towards India. One analogy between training in cricket and in art – ‘Not unlike the principles of the Bauhaus, form here closely follows (moral) function’ (Appadurai 1996:90) – today seems obsolescent. From observing the mechanics of the social structure at the NCA, it became clear how much the hierarchy is constituted by this split between linguistic groups. Although Urdu is used by many, the colonial legacy results in the ongoing subordination of the ‘English illiterate’ by the privileged players in the game. Signs of a community linguistics ‘working across differences’ were observed in the canteen and courtyard, where common styles of dress and music, of jeans and bangra rap, proclaimed a sharing of taste. But as in any Western collectivity, the similarities were superficial. The challenge to hegemony optimistically suggested by youth subcultures is maintained at the level of signs: ‘For the sign community, the community of myth consumers, is not a uniform body, as Volosinov has written, it is cut through by class’ (Hebdige 1979). It is hard to see, for the moment at least, any pluralist possibilities by which the consensus could be

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

119

fractured, in a context where hegemony has won continuing rule for a particular class. The hope that the ‘moving equilibrium’ (Gramsci 1971) may one day be upset lies inscribed in the coded signs of the radical miniatures.

Reflections My argument has been that the very tension arising from the deviant practice of Group X generates a potential energy. To advance this proposition, it is worth investigating the articulation between the technique of miniature painting and certain interpretations of tradition where ritual is used. Tradition is often presented as a tautological concept: ‘A traditional believer sticks to his creed precisely because he is a traditionalist’ (Skorupski 1976:204). According to the cognitive anthropologist Pascal Boyer, there exists no theory of tradition in social anthropology. Tradition would seem to exist because people believe it; thus what matters is what people believe to be ‘original’. Tradition is ‘a type of interaction which results in the repetition of certain communicative events’ (Boyer 1990:23). ‘In its . . . elementary sense it means simply a traditum: anything which is transmitted or handed-down, from the past to the present . . .’ (Shils 1981:12). As the sociologist Shils underlines, nothing is clearly known about what is handed down nor about the time or the manner of its transmission, let alone the validity of its existence. ‘The decisive criterion is that, having been created through human actions, through thought and imagination, it is handed down from one generation to the next’ (ibid). Particularly fascinating in the light of this study is his affirmation that in any practice, the actual concrete action is not transmitted since a performance, once enacted, is over. ‘The transmissible parts are the patterns or images of actions which they imply . . . and the beliefs requiring, recommending, regulating, permitting or prohibiting the re-enactment of those actions.’ (ibid) Thus tradition is perceived to be self-evident through the ‘test of time’, when in fact the test of time has been impossible to prove (Boyer 1990:22). It is similar to belief in the sense that its implicit

120

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

habit of mind takes things to be true or granted by common assent; therefore tradition, like belief, is not a state of mind but a ‘disposition’ (McGinn 2005). In Bourdieu’s terminology, tradition constitutes ‘habitus’: ‘That set of structuring principles and common schemes of perception and conception that generates practices and representations’ (1977:83).37 Transmitted orally, as with the miniature practice and much ritual chanting, it becomes a view of knowledge through a shared framework, a consensual mode through the conservation of a model. The ‘original’ model is reproduced through complex processes of acquisition, memorisation and social interaction, which can only be theorised by ‘suggestive illustration’ rather than by definitive proof. As shown by the assumption of certain religious texts as ‘self-evident’ or ‘natural’, traditionalism is not explicit but rather ‘a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past . . .’ (Hobsbawm 1983:1). Throughout his various examples, Hobsbawm underlines how invention occurs in cases where patterns or myths have been lost, particularly in rapid transformations of society. Such loss can be accidental or deliberate, not unlike memory which, according to neurologists, functions anarchically; thus ‘it is not necessarily true to state that “what people want to remember is reproduced”’ (Molinie 1998:167). The anthropological puzzle, according to Boyer, is to discern how specific situations acquire a special psychological salience and then to understand how ‘these different processes of memorisation contribute to the reiteration or repetition of the interaction considered’ (Boyer 1990:120). The notion of inculcating tradition by repetition in the miniature practice opens up two contrary paths. The one is a conventional use of copying, where repetition can lock the mind into closure and where the fetishisation of the process leads to reproduction – as sought, for instance, by the teaching within madrassas, where change is abjured. The other path lies in framing the convention of copying within a conscious appropriation, resisting reproduction: ‘Ritual focuses attention by framing; it enlivens the memory and links the present

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

121

with the relevant past . . . ritual recognises the potency for disorder’ (Douglas 1966:65). The concept of knowledge as practice seems selfevident in miniature practice, partly because of the oral transmission and partly due to the tradition of learning by copying. This method is ingrained in the transmission of practice in Asian culture, whereby learning texts by heart precedes understanding, just as copying ‘masterworks’ teaches that technique precedes expression. The basis for both is repetition, the fundamental characteristic of ritual and a common factor in any kind of traditional practice. Enquiry into rituals tends to posit similar explanations for repetition: its use to focus concentration as an empowering quality is linked to a rational idea of cohesiveness around a cultural model, as if there is an underlying object, essence or world view to be maintained by the act of repetition. The theoretical approach thus functions through the notion of conserving a model, whereas the process in actual ritual depends rather on performance.38 The study of two kinds of repetition, intentional or independent of will, produces Boyer’s hypothesis that it is interaction through the repetition of utterances and gestures which is passed down, not the ‘deeper’ underlying notions or meanings. It is the details of stories, their surface properties in other words, which appear to be repeated in traditional practices rather than any reformed conception. Thus it is the reiteration of circumstances and the repeat of operations in ritual which make it possible to imagine a causal link between performances. Consequently, the cognitive paradox of initiation rites shows that ordeals are undergone to make the neophyte ‘competent’ or successful, but that they are experienced without comprehension; in the same way, utterances are inherited or ‘inspired’ without necessarily any ‘theoretical’ knowledge about the topic. It can be felt to be true because a causal link is assumed to exist between the state of affairs and the event of the performance: ‘Tradition hovers between creation of partial memory and the palimpsest of myth’ (Severi 1993:357). I suggest that the orthodox attitude towards miniature practice plays on this imagination of a causal link with the Mughal tradition, through mythical palimpsests of partial truths: those evoked by the actual images through their continual recopying. In this way the

122

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

representation replaces the performance, partly because oral transmission has been replaced by ‘selected’ interpretation. Another way of examining the situation could refer to linguistics.39 Derrida’s differentiations on speech posit inward speech or solitary discourse against effective speech or discourse (Derrida 1973:70). In contrast to the lack of communication implicit in inward speech, indicative speech is dialogical and temporal. By going beyond the boundary of subjective representation of inner speech, it meets the external and encounters space, and from this encounter comes a presence. To frame the ‘speech’ effects of the two groups in this study, I would argue that the orthodox practice of Group O is concerned with a subjective representation of time in an ahistorical sense, based on partial memorisation and the refusal of the outside which results from inward speech. The indicative speech of Group X opens up to the ‘constitutive outside’, ‘to a “space in’’ time, it is time’s pure leaving-itself, it is the “outside-itself” as the self-relation of time . . .’ (Derrida 1973:86). The practice of Group X rejects the orthodox discourse on tradition as based on false consciousness. The artists are evidently aware of the ‘lack’ of theoretical study, perceived as arising from a refusal of history and thus of change. Their discursive positions reveal a consciousness of a practice/performance which is historically situated; this is comparable to Derrida’s notion of indicative speech by way of its dialogical approach, a practice which moves outside and gains knowledge through a dialectical reflection. Concerning the knowledge ‘passed down’ about the colonialist period and the image of Orientalism, it would seem important to question the ways by which an essentialist representation of their discourse is the one first transmitted in many theoretical texts, and secondly transmitted by way of reproducing the discourse encountered in certain contemporary contexts, as those at the NCA, described above. The reductive opposition of modernity and tradition, attributed not only to the Orientalists but also to the nationalist groups in Bengal, has been seriously questioned by recent historians. Anticolonial resistance had many diverse forms of contestation, which were far more complex than the dichotomy represented as being a simple opposition between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Colonial ambivalence

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

123

was carefully fostered to create confusion amongst the subaltern, as demonstrated by the crafty masquerade of the Mughal ‘khelat’ ritual, subtly converted from a symbolic into an economic exchange which became contractual, thus undermining the indigenous notion of ruling by incorporation. Through a combination of official ethnography and contractual treaties which supplanted fundamental Indian ideas of social order based on cosmological concepts and ritual action, the British officials manoeuvred ‘an incompleteness and contradiction in the cultural-symbolic constitution of India’ (Cohn 1987:641). However the resistance to Western modernity and colonialism was not created on exclusivity or cultural difference in the reductive ways suggested by certain historians.40 There was interplay and overlapping in the movements of reform and revival, as witnessed by the remarks of the nationalist activist Aurobindo Ghose in his sixth essay, ‘New Lamps for Old’: [T]he most important objective is and must inevitably be the admission into India of Occidental ideas, method and culture; even if we are ambitious to conserve what is sound and beneficial in our indigenous civilization . . . but at the same time we have a perfect right to insist . . . that the process of introduction . . . shall be judicious, discriminating . . . we are not to take it haphazard and in a lump: rather we shall find it expedient to select the very best . . . and to import even that with the changes and reservations which our diverse conditions may be found to dictate . . . (1893/1974) His critique presages the ideas of deconstructive analysis, whereby reality as ‘authenticity’ or ‘truth’ is shown to be a function of enunciation within a field of use at a given time, rather than a ‘given’ (Foucault 1971:10). The above descriptions reveal that the orthodox practice of Group O assumes a discourse on tradition by creating the illusion of a fixed model. This paradigm of a myth offers an image of a stable domain, preserved and free from social changes, an illusion created by its ‘apparent’ absence of history, an absence which is actually simulated,

124

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

either through amnesia or through distortion and ignorance on the part of the teacher, since this is not an ‘ahistorical’ culture. In terms of structural anthropology this behaviour resembles that of a ‘cold’ society such as that described by Lévi-Strauss, where ostensible lack of written history uses myth as a tool for memory, a means of adapting and structuring crises (Lévi-Strauss 1964:71). Precisely because of this paradigm of the myth, an illusion is created of an absence or loss of history. This provides ideal terrain for inventing the tradition which is desired and suitable. Students repeatedly discussed the orthodox concern with preserving the Mughal heritage, described by one as ‘the black man’s burden’. The fact that along with calligraphy, it has been nominated as symbolic of Pakistani identity provoked interrogation of the political ideology implicit in the choice of an art form which had only flourished under courtly patronage. Again this is neatly questioned by Syed: I think Dr. Mubarrak Ali’s argument (that it was never a popular art form until it was forced into the stage of copy in the Bazaar workshops whence it eventually reached the ordinary people) supports my argument, which is that miniature practice in its pure and original form was exclusively done for the privileged class and so what are these present artists doing when they make these miniatures, catering for the western market and other elite privileged groups using it for their purposes? So both are fulfilling demands of a certain audience, which is elite, rich, ready to pay the price. There were many comments of this sort expressed, and the evident concern with the eliteness of the audience will be re-examined in the chapter on critical reception. It was only a few students who dared hope that work by members of Group X might avoid a status-seeking audience, given its intended liberation from the orthodox path, ‘making it an effective art form with local and social political awareness’ (Syed). The politicisation of the students occasionally expressed itself in a performative way, through satirical disguise in end-of-term charades. The lack of a student union reflected the depoliticalisation to which

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

125

young Pakistanis have been reduced. When I asked students why they had not participated in a popular march along The Mall against ‘Talibanisation’ (in May 2007), the general response was ‘What’s the use?’ Upward mobility is envisaged through acquiring cultural capital via education and socialisation (Bourdieu and Passeron 1977:99). Such a process of internalising and reproducing the cultural principles of those dominating the system would seem to correspond to the context in Lahore. The metaphor of game-playing conveys the mode of consumption of colonial discourse by those more equipped to play: the students possessing the linguistic and cultural capital of coming from a privileged family background: ‘The stiffness of a powerful established structure of life, with its own discursive games, its own “strong” languages, is what amongst other things finally determines the effectiveness of translation’ (Asad 1986:159). Tradition in miniature painting is precisely about the material practice, about technique. Without the ritual process, it would lose the ‘miniature’ denomination, an ongoing debate among Group X. They agree that ‘tradition survives through transformation’ (Durham 1993:11), in understanding that miniature painting is practised through a complex and hybrid historical continuity. Group X artists see the risks in the fetishism of technique when it is used in a nationalist discourse and a production which condenses tradition into the reproduction of a homogeneous style. A belief in tradition may therefore be seen to operate in both Groups O and X: while their conceptions are radically different, their actual performances have strong similarities, due to the repetition of technique. The making of the miniature involves a ritual in the sense that its very constraints serve either to sustain or to subvert the tradition. With Group O the subjective discursive position employs notions of an ‘invented tradition’ which can be linked to a belief in transcendental time based on nationalist ideology.41 The concept of a ‘natural’ state based on purity of blood, race and soil is upheld through mythical and mystical traditions. Habit is privileged over the rational rights of moral agents working towards social democracy. With Group X, the discourse evokes the creative version of ‘an imagined community’, one intent on the possibility of social transformation through freely constituted representation.

126

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

CAMEO 5 Khadim Ali The potent subject-matter in Ali Khadim’s work was generated by his experience as an Afghan confronting the Taliban regime. Born into an Afghanistani family of seven in the Hazara tribe, who had originally lived near Bamiyan, they were forced to flee to Quetta, where Ali Khadim’s father was a carpenter and musician; his mother, ‘a simple loving person’, was keen to see all her children educated, and had high expectations of his graduation from the NCA. In 2002 he said dolefully: ‘I don’t know how to fulfil her desires.’ Seven years on he is showing in the British Museum and has bought his parents a house in Karachi. His father had always supported his art studies: [H]e is totally into music which became sacred in our family, he sings Rumi’s poems and used to repeat Rumi’s saying that if you are closed to others you are closed to yourself, if you are open to others, you are open to yourself. He told me that parents are the reason for coming into the world and teachers are the way to grow up, so you have to respect them and they will open things for you. Khadim had heard about the miniature department whilst studying art in Tehran. Khadim recounted how the Hazaras, under the leadership of Abdul Ali Maza, had been part of the Northern Alliance, along with the Uzbekis and the Tajikistanis, who had been given guns by India and Iran to fight the Taliban. He described the persistent rivalry between the different ethnic groups in tough terms, blaming both their boorish and their cultivated behaviour on religious and social differences. The popular, Che Guevara-like image of Masood is honoured in one of Khadim’s miniatures by a genuine postage-stamp bearing his portrait stuck onto a corner: Masood’s Resistance (2003, Plate 24). I asked him how he had discovered miniature painting; he replied:

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

127

Miniatures came into Afghani culture from Persia. I know the poems and the pictures of the Shahnama by Firdowsi by heart, also the Safavid tradition, the pictures of Bihzad. All this came through household fabrics, motifs from miniatures were used on carpets and covers with Persian script, which is unknown here in Lahore. His family lost their home and workshop to the Taliban and fled to Quetta. Following the assassination by the Taliban of Abdul Ali Mazar, his sons, who had been Khadim’s classmates at school, went to Tehran. This led Khadim to seek a way of following them there, and he was soon to spend two years in the art department of Tehran University, working on traditional murals, the only public art tolerated under the Khomeini regime. Needing to find work he then spent time in Quetta working on reliefs for an army staff college. This he described as a grim experience, due mainly to the oppressive, controlling ambience but also because of the destruction of his father’s workshop, burnt down for a second time by the Taliban: My family lost everything again, and because there was no more building work, my father, as a carpenter, just got jobs renovating for only 100 rupees a day. We were four brothers and one sister and then the oldest brother went to Australia where he had to spend two years in a camp before getting a job as a factory labourer. I started teaching and got 2000 rupees42 per month, my dad was making about 3000 rupees per month so we had 5000 rupees for 6 people, all living in a very small, cold house. My parents spent whatever they earned on our education. Another brother got a scholarship to the Indus valley art school in Karachi, the other one could not get a scholarship so he went to find work to help support the family and got a job in a communications company for 8000 rupees per month. He sends back 3000 a month to the family, now my sister is trying for a scholarship to Beaconhouse University. When I asked him how he managed to study at the NCA, he replied

128

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

that he had a small stipend and that he taught Farsi to Iranian children in Lahore; he lodged in the hostel, and he had borrowed a lakh (approximately $1600/£1,000) from middle-class friends at the college, but above all he was trying to sell his paintings. Khadim was critical of the Lahori colleges, which he said contrasted poorly with those of Tehran where he felt there were higher levels of education and manners – ‘people are rude here, they abuse each other.’ I asked whether he felt this to be part of the discrimination against Afghans, as presented in certain Pakistani media complaints about the number of refugees. He said that there was resentment in the trading community because of their strong business sense, but that most Afghans remained very poor. He went on to regret the huge gap between the educated few in Afghanistan, ‘who go on to politics’, and the majority in the rural areas who remain ‘illiterate, crude and stupid, peasants and carpet sellers who are not even weaving the themes of resistance which they used to do’. His views on his compatriots seemed almost as harsh as his disparagement of students in Pakistan who, he said, had no respect for the real tradition of a master-student relationship, which is about learning and improving: to put faith into something and to rise up, not for money but for goodness, as my father taught me when he lost everything . . . he always said, no problem, why worry? In Quetta we have to know our neighbours, we share our problems together, here all is materialistic. He regretted the lack of theory and the lack of working with pigments, and intended to return to Iran to learn this.43 His love of the practice is based on a huge respect for the tradition of the medium: ‘I like the process very much, it makes you feel you are doing something in a very special way, by sheer concentration.’ His exquisitely painted series on the destruction of Bamiyan is possibly the only documented art work on this catastrophe. Similar to his mentor Qureshi’s practice, his work fuses the seductive with the disturbing. Works such as Bamiyan Series 1 and 11 (2003, Plates 25 and 26) and Roz-e-niyayesh (‘the day of worship’, 2003, Plate 27)

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

129

reveal his familiarity with the sites within a frame of tender yet bloody homage. As a child he used to play in the caves there, and had returned to ask the elders about previous destruction.44 He had later witnessed the massacre of the Hazaras near Bamiyan in 1998: ‘Friends of mine who said they were ‘Talibanic’ described the dead body of a Taliban as smelling like a rose, I saw dead bodies and they all smelt like shit.’ One of his works shows a field in deep crimson . . . soaked in blood. The destruction of Bamiyan in the name of Islam is totally stupid, a total mis-reading of the Koran. Media puts things into people’s minds, people who have never seen anything outside their village. I met Pakistanis who had joined the Talibans and who were taken prisoner by the Hazaras, they just wanted to be killed, they were starving. The answer, he says, lies in learning: ‘Schooling is sacred, to go through and then I feel my work is a form of revenge because when I am working I’m doing something against ignorance.’ In his recent series Rustam (2007, Plate 29), baroque surfaces of dense colour roll into fields of gold leaf, where framed fragments of calligraphy restrain his sensual figuration. Elaborate layering and interweaving of symbols refer to cultural loss. The story-telling tradition informs his narrative, as if he were painting his father’s tales, so I asked him what he thought about the miniature as a vehicle for political commentary, and he replied: Miniature painting should be used to express what one feels today, I don’t have any choice in my subject matter, romance has nothing to do with miniature work today, people who treat them in that way by copying the older style are doing it for the money. Our times are not romantic. I’m pre-occupied by the tough life my family has and I just want to help them. I’m ‘vomiting’ work at the moment. I want my art to be for the sake of all humanity, we Afghans have never had the chance of showing that we can do something, we were treated like animals by

130

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the Taliban. Now I want to explore the world and to show work without any discrimination as to its origins. Of this extraordinary group, perhaps Khadim Ali’s story is the nearest to the rags-to-riches legend: an upwardly mobile journey with regular pauses to assist others, somewhat like a passeur, exemplified by his workshops with children in Bamiyan, London, Fukuoka and Brisbane. By showing Afghan children’s drawings of their traumatic experiences, he opens up a dialogue, inviting other children to draw their responses, which he assembles into a montage such as Absent Kitchen II (2007, Plate 28), ‘showing the gaps which exist in globalisation, between the AK47s drawn by Afghani children and the robot dolls drawn by Japanese children’.

CAMEO 6 Hamra Abbas A contrast in tone, yet not in ambition, comes through in the personality of Hamra Abbas. She manifests her rebellious spirit through an institutional critique which mixes farce with wit, a familiar characteristic of strong Pakistani woman. Abbas was thoroughly educated in the miniature technique at the NCA before graduating in sculpture. Her superb crafting of ceramic objects echoes the rigour of her refined drawing. This mastery allows her to play diverse styles against each other with intelligence and grace. To link imagery with text has been one of her methods, recalling Dadaist object-poems. Since popular street-art has been a prime mover for many of the young artists, Abbas combines citations from pop with references to minimal art. Curiously it is the miniature technique which has provided the ideal vehicle for the photo-realist imagery she uses in a critique of the commodification of knowledge, such as Painters (2001, Plate 30) appropriated from a British academic textbook on life-drawing and functioning as a caricature of the classes still taking place in a postcolonial art institution.

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

131

Abbas has always shown a ‘cheeky-girl’ character, which manifested itself in her stunning range of glamorous shalwar kameez, changed twice daily to match her hairstyle. She constantly parodies herself as well as others through her great sense of fun, to ‘do’ the mad Anarkali market with her was a regular treat simply because of her witty rejoinders to the male ‘glad-eye’ gaze. The relative freedom from this in Europe was her greatest pleasure as she zipped around art shows in Amsterdam, Paris, Venice and Switzerland with extraordinary ease and aplomb. She had won a scholarship to Berlin to study in the acclaimed Hochschule für Kunst. Hamra’s views on the ‘crafting’ of the miniature technique are interesting, because of her present position outside the practice. She is astounded by the public reception given to the miniatures, due to the ‘mesmerising’ effect of their manufacture. She senses that this appreciation risks overshadowing other aspects, such as the content. Many viewers could not believe that her own miniature work was not photography, and this was the reaction to an installation she presented in Berlin, First Lesson in a Foreign Country (2003, Plate 31). The work uses mixed media, including miniature paintings, text, objects and sound to relate the experience of seven immigrants: she and six male Indian scientists who were all on research scholarships in Germany. Thirteen panels display paintings and text, with data on the first communal lesson in German, in which they had to chant the identity mantra which she inscribes under the portraits. These are done in meticulous photo-realist style, revealing her skill in miniature technique: the closely observed details of the correct moustaches, the nervous smiles, the early wrinkles, peculiar ears and greying hairlines are worthy of any Mughal portrait. All six scientists had happily sat for Abbas, who both drew and photographed them before making the paintings, a process which intrigued them. The difference between Abbas’s and Mughal portraiture lies in the pretext of the poses: whereas the strict Mughal conventions set the head of the noble in profile and the chest three quarters frontal, the six portraits by Abbas reproduce such poses according to the conventions of police identification photographs. The iconography, the social context and the subjectivity are radically different: instead of

132

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

imperialist confidence, there is subaltern unease. Their powerful effect is not simply due to the remarkable crafting, but is achieved through the coming together of two very different periods of realism, demonstrating a historical continuity in the naturalist representation of the subject. Whether the portraits have been produced for propaganda or surveillance purposes is precisely the question they pose. The text My Home Town is a copy of the one Abbas wrote on the German course, and is reproduced in the three languages she speaks: Urdu, English and German. Loudspeakers amplify the ticking of the three clocks placed in relation to her three cultures. Headphones transmit the BBC World Service, often considered a life-line by those in exile (as I realised when I was obliged to quit Pakistan for India just after 9/11), and even more so now, by Abbas: Since the present situation makes me feel even more vulnerable, in this fragile moment of world politics . . . I am trying to address the issues and anguish of my time and space, and since coming to Berlin, of my encounter with western culture. Hamra’s installations have become steadily more ambitious in scale and content, yet despite the diverse materials the work always includes a reference to her miniature practice. In the piece Please Do Not Step (2004, Plate 32) Abbas installed coloured panels hung with extracts from Biblical and Koranic texts alongside fragments of manuscript illuminations, painted in miniature style on wasli. The floor-space, covered in painted-paper geometric tiles, was collaged all over with the suitably ambivalent advice/warning of the title.45 Another recent piece, All Rights Reserved (2004), is a digital appropriation of the cover of the Padshahnama. It is an ironic comment on the astounding fact that this most hallowed Mughal manuscript is owned by the Queen of England, and rarely allowed out of her collection. Pin-Up (2004) is a provocative parody of the male gaze nurtured by the Lollywood film posters: intense examples of kitsch eroticism. Lessons in Love I (2005, Plate 33) transfers erotic imagery from Indian miniatures into three-dimensional, life-size figures in ceramic. This

IMAGINING NTRODUCTION OR I:NVENTING MINIATURETHE MANOEUVRES TRADITION

133

extraordinary piece is not simply a technical feat, it is an eminently courageous work. The yab-yum couple in sexual union suggests a longing for a sharing with the other, fixed in their common gaze beyond themselves. This is about an issue which concerns all Pakistani artists – in the words of Abbas, ‘the ever uncertain relationship between India and Pakistan, the two countries with so much to share and to claim, historically and geographically’. A video piece, Mughal Battle Scene Re-enacted (2006, Plate 34), made during her UK Gasworks residency, brilliantly recycles the original’s war-like postures by posing people, approached in London parks, with identical gestures and animating these onto a neutral background. Another video, The Making of British Portraits (2005), animates Arabic calligraphy across miniaturised pink and white faces, drawn exquisitely from her photographs of people in the park. God Grows on Trees (2008, Plate 35) is an installation of 99 exquisite miniature portraits of children she had photographed in madrassas: As an artist I see the world’s current fascination with madrassas as similar to the orientalist painters’ fascination with the harem in the nineteenth century . . . reduced and sensationalised . . . the digital print shows roadside trees covered in metal plates inscribed with the 99 various names of God . . . how ironic that with modern capitalism the number 99 is equally ubiquitous . . . on price tags. (Interview with Sharmini Pereira, 2009, Green Cardamom Catalogue) The same children reciting the Quran formed a sound installation in Read (2007). Abbas now shows regularly in prestigious exhibitions and biennales and is seen as a ‘major new talent’ by the global art-world. She is the prime example of a growing number of Pakistani women artists committed to sustaining their practice alongside their marriage.

134

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

135

4 MINIATURE PRACTICE AND AESTHETICS: SOCIAL AND VISUAL, LOCAL AND GLOBAL

Four points of view Whatever the motive, a hashiya (margin) was hardly a frame. It was part of the page, the folio, and as much an object of intimate appreciation as the image within it. The refined process of savouring a picture, so much a part of the tradition of Mughal connoisseurship, allowed literally no room for an indifferent response. (Sheikh 1997:22–3). One is not for Chinese, or western or representational art as a whole, but only for what is good in it . . . Quality in art is not just a matter of private experience, there is a consensus of taste. The best taste is that of the people who in each generation, spend the most time and trouble on art, and this best taste has always turned out to be unanimous within certain limits, in its verdicts. (Greenberg 1961/1986) It is instructive to glance at the case of art history, which, never having really broken with the tradition of the amateur, gives free rein to celebrating contemplation and finds in the sacred character of its object every pretext for a hagiographic

136

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

hermeneutics superbly indifferent to the question of social conditions in which works are produced and circulate. (Bourdieu 1977:1–2) The emotivist aesthetics of modernism does indeed stand in need of explanation and correction. But it remains true that the most interesting and difficult thing about the best works of art is that they are so good, and that we don’t know why or how (though we may know much else about them). The traditional tendency to mystify and to control the area of ignorance has certainly served some authoritarian and obscurantist ends. But unless we can somehow acknowledge the great importance of this limit on our explanatory systems, we might as well give up. What would giving up be like? I suspect that it would be like becoming a social anthropologist. (Harrison 1986:81) These citations pinpoint the trickiness of attempting to analyse the aesthetic aspects of the miniature practice from a perspective which hopes to meld art history and anthropological reflections. I confess to finding it difficult to follow Gell’s advice to anthropologists of art to adopt a ‘methodological philistinism . . . an attitude of resolute indifference towards the aesthetic value of works of art’ (1992:42), since I too sense that it would be like becoming ‘a social anthropologist’ (Harrison ibid) in the traditional sense . . . or would it be like replaying Duchamp’s game of readymades?1 ‘Duchamp’s demonstration that beauty was not a defining attribute of an object nominated as art, marks the dividing line between traditional aesthetics and art theory and practice’ (Danto 1997:84). The notion of ‘aesthetic value’ in contemporary Western art practice interrogates the concept of beauty in ways which have perturbed the practitioners and the critics of miniature painting, as will be shown from their comments. However, I think that, even if (like all good Dadaists) Duchamp threw out beauty as a bourgeois concept, he was not rejecting aesthetics so much as testing the conventions of art. The interesting factor with respect to the contemporary miniature is that it reveals a consciously postmodern interrogation of the

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

137

institutional discourse framing aesthetic conventions. In other words, the members of Group X are fully aware of the avant-garde testing of traditional aesthetic criteria,2 but believe that ‘interest’ need not exclude aesthetic play, even with ‘beauty’, in their terms.3 What exactly is the focus of such an investigation, in an anthropological study? This will be illustrated by reference to a wider concept of aesthetics – one which embraces the social context. An art-historical evaluation needs to frame the contemporary miniature within its inherent structure of indigenous aesthetics, and then to observe the fusion of this legacy with the influences from Western art history. Since it is precisely this fusion which both disturbs and enchants the reading of the works, it is important to give space to a study of the elements constituting their formal hybridity; this will be discussed below in relation to the Karkhana experiment. Yet social aesthetics appears at an early stage; as gracefully articulated by the painter/historian Gulammohammed Sheikh in his text on Mughal painting, the indigenous aesthetics of Indian art is not only complex in its iconography but also in its social and cultural contextualisation: The visual culture the artists grew up in was presumably as ephemeral and regenerative as the painted pictures. These would include traditions of body culture: garments and textiles, painted or printed, woven and stitched, food and cuisine, herbal and medicinal practices that used some ingredients and chemistry common to the techniques of painting4 and left their impact on visual sensibility. (1997:7)

Western art history and its shifts Like anthropology, art history was a product of nineteenth-century European rationalism. Categorising and classification were the tools of these two disciplines, both funded in India by capital resulting from colonialist politics and economics. Art history taught in the art schools built across the sub-continent was a product of the teacher training at the South Kensington art school, a pedagogy imbued with the aesthetic principles of the Victorian era. Later infiltrations

138

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

came with the various theories in modernism, from romanticism to avant-garde expressionism and abstraction. Above all it is the notions of ‘quality’, ‘beauty’ and ‘taste’ which have been melded together, from Kant through to Greenberg, and modernism in the normative academic discourse on art is undergoing a confused challenge from diverse postmodern perspectives. In the Western artworld of the nineteenth century, quality in art was related to beauty and evaluated by ‘taste’, which was acquired through experience; thus, in Kant’s view, art existed for a ‘disinterested’ aesthetic satisfaction, one which was autonomous and unrelated to the practical or to the political, arrived at through visual rather than cognitive appreciation. In reaction to this position, arguments disrupting the epistemological assumptions have ranged across a variety of philosophical and political terrains. The discourse perceived by Kantians as an essentialist reduction to ideology is the Marxist argument that aesthetic value is determined by the conditions of production, reception and appreciation. Within the Pakistani context, where indigenous visual culture is juxtaposed with sacred calligraphy with profane film posters, hybridity is far more of a key than presumed by historians. It may serve to refer to Bourdieu’s defence of a ‘popular aesthetic’ or ‘naive gaze’, one which rejects the disinterested, class-bound ‘aesthetic gaze’, seen as part of a ‘game of form’ from which certain people are excluded: ‘The habitus of the aesthetic gaze is engendered by the distance from material necessity, as a form of “pure gaze” it acquires dignity through detachment from action.’ (1984:183).5 However, the disinterested gaze fuelled the prevailing Kantian modernism, which influenced post-colonial art-school teaching in South Asia in the 1950s and 1960s. Such a gaze still regarded aesthetics as a question of beauty, and art criticism as the process of deciding what was good and what was not. One such critic was the American, Clement Greenberg, for whom questions around cultural diversity had no importance. Greenberg’s Kantian formalism held that appreciation of modernist (western) painting ‘. . . made it easier to appreciate traditional art or art from other cultures . . .’ (Danto 1997:93) He would only consider art from other cultures by comparing its ‘rightness of form’, an unchangeable quality which transpired more easily in abstract than

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

139

in representational art: ‘Abstract art is a wonderful way in which to learn to see art in general. You appreciate the Old Masters all the more once you can tell a good Mondrian or a good Pollock from a bad one’ (Greenberg 1961/1986–4:310) The social-historical approach influenced the ‘New Art History’, which broadened out to embrace post-structuralism, psycho-analysis and feminism.6 Defying academic scepticism, an inter-disciplinary approach set out to deconstruct the traditional discourse of art history. Hailed by postmodernists as a Foucauldian mission to reveal the cultural-economic relations behind academia, its lack of gender concern was profoundly criticised by feminist art historians.7 Even more shameful was the failure of historians to argue for representations of art history outside the Western hegemony. ‘Why has the history of twentieth-century art remained a white monopoly?’ asked the Pakistani artist, Rasheed Araeen, who set out to tell The Other Story by curating an exhibition under that title in 1989 and by founding the journal Third Text in 1987

The post-colonial context The essential Eurocentricity of even the New Art History has only recently been pointed up by researchers writing on art from continents outside Europe and North America.8 Up to this period the modernist mode linked modern art and primitivism, with affinities presented as proof of a universal formalism – an attitude seen by the American art critic Arthur Danto to ‘reek of cultural colonialism’ (1997:92). He felt that such formalism had laid the foundations for the sudden flourishing of multicultural art-shows at the end of the 1980s, in which a ‘concomitant cultural relativism replaced Kantian universalism. Critique from a different perspective asserted that ‘the energy of post-colonialism has been appropriated and stifled by the art establishment’ (Araeen 2000:3–21). The radical nature of post-colonial critique hit the art-world’s Achilles heel. As the commodification of art-making is so blatant in the global art-world, critics and anthropologists desperately seek to efface any traces of affinity with business. Danto aspires to combine

140

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

modernist essentialism with postmodernist historicism, confessing to being ‘too close to modernism’ to attempt criticism of artworks from culturally diverse origins; this, he implies, is a dangerously ‘pluralist’ route and one to be avoided.9 The anthropologist retreats from writing about aesthetic art: ‘The evaluation of particular works of art . . . is the function of the critic’ says Gell (1997:3), on the grounds that the project of appreciating indigenous aesthetics is another form of Orientalism, easing the assimilation of non-Western art objects into Western aesthetic art-appreciation. The art critic focuses on the specificity of the art object’s immediate context: ‘To see something as art requires something the eye cannot decry – an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an art world’ (Danto 1997:165). Gell looks with caution on this ‘institutional theory of art’ because of its ‘overtly metropolitan’ frame of reference which leads to Danto’s Hegelian distinction between artefacts and artworks. ‘Artworks can also trap eels as we have seen, or grow yams’ (Gell 1992:60). By disregarding the ‘complex intentionalities’ of functional artifacts, Danto denies their demand for a direct confrontation with art-making in a post-Duchampian art-world (Gell 1996:15–38). Nevertheless Danto and Gell share certain concepts. In spite of the former’s reluctance to view art as a cultural system, there is an approach in his texts which anticipates Alfred Gell’s anthropological theory of art. This appears in Danto’s discussion of the ‘style matrix’, a concept derived from T.S. Eliot’s essay: ‘Tradition and Individual Talent’ (1932). Danto outlines a vision of works of art forming an organic community, one which corresponds to Gell’s concept of considering art objects as persons. While Danto envisages artworks as releasing latencies in one another by virtue of their existence – ‘I was thinking of the world of artworks as a kind of community of internally related objects’ (1997:163) – Gell writes of the social interaction of objects ‘to account for the production and circulation of art objects as a function of a relational context’ (1997:10). Gell’s wariness about applying Western aesthetic principles to the art of other cultures is valid for any art forms which have a wholly autonomous, independent ideational system. Such a system may well have an aesthetic component which is totally unrelated to

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

141

Western aesthetics, an ‘aesthetic of place’ which is wholly indigenous in form and function, as Maquet described art in Japan.10 However, contemporary miniatures involve an aesthetic system which is consciously hybrid. Gell’s call to examine the social mobilisation of aesthetic principles through the artworks is one way of considering the visual effects of the miniatures. What is the ‘art-world’ they are addressing? In which social space are they circulating? Their actual space of production is an urban one, and the space of reception is also often metropolitan. The very manner of considering the miniatures as members of a migrant, cosmopolitan community might help in understanding their positive agency within a global art-world, how their performance brings about symbolic as well as economic capital (Collingwood 1965; Fabian 1986).

Hybrid pedagogies, social aesthetics and constructed communities The young miniaturists’ ways of seeing are heterogeneous and cross-bred, imbued with indigenous learning yet permeated with western doubts. Art making becomes specific when it functions as signifying cultural practice with its own internal forms, relations and structuration. Stuart Hall argues that instead of using universal categories and trans-historical theories to analyse race and racism we should investigate the ‘specific conditions which make (racial or ethnic) distinctions socially pertinent, historically active’. (Hall 1980:338). Hall’s model may be applied to the art-world inhabited by the miniaturists. Their art-world is manifested by a particular mode of production, which involves the aesthetics of social relations contingent with both local and intercultural histories. In consequence the miniatures are the products of an ideological yet specific context, one which is historical, changing and affected by extra-aesthetic factors. The local cultural context of the miniature practice sets great store by social relations, not just on the kinship level, but within the cultural systems of everyday behaviour. If anthropological study is about ‘the mobilization of aesthetic principles in social action’ (Gell 1998:10–11), the painters’ stories, related through their imagery,

142

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

may ‘eventually succeed in re-uniting the sensory with the “cultural” landscape’ (MacDougall 2006:94). In MacDougall’s writing on his ethnographic film of the Doon School in India, there are crossovers with the ‘constructed communities’ of school life at the NCA. The notion of a social aesthetic within a school regimen emerges through his description of daily routines as patterns affecting community life. Such ‘culturally patterned sensory experience’ relates to the original Greek aisthesis, meaning ‘sense experience’ (Buck-Morss 1992). At the NCA, the structured performance of classroom ritual contrasted with the freer bodily behaviour of the agents outside the department. The two schools demonstrate similar reactions to colonialist education policies. Although the Doon School (1935) was started 60 years later than the Mayo School (1875), they both adopted academic patterns of British public schools and higher education. Both the initial principals, Kipling in Lahore and Foot in Dehra Dun, diffused a Victorian sense of morality along with a Ruskinian awareness of social aesthetics. Kipling’s insistence on knowledge of indigenous culture, as ‘the guiding canon of the school, viz, adherence to Oriental styles of art’ (Kipling 1879–80: report), matches Foot’s concern with egalitarian yet individual consciousness: ‘The purpose is achieved not by precept or instruction, but by creating an environment in which a boy is led to do things for himself’ (The Doon School Book, 1949; MacDougall 2006:118, n. 30). The schools also share a strong philosophical link with the Bengal Renaissance, when the proposed fusion of Indian nationalism and scientific rationalism inspired a revision of educational policies which placed traditional techniques alongside modernist Western ideas (Srivastava 1998:60). This heterogeneous background provides the schools with a certain elitist, multicultural aura which veils a somewhat disorganised ‘small scale society’. In MacDougall’s terms, ‘a state of more or less cultural confusion. Perhaps all the more reason then, for them, to bind themselves closely to the islands of relative coherence in their lives’ (ibid:106). MacDougall points out that this aesthetic dimension should be re-evaluated as a social fact, a consideration which places his work in a line of reflections beginning with Durkheim and running through

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

143

Mauss to Bourdieu. The ritual attached to the routine habits of the uniform, the assemblies, the assessments and the games in the Doon School may be paralleled by the systematic structure of the community in the NCA. Both are modelled on the same principle of learning self-regulation through a coded corporal inscription, often without comprehension of the content.11 This embodied habitus12 functions through a form of ‘learned ignorance’ (Bourdieu 1990a:19). The main correspondence lies in the post-colonialist ethos at the heart of both institutions: one of an imagined community set to produce leading designers for an ideal nation-state. Within such a mythical discourse and decor [, the reformist tone is suitably nostalgic in both institutions, where the call for a return to a previously harmonious condition comes from those determined to reject global influences, in the name of a nationalism infused with cosmopolitan tendencies. The variations in importance attached to the ‘social aesthetic field’ by different cultures may be expressed through secular or ritual religious forms of activity. In both domains, the risk lies in ritual becoming a form of social control, ‘as in totalitarian states that create a powerful repertoire of public rhetoric and ritual’ (MacDougall 2006:99). MacDougall states that this risk may be counteracted by the possibility that sharing a strong aesthetic experience is in itself a ‘unifying principle’ (ibid). I would suggest that the experience of the orthodox miniature practice within the small-scale society of the NCA functions as a strong social aesthetic which ‘contains serious internal divisions’ (ibid:106) through its patriarchal discourse on tradition. Ironically however, since this discourse’s pretension to nationalism is perceived as a sham by members of Group X, the social aesthetic of the practice also proposes potential grounds for resistance to the reactionary regimen, through its integration of practice with everyday life, as it did for the original Mughal artists: Perhaps more than any other factor, it is the conscious of the artist that seems to define the quality of change as well as the tenor of the times. For the artist, it meant the excitement of individually discovering and shaping the world he lived in anew, hence

144

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

being an active participant in the making of history. (Sheikh 1997:19).

Indigenous aesthetics Traditional Muslim treatises on calligraphy and painting always gave preference to the written word. A renowned sixteenth-century Persian text concedes that eventually painting, even in the European style of ‘naturalism’, ‘may serve as a means to recognise a higher unity’ which is the purpose of all the arts, but that writing is far superior – ‘lines (khat, writing, calligraphy) provide us with the experiences of the ancients and thus becomes a real means to intellectual progress’ (Abu’l Fazl. A’in-i Akbari 1977). Painting was officially acceptable alongside words, and illustrated manuscripts, in Islamic culture, were thus the loci for paintings. Miniature painting destined for manuscripts became the focus of the Mughal court’s workshop, which was always combined with the library. The early Persian pictorial conventions used in these workshops were imported by two artists from the Safavid court, Mir Sayyid Ali and Abd al-Samad, who came at the invitation of the emperor Humayun (c.1545). Conventions evolved a coded vocabulary of psychological features, a theatre of body language comprising gestures and gazes which could be interpreted symbolically or simply read as formal elements in a spatial organisation (Golombek 1972).13 Even landscape and architecture concealed iconographic symbols; this idea has been recycled in a recent parody of the American search in Afghanistan for Bin Laden and his cohorts by the miniature artist Reeta Saeed. Painters under the tolerant policies of Akbar began to liberate themselves from the dictates of the patron. They adopted a more pragmatic attitude which allowed a certain play with the repertoire of forms, making them bolder and less circumscribed by conventions. There is a sense of exploration in the ways space and volume are rendered, evidently influenced in this by the opening-up to Western techniques of naturalism. This looser style came about through the partial fusion with the aesthetics of Indian painting, which prescribed animated poses linked to those in sacred dance, inspired by natural

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

145

forms from plant and animal life. The Mughal painters combined the rich architectonic details and the lyrical linearity of Persian painting with bolder colouring and recognisable local expressions to produce a new style: rigorous in execution, yet experimental in formal invention and in edifying content. Infra-red studies show how much the Mughal artists maintained a ‘living’ tradition by over-painting, yet respecting earlier modes enmeshed in itinerant traditions (Seyller 1992; Doshi 1983). Painters in the Mughal ateliers came from utterly diverse locations and regional schools: Lahore, Gwalior, Kashmir, Gujarat. Perhaps more significant is the interaction between different performative practices, such as painting, dance and theatre, thereby diminishing the former dependency on text: ‘Such overlaps, even interdependence (a strategy for survival?) left little room for notions of purity and necessitated resilience and response to change’ (Sheikh 1997:8). The basic notion which pervades formal descriptions of the work at this time is that of geometric pattern (Koch 2001), described as ‘relentless compositional symmetry’ (Seyller 2002), its grip relaxing as the artists begin to develop a more personal interpretation. On account of the prevalence of abstract form in Islamic sacred art, the notion of aesthetic reflection is based on a contemplative disposition, in many ways distanced from any corporeal or sensorial approach. Yet the apparent abstraction of architectural decoration is contradicted by their intensive animation – under a prolonged gaze, surfaces dance in ‘syncopated rhythms’ set up by elaborate patterns, as observed by Gell: ‘The religiously imposed ban on the representation of living forms only served, it seems, to inspire ever more effective inducements to captivation by visual artifice, the non-mimetic appearance of animation’ (Gell 1998:77). Abstract pattern work is being recycled in much contemporary miniature painting and is often applauded for its ‘enchanting’ effects, but its significance for the artists is attached to social issues, specifically as a metaphor for the oppression of women.14 There is a certain defection from the figurative which is influenced more by the conceptual shift than by any remotely iconoclastic legacy. The ‘official’ theological injunctions against figurative depiction in Islamic art were overruled by those powerful enough to refute the

146

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

ban: the Mughal emperors. The fact that miniature painting was a secular, courtly art is often recalled in the critique voiced by students bent on re-creating a popular art form. The paradox within Mughal art is that there remain steady traces of the body language common to pre-Mughal miniature schools, one embracing a wide range of figurative types with cultural and regional traits. Postures and ornaments had been codified into a visual language which related to specific communities, castes and work cultures. Despite a certain fixing of formal conventions, such as continuous narration and portraiture in profile, there was room for individual expression alongside a more subtle use of empty space, creating a ‘gestalt of an incomplete image’ (Sheikh 1997:16–17). Amidst rich ornamental detail and moods conveyed by colour, the refined line of Mughal drawing sustains the image in a state of exquisite tension. Notwithstanding pressure from the narrative device to keep up with the story, the informed viewer, like the informed listener to classical Indian music (as pointed out by Sheikh15) has time and space to complete the image in the imagination. Classical themes from ancient literature, such as Nizami’s poems, were translated into scenes of Mughal courtly life, not unlike the transformation of liturgical books into illustrations of a princely context in the West, as with the painting of the Très Riches Heuresin fifteenth-century France. Both structures were based on an aristocratic feudalism whereby court patronage of fine art was a way of legitimising, and propagating grandiose power (Koch 2002; Grabar 2000:126). In spite of this, the openness to diverse styles of different qalams (brushwork) allowed for a heterogeneity of both practice and vision, combining regional with Persian and European modes of visual language: new techniques, new ways of seeing, even, in some works, subtle signs of opposition to the feudal were to be found: ‘an obsession to draw saints and sadhus seemed to provide a counterpoint to royal allegories’ (Sheikh 1997:23). Miniatures were often presented in books, and since these were transportable items, they were ideal for offering as diplomatic gifts, on various pretexts of symbolic prestige. For example, Jesuit missionaries trained Japanese artists to copy Flanders engravings, which were then presented to Akbar – a gift of art-historical import, since it led

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

147

Mughal artists to look at Renaissance imagery (Bailey 1998:11). In less didactic contexts of cultural exchange, they were deemed objects of luxury rather than illustrated texts of critical import: ‘When books were considered as merchandise, the details of the represented subjects mattered little, but the richness of the presentation and the reputation of the painters, gilders and calligraphers involved in making the manuscript were critically important’ (Grabar 2000:127). Fine drawing is considered by scholars the essence of the Mughal practice and appreciation of delineation as the ‘raison d’être of vision’ makes such demands on the viewer that, according to Sheikh, acknowledgement of the linear quality supremely proves ‘the reposition of greater aesthetic value in the art object’ and evaluates its status as ‘an object of exalted delight for the connoisseur’ (1997:22). Contrasting aesthetics was as much of a pictorial and political game for the Mughal artists as it is now for the painters in Group X. The interaction between naturalism and mimicry, leading to illusionism, was as much a source of ambiguous play by Indian artists in the sixteenth-century Mughal Empire as it was in the nineteenth-century colonial art schools – ‘strategic mimicry’ imposed the learning of singlepoint perspective as a means of controlling content by emphasising formal qualities (Pinney 2001b:158). Whether the mediation of the contemporary miniature can be compared to these cases is interesting to investigate; certainly ‘richness of presentation’ remains an issue.16 It is common knowledge that ‘image-friendly’ patrons, throughout Islamic societies, commissioned figural wall paintings for the interiors of private houses (Seyller 2002:33). These were often of an erotic nature, like the ‘diagrams’ conceived by the Persian Shah Abbas as a form of sexual education for his wimpish son, considered to be ‘a laggard in love’. Such titillating data reveals an aspect of the miniature tradition which is linked to dissimulation: the contrast between public and private allowed a space for freedom of expression. The tradition is paradoxical, in that although the public social function of the miniatures was limited to an ideological role, ordained by its patrons, in many ‘private’ or dissimulated ways the miniature could become a vehicle for ‘complex’ ideas (Grabar 2000:127), or even for the possibility of subversion ‘that lay in playing with the relative

148

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

tilt of the hero-villain axis, that a devious configuration could upset’ (Sheikh 1997:32, n.14). Knowledge of this ‘underground’ platform for painting is fascinating to compare with the social function of contemporary miniatures, because the history of dissimulative practice can be used in both senses: reactionary and resistant.17 It is significant that the subtext of propaganda for the Mughal Emperor’s enlightened, ‘eclectic’ policies is seen by the Indian historian of patronage, Pushpa Sundar, as ‘. . . much a political judgement of what was prudent as an artistic decision’ (1995:265). Sundar adds that in the colonial period, lavish patronage by the princely courts served as a compensation for their actual lack of power. A curious point is that Abu’l-Fazl, court historian and advisor to Akbar, early on in his position showed concern about the young Akbar’s partiality for the ‘fantastic’ and ‘ahistorical’. Presumably this was seen to conflict with his agenda to promote the Emperor as a rational, universal ruler through political and cultural integration and ‘the search for historical truth’. Evidently he underwent a shift of opinion, since in his later writings (A’in-I Akbari), Abu’l-Fazl heaped praise on Akbar for being ‘the catalyst for every positive development in painting . . . in terms of absolute quality, both in material and in expressiveness, and never as a calculated vehicle of cultural fusion’ (Seyller 2002:45). This anecdote is an example of the orthodox obsession with relating authenticity to purity, a position which denies the eclecticism of the Mughal style in order to preserve an ideal of an autonomous, universal form. Strangely similar anxieties constituted the discourse of Kantian-style modernism voiced by the critic Greenberg, and a nationalist version of ideological purism structures today’s orthodox discourse in miniature practice. Any coded irony within the Mughal miniatures is clearly coming out of the closet with the innovative imagery used by Group X, illustrated in the Karkhana project with its satire of local and global political deceit.

The Karkhana Project An experimental project based on collaboration and entitled Karkhana (workshop) was devised and curated by Imran Qureshi,

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

149

the young teacher and main protagonist in Group X. It originated in a collaborative workshop called Darmiyan (in between). Held in Lahore at the Gallery Rohtas in October 2001, the group gathered to work out their reactions to the aftermath of 9/11 and the consequent US invasion of Afghanistan. As a result the project and eventual exhibition included six members of the group who undertook a collaborative work. Each artist started two miniature pieces on wasli, and after painting an image on each posted them on to another artist, who added a contribution before sending them on to the next on the circuit, until 12 paintings were completed, all six artists having contributed. Although they had trained together at the NCA, three had since moved on to art residencies in the US or Australia, and consequently collaboration had to become globalised through international courier-services. The artists had been given ‘carte blanche’ (or to pun, white wasli) on which they could do whatever they liked – no restrictions were imposed. The only rule of the game set by Qureshi was the standard size of the wasli, which was eleven by eight inches, to facilitate sending by courier. He rejected the role of administrative ustad since it was a collaborative performance. This resembled the Surrealist game of Cadavre Exquis (‘exquisite corpse’), a form of ‘Consequences’ in which a piece of paper was drawn upon, and then folded to leave a fragmented image before being passed on, thus playing out the surrealist credo of creativity through unconsciousness and chance.18 The game was originally inspired by the spontaneous antics of the Dadaists, whose faith in collaboration sprang from their common repudiation of academic fine art and its cult of the individual artist – la petite dramaturgie bourgeoise. The six Karkhana artists were invited to intervene on the posted piece through adding, subtracting, layering, framing, collaging, rubbing out or commenting. An underlying camaraderie ensured a mutual respect which relied on a critical sense of humour, sustained through a gentle irony. Nevertheless some interventions were quite provocative, as for example Latif-Qureshi’s obliteration of a passage done by Mehmood. All the artists used their particular range of motifs and gestures to make their mark: for example, Khalid favoured patterned

150

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

surfaces, Qureshi used images of missiles or old tailoring manuals, Mehmood played with stamps and military insignia, Latif-Qureshi referred to colonial photography, Wasim celebrated satirical photorealism, and Rathore used block printing and embroidery. Two examples help to illustrate their elaborate manoeuvres (Plates 62 and 63). It is one thing to work together on an image in a shared workshop, but an altogether different matter to perform on a joint piece while working in individual studios thousand of miles apart, and to send it by courier. In this sense it is a genuinely ‘globalised’ artwork, channelling the flows of mediascapes and ethnoscapes (Appadurai 1996:33–6). As a reward for the exacting concentration demanded by the detailed work, the viewer gradually learns to recognise differences of touch and texture, eventually identifying them with a particular artist. Certain interventions are more assertive, while others are underplayed, according to when and where they entered into the conversation. It could be compared to musical improvisation, like a jazz ‘riff’ or a jawhalbandi in classical Indian music, but there are also analogies with visual collaborative projects. A comparison between the Dadaists and Group X may be proposed on the grounds of two shared characteristics: provocative intentions and improvised techniques. The Dadaists inspired the later group ‘Fluxus’.19 Chance was their zeitgeist since artists preferred to use ‘poor’ materials and to occupy minimal space. One of their ongoing projects was ‘Mail Art’, where they sent small-scale works through the post to each other, eventually exhibiting them together. In the light of such common interests, it is a curious fact that very little of this history is known by the participants in the Karkhana. This is because there has been a dearth of the history around Dada as well as around Russian revolutionary art in post-colonial art teaching in South Asia.20 The curious by-passing of the more radical avantgarde dialectics of modernism is, I think, one main reason behind the readiness of many of the younger South Asian artists to adopt post-modernist attitudes. In discussions with the artists and students about the transmission of the practice of miniature painting, the question of collaboration has often been raised. As described above, apprentices in the workshops

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

151

of the Mughal court spent years working together in teams, and only rarely came to be known individually: What mattered instead was the imagery and finesse of the final product, for only if an object was perceived to be free of the imprint of another individual’s spirit could it reflect the patron to his best advantage. (Seyller 2005:15–16) Such a succinct summary of the propagandist nature of the Mughal miniature is one argument in the case for the ecumenical aspect of following tradition. It could be suggested that the ‘Mughal connection’, as today constructed by Group O, suits a nationalist discourse which also pretends to reject individualism as a sign of Western modernism. A contrasting thesis is that of Salima Hashmi who underlines the recurring theme of the negation of self in the Sufi tradition: ‘Intrigued by the notion of the subjugated individual artistic ego which lay encapsulated in the past, Qureshi sought to revisit this aspect of tradition’ (2005:42). The suggestion is that the contemporary loss of intuitive trust in working together is in need of exploration. Whence comes this loss? The reasons why no previous attempt had been made to replay the traditional workshop method of collaborative production are indeed complex, embedded as they are in a fusion of contradictions. While Westernised art education in South Asia taught the modernist values of a personalised style, distilled from a European romantic/symbolist context where individualism superseded the collective, back in Britain there was a growing search for collaborative work. A collective, design-orientated ethos was to inspire the twentieth-century modernist approach to art education in the Russian Vhutktemas and in the German Bauhaus. Paradoxically, in spite of the centuries of caste-based guilds of artisans and artists in India, after only two centuries of colonial domination the collaborative spirit took a long time to return to the subcontinent. With their passion for independence, Indian and Pakistani artists moulded their own modernism in collaborative groups,21 yet were determined to sign the works, thereby signalling individuality and claiming a place in art history.

152

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Nevertheless: ‘Recent studies and exhibitions have proven that their place in the sun of western art history was, and still is, far from being “won”’ (Araeen 2002:2).

Phenomenology and corporeal aesthetics To analyse the ‘way of seeing’ miniatures, it is necessary to consider their function as via media, as objects which mediate messages and social relations. ‘Illegitimate abstraction’ was the term used by Gadamer (1975) to refer to any unmediated aesthetic consciousness which refuses the historical. Phenomenology is a particularly interesting way of examining the miniature practice because it does not immediately eliminate the ‘disinterested’ attitude, but combines a move towards sociologically-informed aesthetics with a recognition of an aesthetic attitude. According to Gadamer, there is an element of surprise in the apprehension which relates the visible to the corporeal (1976:101). Similarly, in writing on the magical aspect of mimesis, Taussig underlines the need to break away from ‘the tyranny of the visual notion of the image’ (1993:57). His examples cite the Navaho shamanic practice of curing by bodily immersion in a sand-painting rather than by simply looking at it, or the Amazonian healers who use non-visual imagery such as nausea, sound, smell and rhythmic chants to evoke visual effects, in short, to see through feeling: ‘You move into the interior of images, just as images move into you’ (1993:58). Like other male phenomenologists, Taussig’s texts neglect the rapport between the corporeal and gender. Looking at the miniatures, and performing the practice alongside the students, has made me aware of the gender/corporeal link. The way the body is tuned to play in absolute harmony with the eye and the brain is not simply due to the wonders of the nervous system,22 but also to the intensely corporeal training. The aesthetic ‘sense’ of making a miniature is based on training by repetition, in an atmosphere of almost military-style rigidity, on learning by rote rather than by understanding – yet this learning is primarily acquired through the body. I realised this very strongly during the early stages of line exercises, when I felt that control could only be arrived at through

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

153

harmonising arm movements with breathing.23 I also realised the effect on the practice of two paradoxical phenomena: burgeoning awareness of the female body as a historical and biological subject, and the cultural construction of the ‘disembodied’ artist. I think the latter concept, so embedded within traditional teaching as one which both sustains and contains the practice, is being displaced by the female input. With the experimental miniatures, there is use and transformation of the ‘habitus’, of the usual disposition in space and in time, together with a consciousness of gendered sexuality. Whereas those who wish to preserve the tradition become ‘contained’ by the training, both physically and mentally, those in Group X make full use of the groundwork, yet shake off the standardised drill and move into an experimental choreography. This can be illustrated by the difference in the kind of marks they make, in their use of space, in their imaginative interrogation of the conventional narrative, disrupting the objectifying masculine gaze and asserting the woman as subject.24

Sensorial or detached viewing Miniature painting in the subcontinent has always been practised in diverse religious contexts, and often by painters of differing creeds. Given the open attitude expressed by members of Group X to other cultural systems, it is particularly interesting to reflect on the diverse histories of looking at images. Islam has declined to make use of the sacred power of imagery, as has Judaism and certain orders of Christianity, particularly Protestantism. However, the very existence of the miniature tradition, as a secular art-form within Islamic society, raises questions as to the power of representational imagery. Its guaranteed patronage throughout the Mughal dynasties, as well as its adoption as a nationalist image, indicate the probabilities of an inherent legacy from ancient beliefs in the magical or animistic function of the ‘mimetic faculty’. This is made more acute by the historical and geographical proximity of miniature production within a very different belief system: that of Hinduism. Homage to

154

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

images forms a central part of Hindu worship. The reading of Indian popular sacred iconography depends on the function of imagery as ‘person-like’, in a magical manner involving image-worship (Pinney 2001b:157–76). Often described pejoratively in Western terms as ‘idolatry’, such a process is referred to more subtly by Gell as the ‘technology of enchantment’. He considers religious and aesthetic appreciation to share the same terrain, one which has been torn asunder by the Western creation of the ‘aesthetic attitude’ (Gell 1998:97). The common factor lies, he claims, in the ongoing influence on art and aesthetics of the ‘mimetic faculty’ perceived by Frazer to originate in ‘sympathetic’ magical action (Frazer 1980). This notion was to influence writings on aesthetics from Adorno (1970) and Benjamin (1934, 1936) to Taussig: Man’s gift of seeing resemblances is nothing other than a rudiment of the powerful compulsion in former times to become and to behave like something else. Perhaps there is none of his higher functions in which his mimetic faculty does not play a decisive role. (Benjamin 1933, cited in Taussig 1993:19; cited in Gell 1998:100) Derived from the sorcerous belief that if ‘appearances’ of things are material parts of things, as in emanation theories, a certain power over a person or thing may be gained through the image, this inspired the consideration of photographs as indices of the real presence of persons (Barthes 1981). It may prove to be an interesting idea in relation to the miniature practice. Several factors contribute to the hypothesis that the practice has evolved to become a form of art which complements the ‘gap’ within Islam – its sense of having lost iconic imagery. These may be related to two periods in particular: indigenous pre-Islamic history and the Mughal era. In both of these the agency of the artwork could be described as functioning through the Frazerian notion of ‘imitative’ sympathetic magic because of its figurative imagery. Whereas formulaic Islamic imagery is aniconic and abstract – characteristics employed in the new miniature – there has been a strong tendency toward the anthropomorphic and realistic.

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

155

Reasons for this offer variations on the theme of desire: whether it be a romantic predilection for narrative (Stewart 1993), a political greed for power, as with the propaganda-hungry Mughals, or an aspiration to subvert the gendered ‘status quo’, as with Group X, all such projects are possessed by the common component of primitive magic: mimesis. Crucial to this hypothesis is the fact that the fundamental technique of miniature practice resides in the act of copying. Whether this intimates the Frazerian notion of acquiring properties through sympathetic action or simply reflects any basic learning process, the point here is that sympathetic magic depends on ‘epistemic awareness’ (Gell 1998:100). This returns us to the sensorial aspect of aesthetics, one which plays a major part in Hindu image-worship. Obtaining darshan from a god, or a guru, involves a particular type of blessing conveyed through the eyes (Eck 1985). The eye is the crucial agent/ organ which initiates physical contact – ‘seeing . . . is a going forth of the sight towards the object’ (Kramrisch 1976:136). The aim is for reciprocity between the image and the viewer whereby the visual act, through mutual awareness, aims at spiritual union between the devotee and the image. Islamic sacred imagery does not allow for such inter-subjective exchanges with a deity, since this is perceived as encroaching on Allah’s domain. Secular miniature imagery plays buoyantly with the patterned surfaces of sacred decoration, yet also manifests anthropomorphic tendencies which exalt the narrative of human actions. This is realised with such evident pleasure that it almost suggests an ‘intentional psychological’ need (Boyer 1996:18). Although the act of visual exchange between the viewer and the miniature appears, a priori, to be far different from that of darshan between an image and a worshipper, I would propose certain comparisons which share an emphasis on the corporeal aspect, both physically and metaphorically. In historical terms, it has been noted that with the celebration of miniature painting by Havell and its adoption by Bengal School painters, there is strong evidence of ‘strategic mimicry’ in the new miniature work (Pinney 2001b:158). As pointed out by Pinney, the influence of both Western naturalism and symbolism corresponds to the tendency

156

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

towards the disembodied ‘absorption’ observed by Fried in late eighteenth-century painting, and advocated as a premise for the ‘true’ modernism, which is anti-theatrical (Fried 1980:5).25 ‘Absorption, indirectness and history painting were part of the package exported by the colonial state into its government Art schools in the nineteenth century’ (Pinney 2001b:159). Given that detachment forms part of the indigenous aesthetic in Islamic art, where abstract pattern as a tool towards contemplation plays a part in the miniature tradition – ‘a genre for which remoteness seems intrinsic to its legacy . . .’ (Hashmi 2005:43) – are the two distinctive modes of aesthetic reception, disembodied and corpothetic, somehow linked in looking at contemporary miniatures? What is the role played by gender in this scenario? The contrasting notions of ‘absorption’ and of ‘theatrical’ aesthetics may correspond with the performative aspects of the two main sects in Islam, Sunni and Shi’a. Their approaches to visual and verbal imagery are very different, as witnessed in the rejection of Sufi philosophy by the Sunni sect or in the contrast of festivities, where Shi’i culture focuses on collective, demonstrative remembrance. (In 1880, the exuberant Muharram festival was once reported in The Gazette in pejorative terms by Rudyard Kipling.26) Links between Sufism and Shi’ism provide miniature students with strong resources for their imagery, poetic and visual. One student who had read Sufi poetry since the age of six criticised the current ‘rehabilitation’ of Sufism on an elitist scale in Lahore:27 I am disappointed at this behaviour . . . they use it as a status symbol, [but] if a person knows a lot, he should be humble. This is through in education, standards have changed, now the idea is to have more money, power and talk . . . the concern is with fashion. (S.F.)

Sacred and secular, popular and elitist As stated above, the mobilisation of art agency differs between sacred and secular contexts. Whereas the ‘corpothetic’ relates to the function of art as a via media in magical or religious rituals, the

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

157

detached or ‘anaesthetic’ perspective (Buck-Morss 1992) is one which distinguishes itself from any sensory practices. These differences, it is suggested, have become markers of a differentiation whereby ‘theatrical’ = ‘ritual’ = ‘sensory’ = ‘popular’, but ‘absorption’ = ‘distance’ = ‘voyeurism’ = ‘elitist’ (Pinney 2001b:160). The supposition of a linkage between class difference and the political and religious manipulation of imagery might well include gender discrimination. The question arises as to how such distinctions affect the miniature practice under discussion. The fact that temple imagery had a different public from the middle-class audience of miniature painting was precisely the terrain where the new technologies of chromolithography and photography proved fascinating (Pinney 2001b:161). The gap between the two aesthetics was here breached through popular technology, not unlike the situation in the West with the Dadaist ‘everyday’ anti-art discourse, or with the arrival of ‘vulgar’ pop art in the era of ‘heroic’ abstract expressionism.28 In historical terms, this happened in India precisely at the time when the status of miniaturists had been degraded. As will be recounted in Chapter 5, many turned to photography.29 The traditional teaching of miniature sustains the mythological history up to this point. Where it loses contact with reality is in the momentous arrival of modern technologies of reproduction: techniques which not only mimic classical portraiture, but also make use of the bodily performance in ritual devotion. The loss of the ‘aura’ of the original, acclaimed as a sign of democratic progress (Benjamin 1936), is lamented by the traditional miniaturists, but it is this very shift into popular imagery, combined with gender awareness, which forms the basis of the new aesthetics in the contemporary miniature practice.

Popular culture and the practice Qureshi constantly challenges aesthetic conventions with new materials: he mixes plastic surfaces with wasli; he frames reproductions of miniatures alongside ‘real’ ones, unframed; he crumples up his own miniatures and puts them on a table, in his words ‘to give the

158

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

work a human presence and to demolish the barrier to touching the work’.30 He also uses the technique of montage inspired by cinematography, described by Deleuze as offering a radically new way of seeing: organising perception from an inhuman perspective (Deleuze 1989). Consequently, Qureshi’s work narrows the gap between the contemplative and the corpothetic, between the disembodied and the historically specific sexuality. The ‘magical realism’ of a popular imagery which acknowledges the viewer is appropriated and parodied with gusto by the young artists, from urban decoration such as truck-art imagery and cinema hoardings to television soap-operas and gigantic digital advertisements. Their interest was sparked off by Bollywood posters, now rivalled by Lollywood production. Whereas the banning of figurative imagery has been through various highs and lows throughout Pakistani history, it is curious how the spectacular/ocular gaze (Mulvey 1989:25) has come to affect Muslim imagery through variations on voyeurism and objectification. This may be witnessed by the tourist/curio vulgarisation of images around Mecca, which flood the Hajj pilgrimage as well as Pakistani corner-shops in the West, or even in the propagandist imagery for extremist groups in Pakistan, including the ultra-violent posters produced by Taliban groups.31 In his compelling study of urban violence in Pakistan, Verhaaik describes the motivation behind the younger muhajirs in the Sindhi MQM (Muhajit Qaumi Movement) as dedicated to arousing ethnic-religious violence. He describes their mood as ‘ludic’ – a violence is seen as ‘fun’, through a potent fusion of ethno-nationalism and machismo: ‘The imaginary of the MQM martyr/terrorist is a mixture of east Asian martial art traditions, Middle Eastern styles of Muslim Militancy, Hollywood cinema and Bollywood pop music’ (Verhaaik 2004:6). A very different conception of urban popular culture as ‘fun’ is appropriated by contemporary artists as a visual tool to undo orthodox ideology, one closer to Werbner’s vision: ‘South Asian popular culture is transgressive . . . it mobilizes satire, parody, masquerade or pastiche to comment on cultural affairs, to lampoon the powerful and venerable’ (1996:91).

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

159

Audience, and attitudes towards aesthetics The consensual praise attributed to the formal aspects of the miniature is not based on a homogeneous concept of beauty. Viewers expressed quite different attitudes towards the aesthetic qualities. It would seem from my interviews that certain shared responses are not culturally specific but dependent on familiarity with the globalised art-world. For example several viewers, interviewed at random from the general, mostly middle-class, public in Western urban art centres (Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Zurich) expressed the opinion that the miniature surface was so exquisite that its formal level gave sufficient pleasure without feeling the need to read the content. The curious fact is that the same argument is used by those viewers who tend to criticise the miniature on the grounds precisely of its explicit beauty. This reaction came clearly from participants in Khoj, an international artists’ workshop in India (Modinagar), where one evening debate centred on the thin line between exploiting and interrogating indigenous traditions. The intriguing paradox evolved out of prejudicial judgements announced by several artists before Qureshi’s actual showing of his work to the group. It was after studying his miniatures as well as observing his work in situ, as an enlarged floor and wall drawing, that they reviewed their former opinions. Similar reactions to the miniatures were manifested by several art students in seminars in the UK and even in Pakistan, and also by artists from New York on a visit to Lahore. Their position sites itself in the shadow of the original postmodern ‘anti-aesthetic’ discourse.32 This was clearly illustrated in Kristeva’s text for the Rites of Passage exhibition where she accuses contemporary Western artists of deliberately promoting abjectness and ugliness in their search for meaning: ‘We are incapable of attaining beauty, that is the point that needs underlining’ (Kristeva 1995:8). The impression that throughout its development in the twentieth century modernist South Asian art has not shown much sign of the ‘anti-aesthetic’ mode, is due to its readier reception of the more formal modes of Western modernism.33 Ironically, contemporary art being produced over the last decade in Pakistan seems to have

160

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

absorbed postmodern tendencies without the least sign of difficulty, much to the despair of certain local critics, but the theoretical issues raised have simply not been given the time or space for debate in Pakistan.34 This is also the case with the new miniature painting, which reveals an intuitive understanding of the postmodern tactics of appropriation and parody without articulating any direct influence by the anti-aesthetic discourse. That this plays no direct part, as yet, in their aesthetic framework is indicated by the sentiments spelt out by one artist. Aisha Khalid recounted her shock at the apparent rejection of beauty by the majority of the Western students she met during her studies at the Rijks Akademie in Amsterdam: I slowly realised how the problems I sensed in Europe around the idea of beauty had been so very affected by World War II. I then discovered Adorno’s ideas and I felt that this background is now so strong that there is almost a fear of beauty in the west, that people see no meaning in beauty. Why do rich countries, with all their achievements, neglect beauty? I began to reflect on the need for beauty. In the workshop after 9/11 (Darmiyan), I sewed a rose onto camouflage cloth; I used embroidery frames as I watched the CNN coverage of the Afghani war and realised how this media war of propaganda uses images of men shaving their beards and women coming out of their burqas to give a stereotypical view of fundamentalism and to persuade [us] that the US were only targeting Talibans. Aisha was convinced that it is possible to convey socially-concerned ideas through aesthetically-pleasing form. The beauty evident in miniature work is ingenuous, idealistic and yet perfidious. In fact the exquisite surfaces belie an often very disturbing content, in both traditional and contemporary work. For example, in the Mughal Hamza series recently shown at the V&A, woven into the richly ornamental patterns can be deciphered bodies being sliced in half, brains dashed out and hands chopped off, all by soldiers with deadpan expressions. In Saira Wasim’s series of Honour Killings, romantic hazes over water lilies slowly divulge the skulls of dead

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

161

babies hidden in the lotus leaves. Only a concentrated reading can pierce the veil of aesthetic ornamentation which serves the interest of both artist and viewer: that of protecting a certain content from abuse. If the miniaturists envisage their art as a site of struggle against conformity and passivity, can their notion of aesthetics be compared with that of Adorno (1970) who believed that aesthetic appearance is an index of ‘truth content’ through its ‘enigmatic character’? Such a characteristic was seen by Adorno as crucial to the autonomy of art, in the modernist sense of resisting mediatisation and of guaranteeing art a critical distance from which to observe the social sphere.35 It is this complex fusion, combining an inherent aesthetic disposition with a humanist call for aesthetic autonomy, which constitutes the specific nature of the new miniatures. Their verbal statements reveal a tendency to prevaricate which tends to match the ‘enigmatic character’ of their hybrid aesthetics.

Reflections From the serious re-evaluations of Mughal work done by scholars such as Seyller and Sheikh emerges a clear deconstruction of the stereotypical conception of Mughal art as a purified, conventional art form. Their re-appraisal underlines its constant dynamic, motivated by the artist’s engagement with his contemporary context, whereby even epic tales are remodelled and relocated into local specific historical time and given individual interpretations (Sheikh 1997:8–14). This is precisely what the painters in Group X are attempting to do, and yet for this they are classed as illegitimate by orthodox pundits. The incredibly arduous apprenticeship of Mughal workshops contrasts strongly with that of today. It is astonishing to see how the accelerated pedagogy of the NCA not only results in technical excellence but encourages experiment.36 Cultural eclecticism and multiplicities in style, locations and subject positions are assumed, by certain art and literary critics, to be the outcome of postmodernism. In this context, transnational or cross-cultural experiences in many ways mirror those of the traditional miniature painter. The differences lie in the nature

162

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

of the conceptual framework of the practice. Whereas the traditional model was one of propaganda for the patron, the contemporary practice rejects that authoritarianism. The subversive nature of the work expresses a political will, often ill at ease discursively, yet emotively and visually lucid in its interrogation of current social crises. This is done by juxtaposing Mughal (or Pahari) and Western styles to underline the globalisation of local issues, or, vice versa, the localisation of global issues. One example is Nusra Latif-Qureshi’s work Drawing Upon Our Knowledge of Orientalism (2001, Plate 13) painted in refined Mughal style. A woman in Victorian dress poses with a sword as she stands between an antique chair and desk. It is only after a while that the viewer notices she is ‘black-skinned’ and wearing a turban – discreet formality belies the defiant subtext. In another painting, by Imran Qureshi, Tight Security (2000), a walled city is sketchily evoked through expressionist daubs to frame a centrally-posed missile composed of exquisite lime-green leaves in Basohli style.37 There is a paradox in the common assumption, made in certain post-colonial texts on globalisation, that the presumed or potential target of subaltern texts is always Westernisation.38 However, the revelation of the miniaturists is that this can operate in reverse: opposition to the local can be expressed by appropriating the global in diverse ways, as described above. Yet another example would be one of Waseem Ahmad’s miniatures, which plays on the Western tradition of the female nude in art history by appropriating Manet’s Olympia and dressing her in a transparent burqa (2001). Reclining, she eyes the spectator from behind her veiled mask, as if teasing the Western (and Eastern) cultural obsession with the male gaze. Another work by Ahmad portrays Krishna Series (2001, Plate 55), whose famous frolics with the Gopis (milkmaids) inform an erotic theme in Rajput and Pahari miniatures. In this piece, the milkmaid is a Hollywood star, bearing some resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, and Krishna poses like a Bollywood star. The irony hints at the hypocrisy of the censorship in Pakistan which bans female performers on the grounds of prostitution, whilst officially authorising cinema hoardings of turgidly sexist imagery, celebrating Lollywood films of machismic

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

163

violence for male spectators. (Meanwhile, the ban on Bollywood films is circumvented by the vast video circuit.) A witty touch in Ahmad’s miniature lies in the Kalashnikov clasped by Krishna, since this is the only object allowed public caress under Islamicist surveillance.39 The imaginative use of irony in the new miniatures will be further explored in the concluding chapter. Is this the only means of circumventing the threat of the censorship which might be applied if certain issues were openly addressed? Significantly, the themes relating to violence – social, sexual and political – are treated without ironic distance; a gravitas informs such works. There can be a fusion of moods, as proven in the Karkhana series. In what ways does this collaborative project signify a political struggle? A point made in one essay in the Karkhana catalogue underlines the fact that the painters choice of a ‘middle ground’ as a political stance is taken in order to represent ‘the situation of liberal Muslims trapped between duelling fundamentalisms’ (Nasar and Sloan 2005:36). From this reflective state, the artists’ aim, according to the catalogue essay, is a political analysis of the visual imagery projected by the mass media and by state propaganda in a ‘post-9/11’ Muslim world. ‘Among their targets are the seductive power of beauty, the absence of contextual knowledge or inquisitiveness, and the challenge of interpreting visual ideas across cultural divides’ (Nasar and Sloan 2005:37). As shown in the cameo descriptions of their work, the very techniques of visual propaganda are exploited by the artists in ways which reveal their acute awareness of post-modern tactics in contemporary art (Haacke and Bourdieu 1995).To understand the coded aspects of their visual language, as brilliantly exposed in Hashmi’s chapter on the Making of the Karkhana (Hashmi 1995:42–47) means chiselling away gently at the layers of visual references, as if uncovering the first hieroglyphics. Only then can any attempt at reading the whole picture be made – but I suggest this never really happens. Much as the Karkhana catalogue text wishes to infer that the project has ‘a conceptual logic and a political agenda’, the inevitability of it never achieving this in an overall sense is itself significant, and adds

164

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

to the tension. Imperialism is the main butt of the artists’ critique, emerging via allusions to examples of British colonial and American foreign policy. Parodies of Emperors and Presidents are juxtaposed with caricatures of Bush and Musharaff in the local histories of power games played by the Mughals, the mullahs and the military, but the final effect is fragmentary and dissonant. Their very small scale and their use of wasli enhances their vulnerability. In no way would I endorse the catalogue statement that the artists wilfully choose the craft element in ‘[an] attempt to reverse the Duchampian rejection of the aesthetic, and the contemporary drive towards speed and mechanization’ (Nasar and Sloan 2005:41). To reiterate my earlier comment, Duchamp did not reject the aesthetic, he incorporated it into his making by way of a radically different conception: one which is subsumed into a form of social aesthetic through the relation provoked between his work and the viewer. Moreover, his own work and the notes for The Large Glass clearly demonstrate his admiration for craft. Karkhana is an ambitious project, exploring the unknown field of a collective process, but it is not a manifesto, as suggested by the text: ‘At the heart of this project is a challenge to commonly understood notions of democracy and the collective’ (Nasar and Sloan 2005:41). Without such rhetoric, the work itself provokes only modestly, because, like Dadaist work, it claims no closure, but opens up a serious reflection on visual propaganda through provocative humour. Whether this eventually arrives at manifesting political power as a work of art ‘by subverting elite institutions from within’ (Nasar and Sloan 2005:41) will depend on whether the work is ever exhibited in Pakistan.

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

165

CAMEO 7 Ahsan Jamal A counter-image to Hamra Abbas’s flamboyance may be glimpsed in the diffident persona and analytical approach of Ahsan Jamal, who comes from an educated middle-class family which migrated from India to Lahore. He is devoted to his father, a poet and lecturer, and a former communist, like so many intellectuals of his generation. This has evidently been of some influence since Jamal claims that his work is Marxist-orientated and based on semiology. His paintings are about the concern with personal image and social status, perceived as a major issue by the students at the NCA. His huge set of over 65 small-scale portraits (six by six centimetres), Surrounded By (2003, Plate 36) manifests a fusion of influences from Mughal and Western miniature cameos. They are perfectly-executed portraits of his classmates and college workers whom he invited to pose for his photos. His intention was to describe what he observed as ‘class-consciousness’, through illustrating the details of their dress and hairstyles. As they posed, Jamal set them questions and noted their replies. I was immediately enthused by his ethnographic approach to the project and encouraged him to find a way of presenting the notes, but he was dissuaded from this by studio tutors who thought it too ‘literary’. He said he was keen to try and analyse the reasons behind the eagerness of so many of the students to demonstrate a savviness about Western fashions: ‘There’s no harm itself in T-shirts and bandanas and outsize jeans and Nike runners, it’s just becoming the global uniform, but I just wish there was more awareness of it all.’ He blames class divisions for the phenomenon: The lower-middle-class kids are still involved with local traditions, they’ll take more time to becoming totally Westernised. It starts from the elite, those with power and money. The new rich are the industrialist families; there’s an ‘old rich’ and an ‘old poor’ who are both well aware of what is going on. But the new rich are confused, not just confused by their consumerism but by many things because they’re ignorant.

166

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

When I asked if he had posed his questions to his sitters in a political frame, he replied: To some of them, yes, I feel they can understand what I’m on about, but on the whole, I sense that the lower-class models, (such as the technicians, canteen servers, ‘chaiwallahs’ and porters) might understand my ideas but can’t afford to, they can’t give the time to be aware. On the other hand the upperclass kids have the time to think but don’t because they can’t afford to, there’s a risk of loss because things are changing. On looking more closely, as his work demands, the strongest impression was of an uneasy dichotomy between the individuality of each face and the stereotypical nature of each style. Jamal agreed that this had grown out of the work: The very high class assume a natural Westernised chic, whereas the lower-class kid will put on a ‘cool’ image, one he wants to adopt and so the pose is deliberate. The higher-class kid is not so vulnerable, because of his or her background, but when you mix the classes you see that in the end everyone is vulnerable, it’s just that the lower ones are either ignorant or ignored. I asked him if they chose what to wear for the pose, Jamal laughed: Yes, of course, they spend a long time, Yaseem, [the main porter, a very friendly character who usually wears the traditional shalwar kameez and who has hennaed hair, like many older men and women] chose to wear a suit and tie. The longhaired ones want to appear cool and the cool toughies want to look upper-class. There’s a definite trend that to look cool is a sign of being upwardly mobile, maybe ending up with Bush wanting to look like a god! The other extraordinary piece of portraiture is Beards (2003, Plate 37) made up of five cameos of distinctively hairy compatriots, who

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

167

contribute to the ambiguity such chins suggest. Another series of portraits of Indian and Pakistani individuals, For Office Use Only, (Plates 38–41), resembles ID-card photographs. This project came out of his reflections on Partition during a residency with Khoj in Delhi, which enabled him to gather stories from ‘the other side’. Whereas the contentious issue of the Partition has been addressed by some writers and poets, a curious lack of investigation still haunts Pakistani historians and artists. This lack of engagement worries Jamal: There’s so much confusion still due to Partition and because of the division on religious grounds . . . should it have been a secular state? Should the divisions have been on [a] geographical basis, was the alternative a system of federated states? I just don’t know and it’s all still so emotional. The main target of his critique is post-colonial education, which he says is wholly class-based and socially divisive, particularly through the persistently dominant status of the English language: In Pakistan your chances are loaded on a good education and English literacy, but we made that. Our education was inherited and was geared to the class difference of colonialism. English literacy is about power, and so you have to practice it to get on, but if you ignore your local language and the only thing you have is that culture, then you’ve lost cultural contact with your own cultural values. He blames colonialism for the notion of service and says he refuses to participate in the chain of service: ‘I can’t ask a man to do things which I can do myself, it embarrasses me, I have pain for them they are so unaware, but they don’t want to show that.’ He is passionately curious about other cultures and religions and longs to travel: ‘I read the Koran of course but I also read the Bible, and I’m interested in Hinduism and Buddhism . . . in fact I take art as religion and I do it religiously.’

168

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Music is a source of pleasure, one which has come through his father’s interest in Sufism and Jamal plays the tablas. He is critical about the students’ lack of interest in classical Indian music and also regrets that the more classical Hindu movies are no longer taken seriously in Pakistan: ‘We ignore them. It’s very sad. But here we treat everything emotionally, we only care about the emotional response.’ Western music, ‘from Pink Floyd to rap’ is what is played loudest in the hostel rooms; if it is anything else, the sound is turned down. From this he concludes that there are also divisions in music, as prone to fashion as hair and dress, which he sees as a displacement of anxieties, a form of screening from the real chaos of Pakistan’s lack of identity: ‘Pakistan can’t have a consciousness as a nation, the divisions are too extreme, between regions, languages, sects, you can’t force people to believe in an ideology.’ He enjoys his crossing-over between fine-art miniature work and that of a graphic designer, a route taken by several miniature students to have an income. However, he says he keeps a critical distance from immersion in commercial art: ‘I’m an issue-based person and my practice is to comment on the current social situation here and its previous history.’ The work of both Abbas and Jamal shares a particularly fine and detailed brushwork, as illustrated in their remarkable portraiture. They also share a critique of the institutional gaze: the ever-present sense of surveillance which oppresses daily life in Pakistan. The next artist, Ayesha Durrani, reveals just how unbearable this becomes for a woman living with the persistent legacies of purdah.

CAMEO 8 Ayesha Durrani Durrani was born into a Pathan family in Peshawar, a town which she describes as ‘a vital, crazy place which is also a cultural backwater, where art is viewed with suspicion, so the real artists move to Lahore’, which she soon determined to do.

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

169

Ayesha Durrani is a formidable personality whose strong views on gender issues have frequently led to a troubled family life, but are crucial to her work. Since her father’s death when she was very young, her mother has worked as a librarian. She is proud of all the women in her family who work outside the home, as it reveals a broad-mindedness rare among Pathans. After marriage at a young age, her in-laws, tribal Pathans, only allowed Ayesha to study alone in Lahore on one condition: that her honourable husband accompany her. He did and he hated it: ‘Already the culture shock of seeing girls in tight jeans and even smoking (inside the college of course!) had been a big experience for me but it was just too much for my husband.’ After scenes of emotional blackmail, he returned to Peshawar, on the agreed condition that she could stay on as long as she returned home for several days every two weeks, which involved an exhausting journey of almost eight hours by bus. She told of the sense of schizophrenia which set in as she journeyed to and fro between two such different worlds: ‘My work is about this split feeling, with my background, Lahore seems already too modern for me, I sometimes feel illiterate here with the contrasts.’ She began to question herself: ‘Should I do as I’m told by my husband’s family? Is modernity right for me or not? Are the people here still in touch with their culture? I’m confused, and that’s part of my identity.’ Durrani’s painting uses dress as a metaphor for her ideas about the social conditions of middle-class Pakistani women. Stark images of headless mannequins recount the frustrations of being an active female artist, ‘who doesn’t fit in because you have something contrary to say . . . but you fall in with the social dictates . . . you become a dummy for display!’ She described how proud and possessive Pathans were of their culture and customs, particularly of the extended-family traditions which have resisted change: ‘All this can be so tough but also positive as the family all help each other out and put up a united front even when there are interior splits.’ I asked her how she reacted to the revelations of the so-called ‘honour killings’ which were finally coming out in the press. She said that there had been none in her own family, since they were educated, but that in many tribal areas she

170

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

knew they still took place.40 Durrani said that her major objection was that there was no punishment for the man, ‘whereas the tribals have a nice law, they kill both the lovers. This I agree with, that both should be punished. It’s not good but at least it’s fair.’ The paradoxical nature of her judgements somehow echoes the curious contrasts between the content and the visual language of her paintings. Her refined miniature technique delineates dramatic tableaux of sexist scenarios with severity. One miniature features a woman wearing a smart black dress decorated on the stomach with a square enclosing a black circle: ‘This is about being a childless wife, so often women are blamed, because to question a man’s virility is taboo.’ She explained it all as a consequence of the primordial izzat and showed me a work called In the Name of Honour (2004, Plate 42) where a female mannequin is marked for target practice. Another piece showed a man wearing Mughal clothes to suggest how the male is stuck in the past: a time when masculinity was very clear and femininity was pronounced for women. ‘We’re still expected to follow those golden rules. I’m not a feminist, I don’t hate men, but it’s a man’s world and he expects everything to revolve around him.’ I pointed to the sewing machine at the bottom of the picture, commenting on its appearance in work by other artists (both Qureshi and Khalid) and asked about its significance. It’s a sign of woman’s liberation because it’s a sign of work. Although I don’t sew I’m obsessed with clothes and so I design them. I get criticism in Peshawar for my designs being too modern, so some of my paintings are about this. I’m called a spendthrift due to tailor’s charges and so I’m made to feel guilty. The Mughal man in this work suits this image. You see that the doors are closed, the atmosphere is claustrophobic, as the woman has to stay inside . . . our society is totally maleorientated, one man can take four wives as long as he can keep all the families going, as it says in the Koran. Durrani remonstrated against the illegitimacy of the hudood ordinance, whereby a woman’s accusation of rape has to be testified to by

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

171

four witnesses: ‘This is simply not Islamic law, nowhere is it written in the Koran, it’s invented by the Mulvis.’ Her major plaint is the impossibility in Pakistani society for a woman to live alone:41 ‘Islamic law allows for divorce and dissolution of the marriage, but amongst the Pathans, divorce is synonymous with dishonour’ (Haeri 2002:316, n.14). This led us to discuss the pressures which she herself was experiencing, and how they were represented in her work. The balance between marriage and studying was difficult to maintain, but Durrani was and is a determined woman, evidently to the dismay of her husband’s family: I felt so frustrated in Peshawar, feeling there must be more to life than family traditions and staying at home to look pretty and organise the servants. I’m an unsuccessful housewife. I don’t cook, stitch or knit; my mother’s side don’t care but I get a lot of critique from my husband’s family. They see me as incomplete. Durrani chuckled as she divulged tales of her household crimes: [T]here is much you can manage by simply ignoring, like the dust . . . I can just leave it, I am not obsessed, but this is seen as very negative by my sisters-in-law. They used to come and give me demonstrations as to how to clean the bathroom; they’re quite manic, all of them, even to cleaning in-between the tiles. As we laughed I told her of Virginia Woolf’s maxim that if a woman cannot leave her bed unmade, she will not make it as an artist.42 She thought that exactly right, but doubted its viability in Pakistani society: ‘In Peshawar a woman’s intellectual ability doesn’t count, anyone can cook and clean but nobody can do what I’m doing and yet it’s not respected.’ Contemplation (2004, Plate 44) presents a dummy bound in red wire. As we talked whilst looking closely at each painting, I

172

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

commented on the almost fastidious neatness of the details and asked if this was not a form of contradiction with her declared reluctance to play the perfect housewife. Durrani answered almost brusquely, as if she felt a need to be defensive: ‘Not at all! In my view I’m a good housewife, it hurts me that I am criticised by others because I’m not sloppy!’ Another painting entitled Standing Apart I (2003, Plate 43) showed a smart black cocktail dress suspended alongside a squad of militant dummies. I asked why she had adopted a Western fashion: The image of the ‘little black dress’ we all read about even here is about being chic, but in my work it’s about not being taken seriously, about having no weight, although the irony is that the big issue here is about weight in the physical sense. In our culture it’s OK for a man to be fat but a woman is constantly being measured and pressured to be the right size. Skin colour is another problem, since fair skin is seen as a sign of a better status. The black dress is about sexism and depression. In reply to my asking about talking with other women in Peshawar, she pointed to the mannequins in several of her later paintings, which continue the series Standing Apart (Plates 45–47): I like drawing mannequins. They can’t answer back, I identify with them. As a wife I should stay quiet. My big issue is that when men are there our conversations are censored, there’s a hierarchy and women aren’t allowed to talk about their feelings. I asked if she saw any link between the theme of mannequins in her work and their recurrence in some surrealist imagery.43 She replied that she had no idea of any such influences, since she had done hardly any art history – the lack of it on the course was something she regretted. Remarking on her accentuation of the frame, I asked if this was a symbolic form for her.

INTRODUCTION MINIATURE P:RACTICE MINIATURE AND M AESTHETICS ANOEUVRES

173

Absolutely, it is about the boundaries that we have as women, but also I need a frame, my work is very structured because I need organisation and neatness to do what I want. You can see in my work that it’s already daring to have got rid of the fixed border of traditional miniatures, but you see that I do what I’m told still at home. I’m still within the frame. We spoke of other women’s work and she told me how much she had been inspired by the role model of Aisha Khalid and her theme of pattern and purdah: I love patterns, that’s why I opted for miniature painting. I like using aesthetics to draw people in, the world is as ugly enough as it is, I like it to be pretty but with meaning behind it so that it is even better. Finally we came back to the concern with cultural identity, and her constant clashes between tradition and modernity: In a way my work is about patchwork, about adding new to old. I value my culture as a modern woman, I admire certain aspects of the modern world but don’t want to sacrifice my culture, because without it I’d be lost. What I want to do is to reform it, to remove the bad aspects and to leave the good traditions. Realising the paradoxical twists of her discourse, she laughed, saying that this was inherited from her Pathan background, and that her mother’s best friend was collecting Pathan tribal sayings for a book: ‘You know the famous one which goes: “Put a Pathan in heaven and he’d still be craving for hell because all his friends are there”!’ I asked whether her husband was interested in her work; she softened suddenly: ‘He’s very understanding and tries to be interested – he went to an exhibition in Karachi that I was in and said he was proud of me, especially since I sold some work,’ adding with a peal of laughter, ‘but he still gets very irritated by my comings and goings!’ Durrani’s parting shot to me after one of our long talks was: ‘I don’t

174

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

believe in equal rights for men and women, I believe in more rights for women!’ Durrani is another woman artist who combines marriage with a successful career as artist and teacher at the NCA.

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

175

5 WORKSHOP AND STUDIO PRODUCTION

To compare how the differences in evaluation of the miniatures relate to the site of production and the context of presentation, it is interesting to confront workshop and ‘studio’ production. Initially, their perspectives on potential buyers differ. Whereas the orthodox workshop production aims at a ‘curio’ consumerism, the experimental miniature production aims at a ‘collector’ consumerism. Somewhere in between lies the curious hybrid of the workshop/school in Lahore presented below. Wherein lie the differences between curio and collector consumerism? Can they be aligned with class differentiation in taste, following classifications by Bourdieu of the divide between the naive or ‘populist’ gaze and the aesthetic or ‘elitist’ gaze? Studies of ‘tourist art’ have analysed the displacement of objects and the consequent shift of interpretation brought about by their re-contextualisation.1 The standard tourist-market promotion for miniatures would never use the art-world discourse relating to the new practice, simply because the cultural framework or ‘regime of value’ (Appadurai 1986:15) within which each participates is different. One way in which the curio miniature might enter into the art-world discourse would be through a change of ‘commodity context’, promoting the status of the curio to that of an art work by way of cultural re-evaluation through ‘singularisation’ (Kopytoff 1986:73). Above all, the crux lies

176

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

in the flux, in the fact that commoditisation depends on mobility between supply and demand: ‘[T]he flow of commodities in any given situation is a shifting compromise between socially regulated paths and competitively inspired diversions’ (Appadurai 1986:17). My fieldwork observations made me revise certain assumptions: that the underlying discourse of the miniature workshop is wholly marketorientated, and that the ‘studio’ discourse is based on aesthetic values. That the two are not so clearly divided is related to their potential for mobility, both upwards and downwards. In the West, the connections between the two discourses began with the rise of the capitalist market during the Renaissance. Three factors at that time radically altered the production of art in European societies: the transition from materials to skills, the creation of market mechanisms, and the institution of the art academy. These factors combined to categorise, evaluate and legitimise a capitalist art-market. Production modes focused on the expansion of value, now transferred from direct exchange to mercantile profit. The guild system remoulded itself by detaching the craftsman from the workshop and by trading in human labour under mechanised management. Thus the first links were made between art and money. Patronage by the priestly and noble classes was transposed to the first capitalist breed of merchant bankers. In parallel periods of history in central and southern Asia, the patronage of Indo-Persian miniature painting was initially courtly. Across South Asia in the sixteenth century, the Mughals’ imperialist monopolisation of the market was flaunted through their spectacular publicity strategies, worthy of comparison with any late capitalist enterprise. Lahore became the quintessential Mughal city: ‘The grand resort of people of all nations and a centre of extensive commerce’ (Fazl 1976:325). Akbar’s son, Jehangir, made the city famous for its music, art and architectural treasures, including the fabulous Badshahi Mosque. With the annexation of the Punjab by the British in 1849, Lahore’s political importance was re-orientated. Thus, as both a Mughal and a colonial capital, as a centre of international communities and of trade routes, Lahore has long been a site of corporate capitalism. The colonialist period reveals a prefiguration of the

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

177

neo-liberal facade which today disguises globalised operations. There are many examples in Indian history of collusion between wealthy merchants and the British administration. It was the textile trade in the nineteenth century which was the nexus of collaboration between the British East India Company and Indian capitalists dealing with Britain. Ironically, it is the textile industry today which plays the major role in Pakistan’s global trade, and its everyday presence plays its part in contemporary miniatures. With the deconstruction of the regal Mughal patronage the first machinations of a private market in miniature painting began. This took place primarily through the smaller-scale Rajput courts, where enlightened rulers made efforts to sustain patronage of the arts. Gradually this became a model appropriated by upper-class administrators and merchants, eager to reflect a noble image through buying artworks (Koch 1997; Seyller 1999) – the acquisition of cultural capital was no longer the sole preserve of emperors. By rivalling Western ambitions, a comparable system of consensual agreement gradually set about allowing for changes in traditional conventions. The ways in which Western aesthetics had an influence on the production of miniatures under the Ottoman empire is brilliantly described in Orhan Pamuk’s novel My Name is Red. His story tells how the effects of Western naturalism provoke a shift away from ‘prescribed’ miniature conventions towards innovations in form and perspective: ‘[A]mong great master miniaturists, there is no difference between the blind and the sighted: the hand would always draw the same horse because there was as yet no such thing as the Frankish innovation called “style”’ (2001:286). Discursive classifications were used to serve mercantile interests in the colonialist handling of art education and production in India. Kipling’s apparent enthusiasm for indigenous art forms,2 such as his regular course in copying the fresco decorations from the Wazir Khan Mosque, seen as ‘a supreme example of Indian wall painting’, was contained by pressure from above to promote industrial arts. Obviously ‘pure’ miniature painting could not be accommodated within this agenda: a hereditary tradition, orally transmitted and dependent on court patronage, simply did not fit into the colonial vision of

178

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

indigenous arts and crafts as a source of income for the Empire.3 Under the rhetorical veil of ‘civilising the natives’, the production of handicrafts was manipulated into commercial pragmatism, and market value became the dominant standard. Very probably, training in miniature painting was simply too time-consuming to make it a viable economic proposition, and consequently official British patronage was out of the question. Indeed, most members of the British colonial service were far from passionate about culture of any sort, in Archer’s words: The British, whatever their social origins in Britain, immediately joined the upper classes when they entered India. It was the logical corollary to belonging to the same race as the rulers . . . None were interested in art or poetry. In politics they were all Tories. (Archer 1994:9) The rare colonial collectors who seriously invested in indigenous arts were either scholars of the early Orientalist kind or administrators with an ‘eye’ and a genuine passion for Indian art, such as Dr W.G. Archer, himself a former officer in the ICS, who began his extraordinary career as collector and scholar of Indian art by studying tribal culture in rural India. Rather than investing in traditional miniatures, the average British art-buyer preferred to commission family portraits. There was the occasional demand for these to be painted in ‘miniature style’ on ivory, which was in vogue under Sikh rule, but the really fashionable trend was towards photography. Apart from its main function under the colonial authorities as a tool of ethnographic surveillance,4 its role in mechanical reproduction was seen as a gross challenge to the finer aesthetics of painting. Artists in India, as elsewhere, had to face up to the competition from this practice, either by making use of its popular realism,5 or by resisting its mimicry through symbolism and abstraction.6 Inevitably, on account of their experience of detailed technique, miniature painters became very adept at producing portraits in a realist style, and thus began the flourishing business of studio portrait-photography, with patrons from the regional courts as well as from the British aristocracy

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

179

and colonial administrators. Since only a very few regional courts continued to support a small number of fortunate miniaturists,7 with the massive loss of elitist patronage the miniature workshops turned to commercial outlets. Between 1850 and 1950, networks of miniature workshops expanded in the former Mughal cities of Lahore and Delhi, as well as in the Rajput kingdoms. After Partition, there grew an inevitable sectarian schism between the workshops. The chaotic transmigration of Muslims and Hindus across the new Indo-Pakistani border enforced the dissolution of mixed-religion communities where painters from different faiths had practised together in the same workshop. Gradually, for politico-economic reasons – the contrasts in levels of democracy and of economic growth – workshops in India grew to flourish far more than those in Pakistan. Due to their dependence on the tourist trade for the major part of their production, the workshops in Pakistan sadly withered away, while those in Rajasthan boomed, and are still going strong.

The Lahore workshop/school I was told by Lahore ‘literati’ that there were no ‘serious’ workshops of miniature painting left in Pakistan. They cited curio ‘factories’ catering for a virtually non-existent tourist trade, further doomed post-9/11. The only traces I found of curio miniatures were in two shops: the Lahore museum shop next to the bookshop, judiciously named ‘Kim’, and the Kashmiri Tourist bazaar/shop further down the Quaid-i-Azzam (The Mall). In both establishments the work was truly rubbish, almost kitsch in its cartoon-like qualities, and the information given as to its provenance was ambiguous. The poor vendors, desperate for custom, offered tea, cigarettes and information with enthusiasm, at first suggesting Pakistani sources but then, having noted the ‘elitist’ tone of my critique, admitted, almost with relief, that they came from India. This fact was presented as a reason for their inferior quality: ‘Unfortunately we have no more miniatures being made in Pakistan.’ When I suggested they investigate the work of young artists coming out of the NCA’s miniature department, they looked agog and said they had never heard of its existence, adding

180

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

that the art school was a different world and the paintings would be far too expensive for them to buy. I sensed this to be true. Eventually I was offered an introduction to an ustad by one of my students on the MA course in Fine Art, Saadia. She had been ‘discreetly’ studying in a small private school of miniature painting because she felt that to learn something ‘traditional’ would help her work more methodically. This was whispered with wishes to keep it ‘hush-hush’, since she felt guilty about her lack of faith in the ostensibly ‘postmodern’ teaching.8 After much prevarication, she eventually agreed to take me to the school as long as I did not ‘tell’ on her to her teachers at the NCA. We took a rickshaw which rattled and hooted its way through the chaotic traffic circulating the walls of the Old City. Passing under the arch, the driver zigzagged through the crowded alleys of the Inner Bhatti, where the school is situated in an ancient haveli near the big Shi’a Mosque of Imam Bara. Hanging outside was a large sign marked: Naqaash Gallery (‘calligraphic’gallery). Inside the portico door on the ground floor squatted an elderly man teaching two younger boys calligraphy, a rare sight, since this art form is undergoing rapid deconstruction due to the massive inroads of IT computer graphics and photo-shops. We went up to the first floor and into a long whitewashed, low-ceiling room lined with miniature paintings. This was the ‘gallery’, which functions also as a school. In a line on one side sat about seven students on a raised wooden plinth, their back cushioned against a support and their work on their knees. The room had few windows but was brightly lit with neon. (I had already been surprised by the neon in the NCA miniature department – curiously, there is none of the insistence on daylight that marks academic art-teaching in the West). In the centre, reposing gracefully on a studio couch, was a lean man with white hair and strong features, his poise and looks recalling old photographs of Rabindranath Tagore. He was Shakir Ahmed Khan, the ustad who ran the workshop/school. Even without several front teeth, he had a very distinguished air. We were introduced by Saadia and after a certain hesitation, he seemed pleased to talk about the workshop with a visitor. Slowly, with Saadia translating his Punjabi, he explained how his ‘project’ had begun.

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

181

He came from a long lineage of miniature painters who had gradually been forced to come to terms with the loss of patronage and its aggravation under colonisation. With evident pride, he brought out an album, which was in fact a sort of press book enclosing faded files of photocopied documents; he invited me to look through it. The somewhat jumbled collection included visiting cards (‘cabinet cards’), letters and invoices concerning commissions assigned to five generations of his painter forefathers, fascinating material dating back to the 1860s. His great-great-great-grandfather, Ismail Khan Ahmed, had been considered the top miniaturist of his time working in the Mughal style in Lahore. The very fact that he had managed to stay on in Lahore, instead of leaving for the Punjabi Hill (Pahari) princely courts, such as Kangra, Garhwal, Kotah or Bundi, like the majority of Lahori miniaturists seeking alternative patronage, proved his esteemed status. He somehow retained some patronage from the British, despite the fact that their taste for miniature work had never really developed. In fact western perception of miniatures “collected” by museums abroad ascribed them to Persia and ‘. . . generally treated them as book illustrations, i.e. as applied art’ (Brown 1981:5). I noticed that among the names of the family firm’s clientele were those of Lord Dalhousie, Colonel Lyttleton and Lord Rosebery. His data confirmed the fact that the British officials of the East India Company only wanted portraits – of themselves, their families, their animals, their servants, their property, indeed the stereotypical commission from any ruling class (Berger 1972); thus they created the ‘Company style’,9 and only occasionally was there the odd request for a miniature portrait. Western academic style was preferred to anything indigenous, and thus the first artists to replace the court miniaturists were the European oil-painters: portraitists such as Tilly Kettle, Ozias Humphrey, John Zoffany, Charles Smith, George Willison, Francesco Rinaldi and Valentine Prinsep followed the traders out to India, seeking their fortunes in the pictorial celebration of capital gains and thereby anticipating future corporate art-marketing (Archer 1979). To this end, miniaturists from the declining court centres of Murshidabad, Patna, Lucknow and Delhi were re-trained

182

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

by the itinerant European artists and taught to use the techniques of ‘naturalised drawing’ such as shading and single-point perspective in order to produce ‘Company-style drawings and water colours (Archer 1962; 1955; 1992). The rare commissions from the British for a miniature-style portrait were turning away from the Company stereotypes10 towards two very different techniques, both of which were assumed with ease by the former miniaturists on account of their skills in detailed drawing. As early as 1860, these two techniques had become the vogue for elitist portraiture: one lay in a legacy from the sixteenth-century English ‘limning’ tradition of painting on ivory,11 which was also favoured by the Sikhs during their reign over Lahore (1798–1849). The other was the phenomenon of photography. Both forms were rapidly adopted by the miniaturists as strategic tools for survival. Adaptation to the requirements of British taste led the miniaturist to affirm his role as copyist, especially on seeing how the Indian Nawabs chose to play the European card. Mimesis was the order of the day, and new printing processes, from wood-engraving to lithography and oleography, flourished in an expanding market for popular culture which also promoted realist imagery. Photography became the popular answer to the demand for representation.12 Having perused these documents for as long as I could, since Shakir Ahmed Khan made it clear he was not lending them to anyone, he then asked me to look at his own painting and those of his students. There were about 12 of his miniatures on the walls, all wellexecuted in the Mughal style, but lacking the lustre of pieces I had seen done by the best workshop miniaturists in Jaipur. The student work appeared wholly based on copies and focused on reproduction (Fig. 21). The project had been undertaken two years previously, when he had accepted seven students, most of whom were from the Old City, still a clear sign of humble backgrounds.13 Asked about their work, they were shy to respond and spoke only Punjabi, not having been educated in the standard English-literacy mode of the privileged classes. The group here was genuinely urban, living within the walls of the Old City and descended from original Lahori families. They were very different from the elite NCA students, who hardly

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

183

Fig. 21. Naqaash School

dared to venture inside the Old City.14 Although charitable patronage of education by elitist groups is widespread across Pakistan, it seemed an unusually democratic gesture on the part of a wealthy businessman to have financed this project, an act possibly linked to his repute as a collector.15 As we looked at the work, Shakir Ahmed Khan told his woeful tale in a weary tone, recounting how he had learned from his father who had learned from his father and so on for five generations; as he put it graphically: It ran in the blood from father to son. There was no age limit to start off, we learned naturally from just watching him, my brother and I; my sisters were never taught but I remember seeing my mother doing it, as women used to practise a little painting in purdah. Sheikh Shujaullah, the first ustad who taught at the Mayo School, was my father’s mother’s brother. At that time the family had gone to Patiala, some others of the family went to Jaipur, others to Lohari because they were forced to move around to find work.

184

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

The aim of the school, he said, was to keep up the tradition of the workshop within the Old City as part of its craft heritage, adding: ‘But it is good to develop and adjust to new trends.’ This surprised me after his previous statements, so I took the plunge and asked when a miniature was not a miniature – what in his view were the criteria defining miniature painting. Shakir replied: It all depends on the technique; it has no subject parameters. If you have the skill you can change the scenario or the landscape. People think you need to be either Mughal or Persian in style. This is not necessary, you can make anything if you have the craft, there are no limitations, not even of scale, size does not matter, you can go big. I showed him slides of miniatures by Group X, and he spent some time going through them; after a while he expressed strong admiration for the technique, but it was obvious that he was wary about the content. Of a piece by Nusra Latif Qureshi, he declared: ‘She has the figurative style but she has removed the details and just doodled.’ When I tried to describe her theme of colonialist ambivalence, he commented: ‘That’s her own way of thinking.’ Pressing him to say whether he saw this as interesting or not, he replied: ‘All historical painting is about historical events; if she wants to change things to show what happened, that’s her choice.’ Since this seemed somewhat evasive, I tried again and asked what he thought of her approach, playing with old forms in new ways? His terse reply came with a quick laugh: ‘I wouldn’t like it if it was I who was distorted like that in the painting.’ On looking at another painting, by Aisha Khalid, which was of an enclosed space filled with patterned abstraction – ‘a metaphor for purdah’, I added tentatively, at which he murmured that he liked the décor but missed the figuration. Replying to my question about the alleged importance of a romantic mood in miniature history, and whether he took this view, he said with some emphasis: ‘No, at all – look at the number of bloody battle scenes as well as other violent imagery in Mughal painting.’ Finally I asked him whether he considered the miniature a possible vehicle for social commentary.

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

185

He replied: No doubt they can play a role by their comments since miniatures in their time were always related to social events, so why not do it now? Technique is the essence – if it is there then you can call it what you like. This was a fascinating visit which left me perplexed. Was it a workshop or a gallery or a school? All three aspects were fused in a haphazard, relaxed way. In fact all the works on show were for sale, but on my visits I never saw any member of the public enter. The venture had the feel of a dilettante’s folly, somewhat like the dying days of princely patronage as shown in Ray’s magnificent film The Chess Players. Indeed, Shakir was recounting colonial history in his way, consciously living it up to the final moment of his family tradition.

Workshops in India The fieldwork in Lahore was interrupted by the crisis resulting from the events of 11 September 2001. In direct consequence of a bomb threat received by the British Council while I was there hanging an exhibition,16 I was advised to leave Pakistan, not only by both the British and French embassies but also by the college, on the grounds that I was a potential hostage. I myself felt in no danger in Lahore, but under increasing pressure from the school as well as from family at home, I left Pakistan. Instead of accepting the embassy’s offer to fly me back to Europe, I chose to cross the local border at Waggah and on 20 September entered India. I reasoned that given the influence on the miniature practice of both the Pahari and the Rajasthani schools of painting, it would be of great interest to try and visit these sites. Pahari is based in the foothills of the Himalaya and Rajasthani around Jaipur. Since both areas were within easy reach of my future base in Delhi, I decided to investigate the situation of Indian miniature workshops, which I already knew to be more vital than their moribund counterparts in Pakistan.

186

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

I spent the first weeks in Delhi researching in the Craft Museum and planning the sites to visit. I was very fortunate in being able to consult two world specialists on Indian miniature painting: Dr Jyotindra Jain, at that time director of the Craft Museum, and Dr B.N. Goswamy, who each gave me the names of miniature painters I should meet. Dr Goswamy encouraged me to visit Anil Kumar Raina in the Kangra Valley, and Dr Jain gave me the names of several painters in Jaipur. Having read the superb texts by Goswamy on Pahari painting, I was interested to follow up his hypothesis revoking the habitual method of defining ‘schools’ of painting according to their geographical and regional setting. Instead, he uses references to the qalam (distinctive brushwork) of the known artist-families in the Punjabi hills to define their style, similar to the way a gharana of musicians has its particular style. The qalam, he insists, is a living entity, dynamic and changing, so: It was possible for the work of an artist to be appreciably different from that of his grandfather or grandson, yet sustain the lowest common denominator: a commonness of feeling which marked the work over a period of several generations. (1992:8; 1968) Goswamy had studied the family of Pandit Seu, concentrating on his two sons, Manakuh and Nainsukh. The painter he was sending me to see is the last descendant in the Seu dynasty of painters, and is proud to claim Nainsukh, considered the greatest Pahari painter, as his forefather. The traditional patriarchal aspect of the miniature practice, already described, was one of the issues I hoped to study here at first hand. I had been told by Goswamy that if I was lucky enough to find the painter Anil Raina in the museum, I would be even luckier to be invited by him to his village. In the event, I was indeed lucky on both counts. In the dusty and ill-lit miniature room of the Kangra museum Anil Raina, a tense, wiry man in his forties, sat cross-legged as he copied miniatures and surveyed the collection. Over our days of conversation, he expressed anger and frustration at his dual role as guardian/demonstrator. There was, he said, little

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

187

care for culture on the part of the state, and since there was no subsidy for training miniaturists, painting had fallen into the hands of workshops whose only interest was profit. He cheered up on inviting me to his home: a journey he made every day, taking two hours and four buses each way to his tiny village in the Kangra Valley, where with one brother Raina carries on the family tradition of miniature painting. The three-mile path wound through clusters of turquoise mudbrick houses set amidst paddy fields glowing in the setting sun: a pastoral scene worthy of a Kangra painting. Clouds of wheat burst from medieval machines as the women winnowed and the children giggled at this funny white memsahib puffing by. Raina’s house was in the vernacular style, terraced rooms shaded by pitched slate roofs surround a courtyard buzzing with extended family life. Welcomed by countless cousins and a delicious meal prepared by his shy wife and curious mother, Raina opened the treasure trove of his late father’s painting materials: plastic bags of fabulous hues containing pigments (ground by his wife), bundles of brushes and rows of shells. These materials are still used by Raina in his painting after work, since he says his best work is done at home. Often working all night long, he constantly prepares for the ‘crafts’ section of city trade-fairs, where he shows his highly skilled reproductions of Kangra-style miniatures. Gazing at the slides of the new Lahori miniatures, Raina admired their technique but was hesitant about the modern content. Two days later he said he would copy them. When I asked if he could envisage treating a subject of his choice, he suggested painting a woman shepherd in a field. ‘In a field here, today?’ I asked. ‘Yes, if you want,’ he replied, somewhat forlornly. I felt awkward . . . why on earth should he change his pattern of work? Raina was wholly engaged in the act of copying as perfectly as he could from ‘originals’, reproduced either in books or by his father, in order to preserve and continue the dynastic tradition. As to Goswamy’s theory of family semblance of qalam (‘brushwork’) there were definitely signs of similarity, but the Kangra style is so particularly refined that its practitioners are obliged to share the rigorous draughtmanship which induces the style of the brushwork.

188

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Raina’s work is of a very high standard, exquisitely realised, yet wholly conservative. In Goswamy’s text on the history of Pahari miniaturists, he suggests that the sign of a great painter emanates through ‘acts of boldness’ which results in the painter becoming more of an ‘individualist’, growing up within the bounds of tradition yet capable of ‘thinking things out on [his] own, working out ideas carefully, testing the limits of tradition and then expanding it through [his] own creativity’ (1991). Somehow I felt that in Raina’s case there was no energy left to realise this. What were the reasons for this apparent loss of experiment? Had the copying been forced to become, for economic reasons, less of a dynamic stage and more of a final result? In Jaipur I had a whistle-stop tour of the workshops on the back of the miniaturist Gutai’s scooter. I was shown an extraordinary variety of copies/reproductions of different schools and periods of miniature painting, from Mughal to Rajasthani to Kangra to Company-style – even, to my surprise, copies of Tibetan Thangkas and versions of Bengal School symbolist landscapes, decorated with touches of art-nouveau calligraphics. Presumably such an impressive range responded to the demands of the curio market, local and global. In each workshop, I tentatively brought out the slides of the Lahori work, an act of provocation which, because of my embarrassment, began to feel like exposing ‘dirty postcards’, and the reaction almost confirmed this. An air of suspicion and polite lack of interest was shown by the older practitioners, in contrast to the huge interest manifested by the younger apprentices. At first a prolonged silence shrouded their concentrated looking at each image, passing them around the group. This was followed by intense questioning. Whilst the older ones admired the technique, the younger ones immediately spotted the themes and wanted to know more. When I asked if they could envisage working on contemporary issues, they seemed to shrug this off, though whether this was due to the patriarchal gaze of the ustad or to their own inhibitions was difficult to verify. I was not able to interview the younger ones alone, as they were not allowed a break from the tough workshop hours. Much later though I was lucky enough to talk with Gutai’s student son, who felt strongly that

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

189

the younger painters would really like to attempt illustrating actual events, but that they had no idea how to go about it. The small school in Jaipur has none of the inventive pedagogy of the Lahore school – it simply trains students in the reproductive mode sought by tourists, now often Indian as well as from abroad. In contrast with the depleted collection of the Lahore museum, the two main Jaipur museums have superb examples of miniatures from both Mughal and Pahari schools. One could well imagine that this would be a source of inspiration for invention, as was the V&A collection for Zahoor; it seems however that their very quality might act as more of a hindrance, overwhelming the younger artists who, without any training in critical thought, are made to feel inferior.17 There is a profoundly embedded spirit of respect for the ‘classical’ miniatures, as I observed when accompanying Gutai around the museums. He gave me the impression that he visited the collections less and less, adding that the apprentices were under so much pressure to produce that they rarely went to the museums. Gutai showed himself to have an excellent ‘eye’: his critical comments as we studied different examples were very acute. We discussed his ideas of the criteria for assessing miniature work. He said that in his view there were three areas in which ‘quality’ is ‘god-given’: art, music and literature. In any other domain, such as medicine, engineering or science, ‘quality’ can be taught. However, when I suggested that by ‘modernist’ criteria of art, an example of ‘tribal’ work, considered as crude by Mughal standards, could easily be judged as not only ‘great’ but inspirational for contemporary artists, he laughed long and loud and said that all was relative. The fact that the production of miniatures in India is now 99 per cent orientated to the tourist-curio market reveals that with commodification ‘creativity’ seems to have disappeared. Sundar argues that the decline in quality arose with the erosion of serious patronage: ‘Once the encouragement and inspiration from the patrons was missing, the spirit disappeared. Even when techniques were preserved the work became imitative’ (Sundar 1995:112). Nowadays the business side is counteracted by the mystique of the traditional past, as with Raina’s famous heritage, yet even the glorious Seu dynasty does not

190

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

appear to validate his work as a ‘master’ in concrete terms, since his work sells for quite low prices. This dilemma relates to the art market and to the shift in status of the ‘studio’ miniature. Curiously, this upward shift is not marked, as yet, by the prodigious rivalry shown between the workshop painters. During my tour, I noted how each artist accused the other of a decadent commercialism, defending his own practice as authentic and ‘serious’.18 The art historian Kavita Singh confirmed my impression that with the increasing numbers of dealers and the decreasing numbers of ‘authentic’ artefacts, the market was depending more and more on a network of reproduction whereby the quality of the work varied according to the diverse demands. The stock we had seen together illustrated the poor condition of work, on levels of both ‘genuine’ and ‘repro’ art works: those which were classed by connoisseurs as genuinely ‘antique’ as well as those which were clearly seen by the same agents to be ‘fakes’. In a small Delhi workshop, we were shown the work of the young son of an traditional painter. His drawings of plant forms and geometric patterns were meticulously accomplished and bore a resemblance to the style and content of traditional margin decoration in Mughal miniature albums. I presumed they were a preparation for such a project, but it transpired that the work had been commissioned by a Japanese textile company for the design of their kimono sashes. In no way did the artist show any concern as to the shift of patronage – in fact he was evidently delighted to have received such a commission, which was clearly taken as a sign of respect for his refined miniature technique. At the same time, the economic consciousness of the South Asian artisan is not duped by the convenience of such an arrangement. Having been forced to learn to negotiate from a subaltern position since colonial times, the agent here soon realises that since it suits the Japanese budget to produce in South Asia, she/he should grab the opportunity. The situation again recalled parallels with the clothing trade, in which the relocation of European manufacturing to Asian territories creates job loss on one side and generates work for those conditioned to a lower wage. Strategically the profits from this ongoing imperialism, now also operating under Asian capitalism, are vastly out of proportion to the apparent local benefits, but there is

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

191

precious little time or space for the individual artisan to challenge the political throes of global capitalism.

Trading miniatures The orthodox miniature trade over the last 60 years since Partition is not unlike that of the trade in oriental carpets, as described by Spooner (1986:195–236). It is founded on the art of reproduction and is basically split between three classes of mediators or dealers, each forming different discursive factions. In the first class are those perceived as researching, or seeking out ‘authentic’, genuinely old pieces. This group operates at the ‘high’ end of the antique market, involving public museums, auction houses and private collectors. Members of this group class themselves as specialists, by mutual recognition and nomination, exactly as any group of art dealers. Their discourse is perceived as ‘specialist’, based on connoisseurship or apparently academic knowledge. What is fascinating though, in my experience, is their initial lack of interest in the contemporary miniature. This also was my experience with eminent scholars of traditional miniatures, wary of the contemporary for diverse reasons.19 Their lack of interest may well have been due to the familiar specialist discourse, which argues that contemporary ‘traditional’ forms of art are not ‘authentic’ because of contamination by Western influences. This could be classed as an example of ‘elite hypostatisation’, whereby prejudiced assumptions are ‘founded on little or no evidence’ (Bundgaard 1999:151), and somehow perpetuated through ‘serious speech acts’ (Dreyfus and Rabinow 1982:48). The second group or class engages those dealers interested in supplying the urban middle-class consumers of ‘ethnic’ commodities, whether culinary, decorative or sartorial (Tarlo 1996). This group may include the rare mediators who negotiate sales with certain younger buyers of the contemporary miniatures, those who read the art magazines (Art India or The Herald); their discursive frame is based on that of ‘life-style’ fashion-speak. It was perhaps not surprising to note from my observations that this group would prefer to buy works which are not explicitly political.

192

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

In the third class are those furnishing the tourist-curio market, all production for which takes place in the flourishing miniature workshops of India. The discursive framework here concentrates on the recognition of skill according to ‘traditional’ modes of practice. There is nowadays no comparable network in Pakistan due to a triad of negative factors which trail round in a vicious circle: lack of tourism, the collapse of workshops and the dearth of state support for either culture or tourism. It is fascinating to note the hierarchical structure and the concomitant behaviour induced by such classifying. In my exchanges over the last seven years of visiting workshops, ‘specialists’, collectors and galleries, it has become clear that members of the first group are wary of connections with the workshops. They nevertheless acknowledge that there are some very ‘good’ artists in Jaipur, but this is inferred by hinting that ‘other’ dealers use them to produce authentic fakes, or faked ‘authentic’ pieces. Indeed, some of the miniatures reproduced in the Jaipuri workshops are of an excellent standard, and they are so subtly aged and scarred that they may well outwit many a specialist.20 The ‘art-world’ galleries who are committed to showing the new miniaturists are still rare and operate outside the above three categories. Modernist ideology promotes a persuasive image of the avant-garde collector as holder of the ‘pure gaze’ (Bourdieu 1984:183), born from a genuine love of art and operating on a spiritually higher plane which disdains trade. The testable ambiguity of this discourse will be examined below with the presentation of a gallerist’s views. Is the miniature workshop en route to becoming another form of sweat shop? Yet again the reflection on the context swings back to the nineteenth-century British commercial ethics which initiated Indian traders into capitalist consciousness: ‘India is in a position to become a magnificent customer . . . what is wanted, what is to be copied to meet that want, is thus accessible for study in these museums’ (Watson 1866:2–3). This is cited by Tarlo, who, in her study of clothing in India, recounts how the huge tome The Textile Manufactures and Costumes of the People of India (Watson 1866) contained 700 ‘working specimens’ of Indian textiles which would serve as ‘industrial museums’ for the study of Indian taste by British

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

193

manufacturers intent on cornering the textile market in India.21 Thus the British lesson was one of imitation, and one destined to a specific market: that of the ‘hundred and millions of lower grades’ who wore the plainer, cheaper stuffs, since this cloth could be produced cheaply (Tarlo 1996:40). This information is relevant to the complex issue of copying in miniature practice, which is justified by a rather different discursive formation, one based on ‘authenticity’ rather than commerce. First, traditional practice prescribes copying as part of the training. Secondly, copies of older miniatures are wholly accepted as viable works by both specialists and dealers; and thirdly, copying is perceived by those same agents as well as the ustads as a sign of authenticity, by way of its adherence to the orthodox path. However, the level of an ‘individual’ touch is often declared by specialists the key to a work of quality, to be detected in the subtle differences in treatment of a classical familiar theme by a new artist (Archer 1952; Goswamy 1999). The ‘elite’ discourse never addresses the commercial reasons for copying. As Spooner observes in his text on oriental carpets, there is a ‘discontinuity between the criteria of commerce and those of connoisseurship’ (1986:197). There lies a difference in the historical accounts of the two artefacts: whereas the carpet weaver remains anonymous, the miniaturist becomes personally inscribed into the heritage by being named, primarily through court archives and consequently through scholarly research. Therefore, although the commodifications of carpets and miniatures share the contemporary insistence on authenticity, the status of the producers alters the classification of the object. It also depends on how the object is, in Kopytoff’s term, ‘singularised’ for purposes of distribution. Consequently, in art-historical terms derived from the West, the modern miniaturist is categorised as an ‘artist’, but the status of the carpet weaver is that of a ‘master craftsman’. Since the content of the miniature is secular it allows for the celebration of the maker, but the content of the Islamic carpet is that of a ‘garden paradise’, symbolising a sacred space. However, the carpet is also a utility, and as such has been classed as a craft product within the Western hierarchy, between the ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ arts. Such a status only recently shifted with its ‘re-singularisation’, as traced by Spooner throughout

194

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the increasing emphasis placed on its symbolic meaning, especially by those Western collectors for whom the metaphor of the ‘magic carpet’ fulfils their Orientalist dreams. It is somewhat ironic therefore to note the inverse progression in art-world status of the carpet and the miniature: that whilst the carpet gains cultural capital through its diversion of status, away from the craft world and into elitist appreciation as an ‘antique’ art form, the miniature is currently being ‘singularised’ precisely on account of its contemporary ‘craftmanship’, now back in art-world grace through discursive recognition, as discussed in the following chapter.

Contrasts between workshop and studio production The above section on the workshop context reveals a number of issues which are interesting to compare with the concerns of the contemporary miniature practice. Primarily, the ease with which the traditional miniaturists shifted their practice in the mid-nineteenth century towards photography is quite extraordinary, compared with the resistance towards photography manifested by most European painters. Their move is both surprising and comprehensible. Surprising on account of the loss of status as court artists, yet comprehensible for economic reasons. The adaptability of the miniaturists to mechanical reproduction is a legacy which has been warmly adopted by those in Group X. Its very resourcefulness challenges the discourse of loss represented by the members of Group O as well as by the workshop miniaturists described above. The flexibility in appropriation of styles is a characteristic of both the workshop artists and Group X, but for wholly opposing reasons: whereas the former’s aim is to suit the market, the latter’s is to provoke reflection.22 The timeworn debate between art and craft appears to be recycled in two kinds of the miniature practice today in order to mark out territories in the former hierarchic sense. In the words of an anthropologist writing on tourist art, it still functions as ‘a device for maintaining power and stratification in colonial systems’ (Graburn 1999:352). The stark contrasts between the two production sites, the

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

195

studio and the workshop, are manifested in their denominations and in their decors. Whereas the former simulates the set of the Mughal atelier, the latter simply squats in a sweatshop. Both pretend to ‘authenticity’. When the criterion for authenticity is similarity with the original, all is based on being an excellent copyist of a historicist representation, which ignores historical change. In a paradoxical way this could be related to Barthes’ notion: ‘The realist is not a copyist from nature . . . but someone who makes copies of copies . . . thus realism consists not in copying from the real but in copying a (depicted) copy’ (1974:55). Although their decors and their market aims differ, the orthodox Group O and the Jaipuri sweatshops share the same discourse, based on the preservation paradigm. This is where Group X subverts the norm, by historicising their content. The differences in terms of market value are clearly manifested through the rise of the contemporary miniatures in terms of both ‘cultural’ and financial capital, a fact which reveals the inevitable interdependence of economic and cultural interests: ‘Regimes of value and specific flows of commodities are tied together through political mediation’ (Appadurai 1986:57). The tourist-curio miniature, commonly attributed to workshops, and the studio-produced miniatures of Group O are tied to a mythical construct of originality/authenticity, a discourse which lends itself to nationalism. Today, the miniature practice is being presented in ethno-nationalist terms, under the heading of both ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Islamic art’.23 Spooner writes that carpet-weaving cannot be treated as a genre of Islamic art because it was practised in diverse places before the Islamic era (Spooner 1986:201). Relating this to the miniature context involves two issues: first, if album illustrations were produced for centuries before the Islamic period in Central Asia and the Middle East by anonymous craftsmen, why are they now so easily classed as belonging to the ‘Islamic genre’? Is it then due to such Western classification that the status of the miniaturist became upwardly mobile? As related in Chapter 3, it is the naming of the maker as ‘artist’ which led to the distinction – previously unknown, since all artisans shared the same title of mussawir:

196

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

I have a problem with the word ‘miniature’, the image that springs to mind is of a Mughal king on a throne. Miniature is not even a word from the subcontinent. Our heritage is mussawir, I would prefer to be just called a painter. (Aisha Khalid 2001) The miniatures’ circulation outside Pakistan is attracting not only market attention but debate, particularly around the rare coincidence of traditional form and political content.

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

197

CAMEO 9 Hasnat Mehmood The final artist to be presented evokes yet again a contrast, by way of his quiet, almost passive, resilience. This is to be sensed in the warm personality of Hasnat Mehmood. As many of the younger female miniaturists overtly cite their role model as Aisha Khalid, so the male artists appear to pay homage to their teacher Imran Qureshi by emulating his superbly crafted style. This is the case with Mehmood, whose work reflects a similar mood of romantic melancholy. In many ways his persona has the same air of distinction fused with selfdeprecating humour. Both these male artists have a gentleness in their nature as well in their drawing. Their art is political in content, yet the issues are somehow subdued to give place to a more philosophical perspective, one in which formal solutions are envisaged as vital. His work has been described as ‘strong and silent’ (Nasar 2005) and also as having ‘impassioned control’ (Ali 2005). Somewhere in between Mehmood operates with a contained energy, hesitating to express himself boldly yet gathering strength en route. Since discussing his work while a student in his final year, we have spoken on occasions which were hurried and disorganised. For a while, he appeared to be leading a slightly nomadic existence, travelling back and forth between his home town of Multan, where he had found a job teaching in a secondary school, and Lahore, to which he longed to return and to set up studio space. Fortunately he has now achieved that wish, and also been taken on as lecturer in the miniature department at the NCA. The sad story of how his wall-painting in his rented room had been wiped off by his landlady before he had even left summed up the confusion which clouded the first two years after his graduation. He has now shot ahead since the commission from Qureshi to join in the Karkhana project, as well as participating in shows in New York, London and Japan. His earlier work was a parody of nationalism. He took as his targets the insignia and paraphernalia beloved by Pakistani militia and officialdom. These can be uniforms, badges, caps, epaulettes, stripes, medals and flags, or ciphers, seals, stamps, signatures and

198

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

fingerprints – all attributes of everyday administration. He refers to the current civil service as a sort of administrative pantomime inherited from the ancient vestiges of power, both Mughal and colonial. Its antics of documenting, registering, archiving and filing fulfil an ongoing game of divide and rule in which the players carry on in their parts as extras in a scenario by Jarry. Mehmood mocks the pomp and circumstance by replacing the noble Mughal profiles with his own identikit photos, a local hero, framed by banal postmarks. In his work, A Letter to All I (2001, Plate 48) he juxtaposes the stamps of India and Pakistan on either side of a green-framed white image of the Indian Peace monument, as if the soeurs ennemies could echo the harmony of the lotus in a possible union on a bloody bed of deep red vermilion (to ‘miniate’, from the Latin minium means ‘to redden’). Another series of Mehmood’s work deals with gun culture, rampant in Pakistan since the ‘captured Kalashnikovs’ disappeared into fundamentalist camps and now reappear in the hands of so called ‘security guards’, who guard everywhere from everybody under the carefully cultivated threat of a society at risk. In A Letter to All VII (2001, Plate 49) Mehmood has produced delicately drawn stamps which repeat the icons of the gun and the Islamic ogive arch. In A Letter to All VIII (2001, Plate 50) he delineates rows of rifles, boxed in stamp format and aiming at a symbolic book encased in silver paper. Recently Mehmood worked on a series entitled Conference of the Crows, Love in the Time of Chaos (2004, Plate 51) inspired by the Sufi text The Conference of the Birds by Fariduddin Attar, which recounts how thousands of birds confer before searching for the Simorgh, divine leader of all birds; 30 survive the journey. The search is an allegory for a voyage of self-discovery, and thus the name Simorgh was adopted by the main women’s group in Lahore. (Mehmood has always shown sympathy for women’s-rights activism.) One in the series, (2004, Plate 52) shows a neo-Egyptian head, profiled by a serrated line, the eye framed as a stamp. Another piece reveals rows of crows on the right stare out from a grid-like set of stamps, evoking a sense of surveillance. In military unison they contemplate an advert for a Smith and Wesson revolver torn from an arms manual, and exquisitely over-painted with lotus blooms. Another version has four guns pointing at each

INTRODUCTION WORKSHOP AND : MINIATURE STUDIO PM RODUCTION ANOEUVRES

199

other on the left whilst on the right a grid frames a wintery landscape of crows poised in the moonlight. Cut Along the White Line (2004, Plate 53) shows three rifles aiming at a lotus stamp. The reference to manuscript illumination is emphasised by the lay-out, while the use of repetition is at once traditional and modernist in its play on bureaucratic signs. Mehmood’s imagery weaves together motifs of war and peace in ways which combine the diverse functions of repetition: either operating as a defence mechanism, in a Freudian way whereby a traumatic event can be reintegrated into a symbolic order, or serving as a ‘screen’ against the real (Foster 1999:132). Yet his repetition can also be a form of meditative device which induces the viewer to speculate with equanimity on an implicitly disturbing content. Somehow, Mehmood’s austere space allows for all three functions, implying perhaps that miniature practice may well be therapeutic in certain ways.

200

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

201

6 THE GLOBAL ‘ART-WORLD’

This chapter investigates the ways in which discursive formations influence the reception of the contemporary miniature. This will be examined through two sites of its diffusion: the art-world and the art market.

Discursive formations The changes in both status and value of the new miniatures on being exhibited outside Pakistan have very little to do with the traditional and indigenous criteria of ‘authenticity’. Their upwardly mobile shift is a direct result of their entering the globalised art-world into which South Asian contemporary art has been ‘assimilated’ over the last decade. The manner in which the elitist, aesthetic discourse and the populist, market discourse constitute each other has a long history. As Appadurai points out, it is the tension between the original elitist control of the market and the new competition arising from shifts of taste towards commodification which builds up the political arena of global capitalism. Since the rift between craft and fine art engineered by the British colonialists in the sub-continent, the legitimising of an artefact through specialist nomination was established through the creation of academic discourse: ‘The authenticity and originality as well as the quality of the work are guaranteed by a corps of specialists: the

202

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

historians of art’ (Moulin 1978:242–3). It is only comparatively recently, with the gradual rise in the sociological study of art history, that the links between commerce and aesthetics have been explored. Each ‘art-world’, adopting Becker’s designation, is shown to constitute its own discourse. Through collective discussion, each group negotiates its terms of trade and policy conventions: ‘Every art-world creates value by the agreement of its members as to what is valuable. The artistic quality of a work is found in the relation between the object and its art-world rather than in the object itself’ (Becker 1982:146). The art-world’s historical location lies in the European time-space commonly allotted to modernism, and famously described as ‘an incomplete project’ engaged in developing the spheres of science, morality and art ‘according to their inner logic’ (Habermas 1981/1983:3–15). As a category, modernism covered the evolution, and assured the hegemony, of Western cultural theory and practice from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1970s. This is perceived to be the era when there was a change of semantic gear, into postmodernism,1 and when the deconstruction of the master narrative began. Two other taxonomies appeared in the race between historians and philosophers to classify post-Duchampian art:‘Nominalism’ (de Duve 1987), whereby choice elects an object as an artwork; and ‘Institutional theory’ (Dickie 1969), whereby acceptance by an art-world determines the qualification of an object as art. Such ‘reconnaissance rhetoric’ in the art-world is deflated by the sober definition of anthropologist Nancy Sullivan: ‘a discursive formation, constituted of particular social relations at a given time (1995:258). Within this complex network, the local discursive formation is often underestimated by art historians, who have relied more on the aesthetic evaluation of specialists, perceived as an ‘elitist discourse’ by those ethnographers who take a Foucauldian perspective. The evidence of there being a plurality of discursive formations motivates Bundgaard’s convincing proposition: ‘to suggest, as an alternative to the concept of a singular art-world, that of art worlds, implying an acknowledgement of the inherent discursive formations and the strategic practices arising in response to these’ (Bundgaard 2000:6).

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

203

Diffusion Diverse art-worlds link up with the global art-market through two areas: exhibitions and auctions. Beginning with the ‘multicultural’ syndrome witnessed at the end of the 1980s by mega-exhibitions in Western capitals, such as Les Magiciens de la Terre (Paris, 1989), the postmodern mode for difference led to ‘world art’ becoming the main theme of cultural curating and critique, ‘treating cultural artefacts like so many fetishist pawns in the game of global exchange’ (Kapur 2000:281). Ethnographers play their part in the art-world. Their earlier role as ‘specialists’, serving to endorse the value of artefacts for antique dealers, has now been promoted to one of legislating on indigenous artefacts for Western curators, who then elevate the category to ‘art works’ by way of presentation (Price 1989). Art and anthropology share overlapping discourses in the field of culture, but the ways in which categories or definitions serve to construct values are examined with differing perspectives. Postmodernism led to a certain illusion amongst art-world agents that a politicised, transcultural terrain of operations would somehow function beyond the capitalist market: as two statements from 1999 reveal: [A]rt today functions as a diplomatic network, linking disparate cultures through acts of simultaneous self-discovery and selfrevelation. It is actually performing a role, and a crucial one, in the social and geo-political re-orientation that is still dealing with the fall-out of the colonial era. (McEvilley 1999) These are the words of an art critic. Those of an anthropologist imply certain reservations: ‘It is naive to believe that colonial inequalities and asymmetrical relations between countries and continents are somehow being, dissolved through cosmopolitanism’ (Thomas 1999:8). The ethnographical position is warier of the ways in which local cultural practices become embedded into globalised systems of political economy. Has the modernist centre-periphery power-structure of the market been changed by a postmodernist vision? It would seem that

204

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

anthropologists nurture a suspicion that the postmodern Western artworld is morally tarnished by its proximity to power and money: ‘Art discourse and art production are very close to significant instrumentalities, large vectors of power and money from which anthropology is relatively distant’ (Marcus and Myers 1995:26).2 How can indigenous art function in ways independent of the globalised spectrum, as anticapitalist art-activists envisage?3 In between the developing play of postmodernism across the world and the transnational exhibitions over the last 20 years,4 the term ‘art-world’ has come to define a global field dominated by the market. Ethnicity has become an issue open to exploitation in such an art-world, where former commercial interests in ‘primitive’ or ‘indigenous’ artefacts are widening to include contemporary artproduction. Whereas the former primitivist discourse pursued the traditional line, that it was the ‘purity’ of an indigenous artefact which qualified it as genuinely ‘authentic’, the contamination of postcolonial art by Western modes causes problems. ‘To gain recognition as individuals they more or less have to change category’ (Morphy 1995:216). In other words they must be seen to fit into the Western process of individuation in order to function within a global market dominated by Europe and America, ‘to signal their ethnicity through a variety of formal and symbolic devices’ (Sturtevant 1986:41–4). Devices which are suitable for promoting Pakistani art extol craft and exploit ethnicity, yet rarely advertise gender.5

Craftmanship as a valorised attribute The miniature artists in this study repeat how often this aspect – the value – of their work is the first to be appreciated at Western venues.6 A common lament articulated through popular media appreciation is that ‘craftmanship’ or ‘virtuosity’ has been lost through high technology and conceptual art: the two axes of evil, according to the preservation paradigm.7 Such a discourse also suggests that craft today is most likely to be found in artefacts produced in the ‘third world’, a conviction which echoes the colonialist strategy of marketing ethnicity through craftmanship. The very fact of miniature

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

205

fabrication being hand-made and unique is enough to defend the anti-mechanisation discourse: ‘We cannot separate the function of the miniature from a nostalgia for pre-industrial labour, a nostalgia for craft’ (Stewart 1993:68). Craftsmanship (including craftswomanship) is a quality valued in Western society because it is perceived as either missing or in ruins, a popular trope in the romantic perspective on tradition (Benjamin 1977). Pamuk devotes several passages to describing the mourning of traditional skill in miniature illumination by the Ottoman workshop painters themselves: ‘Opening and shutting old illuminated manuscripts, master Osman would sink his face with sorrow into the wondrous artwork (because nobody could paint this way anymore)’ (Pamuk 2001:303). The Japanese art historian Kakuzo Okakura (1853–1913) propagated an ideal of a Pan-Asian civilisation, which had a profound influence on Indian nationalism, particularly through his vision of craftmanship whose loss symbolised the loss of spirituality. The miniaturists in Group X share a wariness about the facility with which spectators attribute the metaphor of ‘craft-like’ to their work, because they see this as part of the ethnic cultural baggage attached to the nationalist discourse. Their aim is a freedom from any fixed position relating their artwork to their ethnicity: ‘the freedom to include in post-colonial realities other discourses of opposition such as those of genders and minorities . . . discourses that question the ethics of the nation state itself’ (Kapur 1997:30).

Ethnicity as a market value In such a complex society as that of colonial Britain, it was obviously economically and politically viable to subsidise specialists who developed explicit theories not only about their own art production but also about that of other cultures: hence the birth of anthropologists of art, especially ‘primitive’ art. Suiting a capitalist-oriented aesthetics of craftsmanship, ethnic identity became a marker of value. Since the nineteenth century anthropological research into indigenous art production has tended to focus on either tribal or folk

206

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

art-forms. More recently, under the heading ‘material culture’, study has been concentrated on the transition of ‘ethnographic’ artefacts from museological categories to the Western art world, where the blurring of ethnicity occurs in the shedding of context.8 However, the ethnographic gaze tends to glide unseeing over contemporary art production. The reasons for this remain confused.9 In any market, trade depends on supply and demand. In the chapter on aesthetics, it was shown how the classification imposed by the Western ‘specialists’ of ‘primitive’ or indigenous art depended on the artefact being uncontaminated by Western influences for it to qualify as genuinely ‘authentic’; and this was undoubtedly motivated by marketing concerns. ‘Hybridity’ may well be a keyword in postmodernist aesthetics when multicultural issues are under debate, yet there remains a curatorial tendency to spectacularise ethnic and cultural differences at times of international biennales or art jamborees, such as Venice or Dokumenta.10 In spite of the increased representation of local curators, European and American curators still predominate. This suggests that a form of Orientalism persists under Western hegemony in the art world. Orientalism in the form of cultural tourism was the theme of a critical exhibition entitled ‘Universal Experience’ (Hayward Gallery, 2005). The show was strong, not simply for its rich array of international iconic symbols and for the wit of the artists’ interventions, but for its successful persuading of the viewers to reflect on their own experience of tourism. However, the curator’s discourse reads exactly like a tourist blurb, enticing the spectator to voyage into ‘the unknown’ (Bonami 2005:19). Despite its carefully-created aura of post-colonial consciousness, the juxtaposition of modernism and ritualist rhetoric manifests yet another rehash of earlier primitivising attitudes.11 The notion of difference, like the concept of ‘the other’, is regularly used as a marketing strategy, in culture as in commerce. This is only too evident in comparing the policies of Benetton and Saatchi, as Orozco, the Mexican artist, stated over 15 years ago: ‘We cannot make thrilling art any more, Disneyland, the Movies, or just Benetton adverts can do it so much better than we can’ (cited in Durham

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

207

1994:117). On the one hand there is a demand for an ‘authentic’ tourist art, but once the status of the artefact is raised to that of global artwork, another manoeuvre would seem to be operating to assimilate the work to Western aesthetic taste. This happens through a blurring of overly specific iconographic information and an emphasis on formal qualities.12 Thus through specialist nomination, the status of the object is transformed from a ritual artwork, and the local producer is legitimised as ‘artist’ in the modernist Western sense. The game however, is being learned by local artists in several communities, where ritual artefacts metamorphose into tourist curios which risk ‘singularisation’ for the benefit of the middleman. These indigenous producers have started to run a two-tier mode of production, one for the ritual and the other for commerce, each with its own logic.13 The tendency to represent national identity through a reductive trope or by tagging on to a floating signifier is perceived in advertising as a clever tactic, but when the peripheral regions come up for grabs by the metropolitan ‘cultural brokers’ (Ramirez 1996:22), such agendas simply replay the ‘great game’, as vividly described by the Cuban curator Mosquera in his dark text, Post-Colonial Explorers: They penetrate our urban parts of darkness in order to scout out their wealth . . . the old colonial narratives of ‘Discovery’ continue today in the geography of art. The hegemonic west is always the Self and we the rest are always the ‘Other’. (Mosquera 1994:136) The realisation by indigenous artists of the interest to be found in running a ‘two-tier’ mode of production (Hart 1995) may well reveal an appropriation of Western ‘cynical reasoning’ (Sloterdijk 1983:5). This has been described as ‘enlightened false consciousness’, whereby a certain duplicity is operated by a cynical subject in order to ‘negotiate the contradictory demands placed upon him’ (Foster 1996:118). Such playing on awareness and ignorance, in its indigenisation, does not relinquish agency – on the contrary, it redeploys it to subvert the power relations (Appadurai 1990; 1991). Ethnicity thus becomes a pawn for both sides, maker and mediator, like coloniser

208

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

and colonised in the third space of potential subversion envisaged by Bhabha (1994). The risk of miniature painting being pigeon-holed as an ethnic art form is the third stage of the consequences of cultural contact through ‘peri-evolution’, that is through a local culture being encompassed by a colonising force. However, this is not a matter of small-scale versus large-scale societies, since the background of miniature painting already has a complex aesthetic. A demand for ‘Pakistani-ness’ may well be shared by international curators and local community administrators, yet the very intention of the miniaturists is to resist the clichés attached to any fixed notion of identity. The clash here comes between the diverse degrees of essentialism. It can lead towards a silencing of the other if ethnicity is taken beyond reasonable objectification14 into reification, a state of ‘representation which distorts and silences and hence is essentialist in a pernicious sense’ (Werbner 1997:229). Yet essentialising a communal identity plays a vital role in the first stages of any nationalist discourse, which uses the politics of ethnicity in a positive sense: towards constructing a new, self-based ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983; Geertz 1993:108–9). This is a form of ‘strategic essentialising’ which seems to have been misunderstood in certain post-colonialist theorising.15 Pakistanis in Britain, for instance, identify with different aesthetic communities: with nostalgic visions of village homelands, of bazaar smells or of ‘the muezzin’s cry, suppliant, plaintive and sensual’ (Sidhwa 1978:20), alongside Bangra rap, Nike trainers and Tesco shopping.16 Fused identities as ‘Punjabis/Pakistani nationals/British Muslims/Desis/Asians’, are assumed and enjoyed. It is the selective nature of self-imagining within the orthodox Group 0 which creates a mythical purist identity by the denial of hybridity, and this borders on reification. The nature of diasporic identity is in its creolisation, as a fusion of influences and sources. However, in the Westernised art-world the double bind of hybridity and ethnicity evokes a cloudy genre, one which can be ideologically manipulated. Disclaiming any neo-nationalist propaganda, curators make use of the ethnicity card to play a contemporary market geared to ‘cultural diversity’. The Arts Council conference on Cultural Diversity mentioned above and a Tate symposium on Art and Anthropology (2006)

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

209

revealed the longstanding inertia towards art from ‘other’ cultures by British officialdom.17 Why is this changing now? One cheerless conclusion is that it is those very differences which provide ideological and discursive explanations for the continuation of white dominance (Cubitt 2003). Such an explanation was made transparent through two examples of the ‘preservation’ discourse uttered by Neil MacGregor, Director and the Head Curator of the Indian department at the British Museum.18 His defence of keeping the Elgin marbles in the ‘universal museum . . . the world under one roof’ argued that it told ‘the big story’ to a multilingual spectatorial mass in London, greatly outweighing the few Athenian spectators who, on the whole, ‘only spoke Greek’.19 I made a public request in the conference, asking the British Museum to lend some of their fine miniature collection to the Lahore Museum so that the students in the only miniature department in the world could at last see work of a higher quality than the poor examples left in Lahore, after the British ‘collectors’ had made their ‘selections’. The response was a resounding negative, based on the argument that the Pakistani context, both museological and political, was too risky. Both these responses demonstrated how art is controlled by circulation, by ways of distribution through official and private channels, thus submitting to the late-capitalist discourse on risk (Diken 2002:57). Ethno-curatorial strategies manoeuvre the contemporary artist into various forms of role-playing.20 Masquerade is the name of the game, or perhaps charades, where the player enacts a part which suits the scenario: either homogenised in a ‘back to roots’ story, or, in heterogeneous mode, to sell as a product of the globalised art-world.21 This first mode is illustrated by the experience of the Pakistani artist Hamra Abbas whilst studying in Berlin. She considered herself lucky to be allotted the artist Rebecca Horn as her tutor. In her first tutorial, Horn declared that her work was too restricted and needed to ‘open up and explode’ by her moving around Europe and imbibing the artwork of others. In the second session, Horn said: ‘Actually, do you know what I really think? I think you people should not leave your roots.’ When recounting this anecdote, Hamra added with judicious humour: ‘We shouldn’t complain, because we’re the ones who

210

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

keep hammering away at the shallow slogans like the “exquisiteness” of the squirrel-hair paint brushes and the ritual of the wasli-making.’ The heterogeneous mode can be detected in Nusra Latif-Qureshi’s commentary on the fascination aroused by the use of Western imagery in new miniatures. She concludes that this is due to‘the art world’s easier acceptance of Americanised versions of pop cultural interpretations rather than having to address cultural differences’. The use of ethnic identity in answer to market demand is perceived by the miniaturists as a curator/dealer strategy. They exhibit a healthy scepticism, as expressed by Imran Qureshi: ‘The danger comes when the work is exploited as something particular, as exotic, when it should simply be seen as part of modern art production today.’ It may be presumed that the Lahore miniaturists in Group X have developed a sense of flexible identity through their recent upward mobility, and yet their hybridisation of form and content has been present since the Mughal practice of intercultural translation. The context of the contemporary miniatures is not that of the ‘floating’ indigenous artefact; it has a precise history and a prestigious heritage. Their self-imagining consciously objectifies eclectic sources – it has not been promoted as fodder for the: ‘… “diaspora paradigm”: the trendy research zone for a globalising art world’ (Nagy 2004:90).22

Gender and globalisation Whereas there has been a growing awareness of the need for examining ‘gendering’ strategies in Western cultural fields, the usual accounts of economic events are registered in a gender-neutral way, and this includes issues around globalisation. Saskia Sassen points out the neglect, in the economic discourse on development, of women’s subsidising of men’s wages by domestic assistance. She gives the example of cash-crop farming installed by foreign firms, where the waged labour of men is often subsidised by women through their household production and subsistence farming (Sassen 1998:81–100). The lack of gender debate in mainstream cultural fields in Pakistan leads to a possible analogy between agriculture and culture, if we note the comparable absence of gender dynamics within the traditional workshop

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

211

production of miniatures. The women, mothers and daughters, were there to ‘service’ the male artists – fathers, brothers and sons – by pounding pigments and plants, both for creative and culinary production. Not only were they rendered incapable of creating, since they were banned from patriarchal transmission, but also this subsidising service is totally absent from all art-historical accounts. Women were invisible, whether as creators or as chattels, only remembered with fond nostalgia by the two elderly ustads who told me how their mothers had occasionally painted within purdah, since amateur painting was perceived as ‘nurturing the finer sensibilities expected of mothers, wives and daughters’ (Hashmi 2002:7). Recent texts by female economists have studied how migration patterns alter gender patterns of work and can empower some women, particularly in industrial production (Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994). Nevertheless, this is reversed when the migrant female workforce is shifted into the servicing sectors and returns to invisibility. The fact that 80 per cent of contemporary miniaturists are women is a positive result of a long process, which has little to do with globalisation and a great deal to do with the pioneering movement of those Pakistani women artists who, as already recounted, challenged and resisted the patriarchal shackles. Curious as to why women miniaturists appeared to drop out of circulation on marriage, I spoke with those I could trace. Their accounts were identical: on marriage they simply stopped painting. One example is Fatima S., who was one of the first generation of ‘new’ miniaturists to graduate from the NCA 15 years ago. She is now married with two children and living in a smart area of Islamabad: I gave up because it was impossible to find the time to complete a painting, as this usually takes me at least a month; with the marriage and kids I was too scared to do miniatures. It’s too laborious. She found it easier and more remunerative to do interior design for friends. Other examples echoed this response. These women miniaturists thus became re-absorbed into the ‘service sector’, reverting to

212

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

their original invisibility. Apart from the time factor, which is indeed a major issue for the practitioner, the passivity with which quite feisty young women seem to succumb to the pressures of domestic duties is surprising. Is this used as an excuse? Or does it relate to their commitment as artists, since there is greater evidence of continuation by female members of Group X than by those in Group O? It may also relate to class factors, since the members of Group X all come from modest, lower-middle-class families, whereas those in Group O are almost all from higher-income backgrounds. Is there a correlation between these figures and the resistance to patriarchal order? Why does female acquiescence in domesticity happen so consistently, in a cross-class manner, in Pakistan more than with their sisters in India? It would seem that, as in India, Pakistani women artists are valorised by their participation in the global art-world, a fact which brings them symbolic capital at home, but only within a very limited circle (Mumtaz et al 1987; Hashmi 2002; Ali 2005). That circle is wider in India due to the greater public recognition of women artists (Kapur 2000; Desai 2001; Sinha 2004). Since the woman’s domestic role is not fully valorised in any public way in Pakistani society, it will take some time before that society reacts by allowing ‘the dismantling of an established labour aristocracy’ (Sassen 1998:97). In this case, the aristocracy of labour is that established by male artists

Global reception Three very different spaces for viewing the Karkhana revealed three contrasting levels of audience reception. The first space was in Rochdale Museum, Lancashire. This is a town with a large Pakistani community, but very few adults from this group visited the exhibition. However, the children had apparently been so enthused by their participation in a workshop with Imran Qureshi that it stirred them into asking for stories about their grandparents – as T.P. Brown puts it: ‘Cultural memory is part of a dynamic process that involves active engagement with cultural objects in order to engender possible actions for the future’ (2004:254).

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

213

The second space was at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgeway, Connecticut, where green-belt white-wood houses in upstate New York formed a sharp contrast with the redbrick terraces of workingclass Rochdale. The debate here with the well-heeled ladies showed a genteel concern for the mullahs’ reaction to risky content, yet never really pursued the circumstances of ideological censorship.23 The third space was that of a lecture theatre at Yale University; here none of the academics had actually seen the work, but manifested worthy fascination; the artists responded somewhat obliquely and with their customary irony, and a sense of disenchantment slowly unfolded among them, a sign perhaps of a cleavage between them and the literati of the diaspora, through lack of exchange or through ignorance of each others’ fields. A similar alienation arose in very different circumstances at a show in Cartwright Hall, Bradford, by two diasporan Pakistani artists, Faiza Butt and Naeem Rana, entitled ‘It’s Still Hard Being British’, curated by Hamad Nasar in 2006. The debate revealed a refusal by some young women from the local Pakistani community to recognise themselves in the works: ‘We feel quite happy with being Punjabi, Muslim and British, we know our identity, we don’t need your anxiety about it being hard to be British!’ The word ‘diaspora’ was never mentioned, the contentious debate proving how a provocative title can reproduce familiar tensions, here between the notions of immigrant and expatriate. The young British-Pakistani women rejected the pop imagery for paradoxical reasons: as being out of date, and sexist. The artists saw this reaction as an orthodox refusal to discern their critical target: transcultural commodification. Whereas the breakdown in the Yale debate arose from the indigenous/diaspora antagonism, the Bradford wrangle over taste clearly revealed class and generation divisions. These observations need pursuing, since the link between the two events lies in the lack of knowledge of the other’s cultural context.24 Cultural exchanges are increasing through pedagogical and artistic enterprise, yet they tend towards the short-term or the touristic experience, as witnessed in art workshops. There is a seriously urgent need for trans-cultural education rather than commodification. This problem recurs within the domains of curatorial and critical practice, as referred to below.

214

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Two exhibitions in France produced lively responses. One, at MACC in Fresnes near Paris in 2003, attracted a positive revue in Le Monde which admired the political satire: ‘India, the war, cinema, Islamicism . . . make an ironic diagram’ (Philippe Dagen). The show in Villefranche de Rouergue was as usual admired for the virtuosity of the technique, together with an unusual demand for more information on the content; this desire to decode the Karkhana’s mixed metaphors was repeated in a later show in San Francisco. Both incidences were related to the Western media’s current preoccupation with Pakistan and Afghanistan, which wholly neglects the ongoing vitality of everyday cultural life. This bias was underlined by the surprised response to Havana Marking’s recent documentary on the importance of pop music to the population of Kabul: Afghan Star (2009).

Local reception All the artists in Group X have shown principally in Pakistan, where there are a small but growing number of galleries showing the new work.25 The critical reception in the country is ambiguous – conventional art criticism treads carefully. ‘Business as usual’ shows in a steady stream of articles defending ‘authentic’ Islamic forms, such as an article describing the ‘re-emergence’ of Islamic art as no surprise: [I]n a postmodern society, art has become utterly self-indulgent and the issues of identity and spirituality have now become relevant again. Lost and dislocated, art has been reduced to ‘chicken soup for the soul’ and where even bordering on the shocking, it fails to surprise. (Sanwal, Dawn, 8 December 2001) Her article praises Mughal-style handiwork and mentions ‘tradition’ nine times, blaming its loss on ‘[the] English medium, so common in young Pakistani artists, often boring for the lack of originality’. The critic Akbar Naqvi, reviewing Qureshi’s show in 2002 at the Chawkandi, reveals the epitome of antagonist reception. His rich vocabulary of abuse describes contemporary Pakistani artists as: ‘voluntary vassals of the western art of bathos . . . indoctrinated . . .

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

215

commercial . . . witless . . . subservient and suicidal’ (The Herald, December 2002). By contrast, a positive review by Nilofar Farrukh describes Qureshi’s hybridisation of tradition as: ‘A liberating experience spurred on by the need to create a dialogue in the vernacular of the day’ (Newsline, December 2002). Qureshi’s cartographic works were alluding to the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Where Naqvi makes no mention of the war, Farrukh cites even earlier miniature references to war, such as the sixteenth-century Padshahnama, declaring that Qureshi is heir to a global art tradition of addressing issues of confrontation: ‘History weighs him down as well as points the way to greater innovation’ (Newsline, December 2002). These two critiques reveal the tension generated between a nationalist ideology which prejudices any historicised perspective, and an evaluation of history which permits a reasoned account. Naqvi’s tone echoes the discourse of the ‘neo-indigenous’, roots-revivalism so frequently voiced by members of the ‘old left’ in Pakistan. Its reactionary stance, constructed through opposing ‘the other’, is articulated through language identical to that used by the Orientalists in the nineteenth century. For example, Naqvi’s conclusion states that the show ‘painfully [reflected] a profound difference between the universalism of our traditional art and the globalism of western art’. He does not define these differences, he demonises them with conveniently autocratic ambivalence, recalling not only the tactics of colonialist discourse but also, curiously, the discursive virulence articulated by Araeen in his antipathy towards Pakistani postmodernism. Apart from a handful of critics,26 art history and criticism in the Pakistani press is rarely seriously informed or radical. It remains at the level of ‘distinction marks’ for demonstrating the right signs of consensual taste, and thus accessing the clubs of bourgeois privilege, a thoroughly middle-class affair. The lack of any real challenge to the dominant discourse seduces many younger artists into emulating the practices which have guaranteed ‘established’ reputations. This reflects the orthodox rapport between master and disciple, as described in Chapter 2, whereby hierarchical structure respects the family tradition of patriarchy. Admiration and appreciation protect

216

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the status quo by deferring or blurring any attempts to think otherwise. As Mirza writes: ‘If any criticism is believed to be a threat and is extinguished immediately then there are not many chances to have an atmosphere of intellectual interaction between the artists regarding the works of art’ (2003:5).

Market and art-world pressures There exists a tension in the market place between the artists of Group X and those of Group O. This is commented on by Qureshi: The orthodox miniature artists say we aim for the high prices of the world art market, when in fact it is they who sell for very high prices in the traditional market for which they work. The experimental artists are simply engaged in the production of good work for specific projects in particular sites, this is the most important thing. On the risk of market pressures having harmful effects on the practice, the artists’ responses reveal the dichotomy of perspectives between the two groups. Whereas the orthodox outlook sees market pressures as yet another sign of negative influence from the West, Group X reacts with positive enthusiasm: As to pressure on production, some people fear this as being a bad idea, leading to commercialism, but those are the ones who are not working very hard! Those working hard have shows lined up and this proves how good it is to have a goal. Pressure gives me an energy and a seriousness towards my work. As a teacher, I see the acceleration of the practice of the students in their thesis work and they suddenly come up with great stuff! (Qureshi 2004) Both academic and market pressures present a challenge to the miniaturists. Can this be reversed? Does the concept of art as process or as performance present a challenge to the institutional or market

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

217

discourse? Once when speaking with a group of Tibetan monks who were spending several days carefully filtering coloured sand to make the huge ground mandala for the polemical ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ show at Beaubourg in Paris in 1989, I asked them how they felt about their sacred diagram being presented in a ‘prestigious’ museum of contemporary art. One of the monks chuckled and replied in English: ‘If they want to call it art, they can. We don’t mind, it doesn’t mean anything to us.’ Tibetan nominalism! I have described this elsewhere as a form of Duchampian hermeneutics, since Duchamp’s artworks ‘demand an active contemplation, a creative participation. They make us and we make them’ (Paz 1970:17). The implication is a potential within inter-active art for subverting the normalisation of the market discourse: the hope of all anti-globalisation activists. The miniaturists are aware of the ways in which capitalist modes have been adopted by both state and market in South Asia to commodify traditional art forms (Kapur 2000:22), but they now hope for an interactive reception which goes beyond ethnic clichés. In view of Western art history’s failure to address contemporary Asian art, this role has been up for grabs by curators, who have responded with verve and passion to the demands of a transnational art-world. This was perhaps epitomised by the title of the Dutch pavilion in the Venice Biennale of 2003: ‘We Are the World’. In one critic’s words, ‘a reflection of the multi-cultural-transnational nature of today’s international art-worker’.27 (Mern Tat Sam 2003:312). The elitist discourse around grandiose art-world mega-shows and Biennales employs baroque jargon to mystify the multicultural, as seen in a new definition of the old term ‘transnationality’: ‘The condition of cultural interconnectedness and mobility across space’ (Ong 1999:4, cited in McClean 2004). Within this exclusive global context, what is the participation rate of South Asian artists, and how has this affected the reception of their art by local audiences? According to the historian John Clark, there is ‘[a]degree-zero accession point for Asian artists to the international “A list” in art fairs’.28 Although improving, compared with the representation in both commercial and museum spaces of artists from Far and South East Asia, South Asia has fewer artists represented – and Pakistan far

218

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

fewer – than India has. There is a tendency in the mega-show circuits to show already known artists, both from both East and West, so there is scant chance for new artists. The reasons for this are carefully analysed by the Hong Kong-based art historian David Clarke who states that most of the art-world’s ‘jet-setting curators’ lack local expertise, and as they cannot spend enough time seeking artists out, employ local scouts as ‘informants’ (Clarke 2002:237). Such strategies suit the ethos of a ‘nomad capitalism’ (Williams 1989:12), seen as the cultural logic of late capitalism, which recuperates resistant discourses (Deleuze and Gattari 1987) to market multiculturalism and ethnicity: ‘Power works according to the principle of mobility: the fast eat the slow’ (Bauman 2000:188); as an inevitable result, the smaller the country, the lesser the profile. Pakistan was invited for the first time to participate as a nation in the Venice Biennale in 2009, but the government refused to provide a subsidy. The combination in the global art-world of market pressures and high finance invites the risk of ‘disavowing politics’, a problem discussed by Zizek in The Ticklish Subject. By glossing over the particular in the name of hybrid diversity, the ‘transnational’ discourse forecloses the politicisation of specific groups and their demands ‘[to] aim at something more . . . at the re-structuring of social space’ (Zizek 1999:198). The response to this viciously-circular problem lies in the need for more concentration on specific forms of art. Networking needs to counteract the notions of transnationality or ‘trans-cultural commodification’, because such terms of reference are constituted by a Western demand for easy reception of the ‘other’ artist, one which denies complex differences: ‘There is a need to recover the meanings of Asian art in the local contexts for which it was made, and in which it plays an active and often culturally specific role’ (Clarke 2002:239). To recognise the differences in cultural concepts of aesthetic qualities is to avoid repeating the same picture of ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’, terms used by Balibar to describe a form of ‘differential racism’, where a language of culture replaces that based on geography or biology (Balibar and Wallerstein 1991). The Western art world is determined to demonstrate anti-racist policies via the notion of an

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

219

all-inclusive world order, yet the art scene is only just opening up to artists and curators from Africa and Asia.29 How can the dialogue become equal in an uneven process of globalisation? Is it due to the vulnerability of a ‘colonised mentality’ (Fanon 1952; Cesaire 1955; Bhabha 1994), which thwarts a balanced dialogue, or is the art world still a discriminating one, as pointed out regularly by the Pakistani artist Rasheed Araeen (2002; 2004).

Private, state and corporate patronage Trying to avoid ethnic exploitation is complicated by the fact that it is mostly in those very galleries specialising in South Asian art that the artists are invited to exhibit. There are exceptions. In particular, the Italian-born gallerist Tommaso Corvi-Mora, in London, was the first on the international circuit to have miniature artists on his books alongside artists from other parts of the world. He rejects the policy of catering to a specific ethnicity, as is the case with some American galleries showing Asian artists. I asked if his experience of showing the miniatures had been different from showing other work. He replied: Their approach to their practice is exactly the same as other artists, given certain cultural differences. All the artists I work with have the idea of belonging to a tradition, a sense of continuity with the past and the idea of using this and marking cultural signs in relation to that background. It’s contemporary art collectors who have bought. None are specialist orientalist collectors and that’s interesting to disseminate the work in a contemporary context. All the buyers have already bought other work from me. In response to my question concerning the belated interest in the new miniatures by museums,30 he agreed that this was a problem because of the latter’s conservative approach: ‘The only reason the V&A bought a work by Imran was because of the connection with the tradition. It requires a lot of self-confidence for museums to invest

220

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

in contemporary work, a sort of leap into the void.’ His observation recalled the exchange with the keeper of the Lahore Museum (Chapter 2), who was clearly conditioned to the total lack of state patronage for the new miniatures. On the risks of exploitation by a globalised market, Corvi-Mora said: Well, people will always try. There are many differences in the ways people think about tradition, but one thing there is in common between Eastern and Western artists is that they realise the potential of their work, and so develop a selfconfidence. They’re not ready to be abused. Aisha and Imran are very wised-up as to how things work, exactly as are my other artists – they’re equally sophisticated. The role of art within business is to market an ‘enlightened’ corporate image which conveys ‘brand differentiation’ as well as cultural capital: ‘Projecting an image – you are what you buy!’ (New York Times, 12 February 1989) was the headline of an article on corporate art, possibly ‘inspired’ by Barbara Kruger’s art piece I shop therefore I am (1982). A curious phenomenon has evolved, of a growing need for companies to enlist specialist advice: a ‘cottage industry of art counsellors’ has sprung up from all sorts of disciplines, including newly-created university courses on curating.31 As wittily portrayed in Chin-tao Wu’s formidable analysis of corporate funding, curators function as ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘art traffic controllers’: ‘These practices, in which art circulates as a common currency for the benefit of museum and corporate capital, have brought the convergence of art and commerce to a new level of intimacy’ (2002:258). Is the miniature practice affected by auctioneering?32 ‘The renaissance of miniature painting as we see it in the present time definitely has its strings attached to the Western art-world market’ (Hamra Abbas 2001). The ancient kula system of exchange , coined by Appadurai as a ‘tournament of value’ (1986:21), has been compared to western art-world auctions (Leach 1983:535). Baudrillard relates the game-playing aspects of the auction to an exchange of sign values

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

221

which confers collective caste privilege: ‘. . . a concrete community of exchange among peers’ (1981:117). What are the aspects of the contemporary miniature which could be perceived as acceptable for corporate patronage? In a controversial article33 Eva Cockcroft proposed that abstract art is often considered a more viable investment since it avoids any specific or polemical interpretation; hence it was backed by the American government during the Cold War era as a modernist counter to social-realist works. Corporate buying tends to reject figurative works, preferring the purely formalist or decorative ‘to any work which takes on an exclusive stance on social or political issues . . .’ (Buchloh 1988:261). In the light of this perception, one might assume that the miniatures, on account of their socially relevant narrative, would not fulfil the demand for an idealised corporate image. However, any cause for alarm on this score might well be offset by the ‘decorative’ aspect of their work which so enchants viewers. The underlying significance of this scenario lies at the cold heart of corporate collecting: its power to neutralise content. This critique can also be pointed at certain state cultural policies. Current conservative and nationalist appreciation of orthodox miniatures in Pakistan is based on a myth that original content was both lyrical and heroic. An example of this is the success of one older Lahori miniaturist whose work recycles the art-nouveau linearity of Chughtai’s work, raising the undercurrent of eroticism to new heights; unsurprisingly, he suspects the social realism of the new miniatures.34 Public preference for the decorative lies in its easier digestion – it makes no demands. Group X’s subtlety lies in their play on the decorative as ‘apparently’ neutral while communicating critical content through the very intricacy of the image. The artists are aware of the reclamation manoeuvres on the part of institutions. The proof of the corporate pudding reveals how the act of buying and possessing polemical work serves to accrue cultural capital because it signals a liberal outlook. The question as to whether miniature painting, by gambling with stakes in the global art-world, could becoming the ‘unwitting accomplice of a new cultural hegemony’ (Wu 2002:270); this is a real risk in the case of global corporate

222

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

purchasing-power, but the risk is negligible where Pakistani state capital is concerned, whether economic or cultural.

Reflections The architectural space for the reception of miniature paintings has shifted from the original imperial salon to the homogeneous white cube. The advantages of alternative siting is illustrated by the presence of a wider public for miniature shows in certain places, where different social space allows the artwork to be ‘put to work’ as an agent for activating social exchange among a wider social spectrum of viewers.35 This is not yet happening in Pakistan. In the West, with alternative sites, access is becoming more democratic, since most community spaces showing the miniatures, as well as museums and galleries, are free. When such sites include workshops for the public, it is exciting to see how well an inter-active art education, based on praxis and the presence of artists, functions. Such shifts imply a change in audience, from the elitist, educated courtiers in the Mughal context to the motley art-world crowd of today. In what ways has the social reception space affected the response or even changed the mix of social classes among the viewers? It is interesting to note the gender and generation clashes revealed by certain reactions towards the new miniatures. The three main agents I have cited as showing antagonism towards the apparent ‘success’ of the contemporary miniatures have all been male, middle class and elderly, one critic inside Pakistan, one outside, and one audience member in London. In contrast, the positive response has appeared from collectives run mainly by female artists and writers, of all ages and classes, such as VASL, KHOJ and SAWCC (note 241) who work in collaboration to unite indigenous and diasporan artists and viewers. Bourdieu’s critique of the bourgeois appropriation of fine art as a symbol of distinction is justified by his rigorous analysis, but he glosses over the intervention of the popular genre. The integration of ‘high’ and ‘low’ imagery has been practised throughout pictorial and literary history to provoke artistic conventions (Bakhtin 1981).

INTRODUCTION THE GLOBAL : MINIATURE ‘ART-WORLD MANOEUVRES ’

223

The cross-overs made in avant-garde modernism reveal how an antiaesthetic was informing the aesthetic, not for stylistic or nostalgic reasons, but for political ones. In an oddly paradoxical way, Bourdieu’s over-simplistic split between the ‘pure’ and the ‘popular’ gaze rejoins the orthodox consensual critique of the new miniatures. Their use of urbanised popular imagery as potentially transgressive simply goes unrecognised. Middle-class family background affords advantages to art spectatorship denied to the underprivileged (Bourdieu and Passeron 1972:31). These ideas were reconfirmed by my observations of the prevailing domination of middle-class values and privileges in the Pakistani art-world. However this does not mean that access to the contemporary miniatures is limited to the elitist ‘pure’ gaze, nor that they cater to the ‘popular’ gaze through their appropriations of popular culture. It is precisely this mixed genre of the radical miniature which is being overlooked by the orthodox audience, because it does not fit into its ‘selected’ vision of the authentic miniature. ‘We tend to underestimate the extent to which the cultural tradition is not only a selection but also an interpretation’ (Williams 1961:59). The remarkable contrasts between different kinds of potential knowledge around Asian art testify to the inequity of global exchange between post-colonialist and Western cultural discourse. The present hegemony can only be dethroned by a globalised art history. A postcolonial art history needs to learn how to treat the diversity of visual languages, the mix of mainstream and counter ‘sub-styles’ needs to be formally analysed in relation to their specific aesthetics in order to understand the iconographic code and attempt a reading of the artwork. Within the Western world of art criticism, very few writers have so far shown evidence of a serious investigation into the new work. The microcosm of the miniature art-world reflects the macrocosm of the ‘monstrous’ art-world, one where tensions revolve around identical issues of either ‘making it’ as an artist or making art politically.

224

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

225

7 CONCLUSIONS

Tradition and identity The very small world of miniature painting contains a microcosm of the mega-tensions which permeate Pakistani society. The paradigm is patriarchy, which sews the seed, literally and metaphorically, of tradition. Because this is so embedded, not only are the gender issues in the work being overlooked but the very fact that the majority of the actual practitioners are female is either glossed over or ignored. The situation today for the experimental miniaturists, both male and female, may be compared to that of Muslim women living in the contradictory spaces of a semi-globalised culture, one where they are being pushed and pulled by the tensions between orthodoxy and liberalism. Allegiance, either to faith or to art practice, is subject to exploitation by both insiders and outsiders. Islam is presented as a homogeneous body of knowledge under a unified ulama (clerics), whereas rather than any monolithic community there exist various schools of thought, recast in reaction to the global processes of colonialism and Orientalism (Van der Veer 1994: ch.1). This is precisely the case with the representation and the reality of the miniature practice. Under the British administration colonial authority was constructed through symbolic representation modelled on the Mughal style but, as already described, the meanings of ritual were subtly changed through contradictions in the ‘cultural symbolic’ (Cohn 1983:173). This exercise has been repeated in the six decades following Partition. For example, the fact that the students in the only department of

226

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

miniature painting in the world are obliged to copy from books and reproductions rather than from the ‘missing’ originals is not just ironic, it is a typical example of the inheritance of hegemonic colonial structures by the post-colonial state (Chatterjee 1986; 1993; Cohn 1996; Jalal 1997). Within a post-colonial institution, the combination of a nationalist ideology, seeking traditional art-forms, and a Western pedagogical method advocating ‘free expression’, has led to antagonisms. The cyclical recurrence of conflicting discourses over tradition and modernity is viewed as reactionary by some and as a vital cog in the machine by others.1 The present state of the NCA miniature department is that of a national institution fixed in a double bind of its own making. Compressed between two public images, the college has always been under pressure to promote the state’s cultural identity via indigenous imagery, as witnessed by the celebratory shows of miniature painting; but there is a simultaneous desire to be perceived as in the vanguard of research. This is evident in its globalised expansion of disciplines, such as an ambitious multi-media programme linked with Japan and exchanges of staff and students with several art colleges in the West and on the Pacific rim. Currently, a dynamic team of teachers imbued with both tolerance and ambition makes the school arguably the strongest on the subcontinent. The predicament concerns the inevitable duality of continuity and change in cultural forms. Change would refer to the transforming effects of education on a representational system, and continuity would describe the capacity for its cultural forms to adapt to the transforming circumstances. The preservation paradigm is satirised by the artists in their treatment of the commodity fetishisms of tradition and difference – as Qureshi says: ‘We need to move on, it is no longer either a question of preservation or of being “modern”. The work will be new unless you submit to the pressure of producing “authentic” miniatures – then the work will be superficial.’ The hardcore reasoning behind the official Pakistan/Mughal trope is that of Pakistan’s aim to present a cultural identity emitting a clear message of specific religious and cultural difference from that of India. Nationalist ideology is not on the agenda of the artists in Group X. Their interest in re-playing a traditional form is richly paradoxical:

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

227

at once an act of homage and an act of impiety. Both are acts of ritual exercised by the artists sensing a pressing need in Pakistan to re-think tradition in terms of social and cultural changes. With this perspective, the ‘staging of authenticity’ (MacCannell 1973:91) exercised in the practice of Group O is seen by members of Group X as a cynical game. Rejecting the charges of ‘ethnic transparency’ made by Rasheed Araeen in his open letter, Group X claim that their use of traditional technique is based on their recognition of its potential function as a signifier of genuine religious tolerance. This is argued through the reclamation of the Mughal context as one of eclecticism and cultural diversity: values threatened today by the instrumental politics of the ‘Arabist shift’. Mimicry can be used either to enhance or to mask differences: ‘The menace of mimicry is its double vision which in disclosing the ambivalence of colonial discourse also disrupts its authority’ (Bhabha 1994:88). When ‘mimetic tricks’ were desired by patrons such as the Mughals or the British colonials as a measure of control, techniques of illusionism were developed in the workshops (Gombrich 1989). The contemporary miniatures reveal that mimicry can be used as a device of resistance. Is this simply a reaction against the patriarchal teaching, or is it embedded in a wider social consciousness?

Class and gender Reviewing my observations of the particular social order which structures the learning of the miniature practice, it appears that class has not been displaced by gender and race. Pakistani society in general is not pluralist, because of a profoundly entrenched class hegemony. This impression comes from everyday exchanges with diverse social strata as well as from the surprisingly critical news media, both in the English-language press and on television, which abound with lively current-affairs discussions and with satirical shows such The Four-Man Show (in Urdu), which has the widest audience of all. Class hegemony dominates the picture painted by the Pakistani novels narrating the bourgeois high-life in Lahore and Karachi.2 As seen in their cameos, consciousness of class difference is present in the work and discourses of the miniaturists Latif, Ahsan and Durrani.

228

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

An argument which relates to the social context in Pakistan is that used by Stuart Hall in his critique of Laclau’s concept of identity. The latter’s theory that identity is constructed through discourse was criticised by Hall on the grounds that each discourse has specific conditions of existence and that, in spite of contingency, historical formations can be ‘deeply resistant to change’ (1988a:10). The notion of identity, in Laclau’s view, evolves antagonistically through individual reactions to structural positions of others within a certain social formation (Laclau and Mouffe 1985). In a comparatively democratic society, where structural positions concerning race, gender, sexuality and class are stable yet remain open to interpretation, the subject positions are optional. This is not the environment surrounding the miniature practice. In a social formation with stabilised structural hierarchies and a relatively closed set of normalised interpretative frameworks . . . a singular and rigidly defined set of subject positions will tend to operate as the only coherent interpretative frameworks through which structural positions are lived. (Smith 1998:59) The above description fits the social context of Pakistan which has a rigidly institutionalised social order, and one where, despite the fact that contingency can threaten to interrupt at any time, class difference still appears to function in a hegemonic way. Group X have come together through their practice and are building up a movement which is meaningful to the members through their sharing of a common subject disposition, an identity formed by their reactions and interpretations to structural positions. But it is not class alone which can be used to discuss identity: gender also is particularly relevant in this group.

Political outlook Bourdieu’s deterministic frame of habitus as a durable disposition, often lived without a fully conscious grasp of the process, would apply more to agents in Group O, whose subject positions are highly predictable. In contrast I suggest that Group X makes use of

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

229

‘regulated improvisations’ (Bourdieu 1977:8–21) in their negotiations between inherited social structures and their experimental practice. Improvisations are both unconscious and conscious, inevitably partially aware and unpredictable. For these reasons, I would reject a recent designation of the mood of the new practice as ‘attitude’.3 In popular parlance the term ‘attitude’ today implies cheek or chutzpah – a contribution to one’s ‘street cred’: characteristics often attributed by the media to the globalised artist as part of ‘celeb culture’. Although the experimental practice may invite such terminology, a more suitable term would be ‘empathy’. This word is closer to the idea of a calm disposition, conditioned by regular practice and collaboration. Empathy lies behind their hesitant political solidarity, constituted by their performative unfolding as a group. Like the comedians in satirical news shows on Pakistani television, they are ‘aware of the boundaries, still testing the waters to see how much they can get away with’ (Shamsie Guardian, 25 April 2009). Political awareness is tactical rather than strategic, since it is hard for these artists to live out their structural position in any pluralist democratic fashion within Pakistan. Is it then possible to articulate their art as a vehicle of subversion? For the moment, they gain symbolic and material strength from external support, but a historical conjunction of forces which could lead to an organic crisis and promote democracy in Pakistan is not yet in sight. Disenchanted yet sanguine, the artists discuss the many ‘antagonistic points’ with wry humour. The complex disjunctures of their increasingly mobile life-styles are a source of wonder and exasperation. Throughout our discussions I sensed an equivocal apprehension of doubt and belief. This was articulated through the desire to counterbalance their postmodernist instinct to explore doubt with their inherited respect for traditional belief. The balanced juggling of the past and present in the actual works demonstrates how such ambivalence produces a tension crucial to their practice.

Aesthetic issues The principal vehicle for social commentary used in the contemporary miniatures is irony. Rejection of postmodern ideas by mainline critics

230

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

in Pakistan replays their orthodox reception of modernism: whilst embracing formalist styles they neglect the conceptual shifts. To understand how allegory, using irony, is employed in Western literature or in the visual arts requires initiation along the Renaissance canon of ut poesis ut pictura (Baxendall 1980; Alpers 1989). In order for the irony in the miniatures to be understood, there is a need for familiarity with the traditional pictorial conventions, accompanied by an openness to new content. This implies a specific historicising of the work, combining its heritage with its current context, in order to release it from the idealist realm of pure aesthetics (Bourdieu 1993a:266). Such an argument rejoins that of the art historians calling out for a new kind of art history with which to address contemporary Asian art.4 It follows that to grasp the meaning of an elliptical phrase or image, there has to come about an awareness that the sense is not immediate but encoded below the surface. The reading demands the intellectual probing advocated by Socrates. To probe the nature and location of meaning in the miniatures, irony, in the form of parody or appropriation, is used to go against the grain, to provoke reflection in order to deconstruct the ideological framework, although none of the group would put it so pompously. Their reasoning is intuitive rather than intellectual, almost as if the postmodern tendency to parody the historical derives from a visceral rather than a reflexive need. Many times in discussion of a specific work, for example with Saira Wasim, my impression has been that the artist arrived at her brilliantly burlesque portraiture of figures like Bush, Blair and Musharraf, through swift (and Swiftian) cartoon-like glimpses of their inner spirit or lack of it. The iconography is sketched out loosely, using photographic references, yet the final portraiture is so fastidious, the paintwork so immaculate and the caricature so extreme, that her anger is liberated via a fusion of meditation and humour. This is the essence of the irony in their practice: a familiarity with the subject matter so as to hint at a notion of complicity: ‘The “resistant” postmodern turn uses the ambiguous to disrupt the consensus, as Socratic irony used veiled speech to make it open to doubt’ (Foster 1996:147). The tragic political irony in contemporary Pakistan is that any

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

231

signs of flexibility towards absolute sovereignty and openness towards cultural diversity have been effaced. In order to understand this void and how it has been emptied of any democratic articulation of different social identities, it has been important to relate the post-colonial context to its colonial past in ways which allow for different kinds of contestation, including different visions of nationalist ideals.5 The notion of duplicity, of knowing in an ironic mode, is a characteristic of postmodernism and is clearly apparent in the miniature practice. This may be explained by the social requirement in Pakistan for masquerade in cases of being unmarried or homosexual. A woman artist cannot live independently without difficulties – she is under constant pressure to conform to the social code of family life or to mask her single status. Rather like the female cinema spectator, the woman artist is split between identifying with the feminine image, ‘fixed in a frame’ as the object of the male gaze, and her new freedom (as an artist) to identify with the camera: ‘active, in movement and ‘masculine’ (de Lauretis, cited in Silverman 1996:35) Homosexuality is taboo and enmeshed in a web of hypocrisy. Social pressure to conform to the traditional vision of masculinity produces a performative nature which in turn leads to gender melancholia (Butler 1997:144). Compulsory heterosexuality in Pakistan is a chronic pressure on artists whose work, ‘acting out’ suppressed emotions, is deliberately misrecognised, thus occluding personal liberation. Familiarity with duplicity is a disposition conditioned by corruption and the imperative to deceive.6 In my stilted conversations with local Punjabis, either with men in the local corner shop or with women on the buses, the overwhelming reaction to the countless stories of corruption was one of mocking irony. Directed against the army, the politicians, the administrators, even the mullahs, it became bitter when touching on all things ‘American’. There is a casual use of irony in Western art and literature which is seen as a way ‘trivialising’ issues (Eagleton 2003). It can either descend to nostalgic pastiche, (Jameson 1984) or to a form of simulated kitsch which has been described as ‘neo-conservative’ (Foster 1985:127). Aesthetic irony has been accused of sustaining

232

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

the idea of revolutionary change, while reifying it into a strategy of artistic evolution, seen in Kuspit’s condemnation of postmodern ‘neoconceptualism’ (1993:275). Even ridiculed as a form of escapism, irony is applied by Umberto Eco (1979) to the use of repetition in sitcom series, wherein the familiarity of the past reassuringly prevents any real confrontation with the present. In contrast to these interpretations, the irony used in the miniatures is rarely ‘just entertainment’ – it disturbs when read against the grain, fully admitting the context. This is because it is closer to satire than to pastiche; it uses humour to reveal conflict rather than to conceal it. In a Derridean sense, each fragment of irony in the miniatures is so particular that it can never ‘fulfil’ the whole gamut of its target, yet it suggests an affirmative deconstruction. That is, by its very incompleteness, it gives a clue to the original ‘whole’ which is impossible, ‘[the]necessary impossibility of a universal concept’ (Derrida 1996:29). The hope is that there is a sense to be understood, in Derrida’s terms: a ‘common’ sense which is always either deferred or anticipated. This sense arises from a context or a text through apprehending a meaning beyond that context, as with language which is based on a pre-existing structure but which is altered by each parole or conversation, and so the structure is deferred. The ‘task’ set by the visual language of the miniatures is not just to mourn the lack of democracy in Pakistan, but to suggest a line of force which goes beyond the orthodox intention by using the actual performance in order to provoke an awareness of the implications beyond the origin/intent/text. This is why the artists’ experience of the mixed aesthetics in a global art-world contributes to their awareness of the ‘constitutive outside’, which in no way means that they themselves are ‘outsiders’. Irony informs the writings of the art critic Qudduz Mirza. In one article, he points out that miniature painting was not even practised in the earlier regions now embodying Pakistan. He describes as an example of irony the way it has been recuperated as the ‘genuine’ component of the visual-arts heritage and questions the reasons for its signs of ‘hankering after tradition and heritage’. He suggests that a kind of transformation overcomes the practitioners as they study: ‘their habits, dress codes and body languages change as they learn to

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

233

adapt to their roles as pupils’, as indeed their teacher adapts to his role as the traditional ustad. Mirza goes so far as to state that irony is the only solution for the survival of the tradition, citing the supremely ironic take on miniatures made by Rashid Rana, an artist whose works of contrasting dimensions propose ‘parallel realities’ in order to question ‘the optimistic premises of globalisation’.7 Mirza’s option for a postmodern response to tradition is enthusiastically communicated in his review of Rana’s I Love Miniatures (2003). This work, reproduced on the cover of this book, is a digital portrait of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir composed of a Photoshop montage of pixels. On close examination each pixel reveals one of the thousands of images of billboards amassed by Rana from the skyline of Lahore.8 His ‘parallel realities’ of major and minor decompose the dominating corporate propaganda into par dokht, dots of paint.9 Rana says: ‘I like to hold conversations between the micro and macro aspects . . . in the big picture I let them see what they want to see . . . in the pixels I show them what I want to see.’ Microcosm defies macrocosm like the homespun kites swooping across the vast cartoon strips crowning roundabouts, with whitened feminine smiles selling sliced bread and hair shampoo. This is where the irony lies, according to Mirza: in the contrast of scale, reducing the vastness of the hoardings to miniature proportions to make a miniature which is much larger than its usual size. The very manner of its construction and the technique of its execution poses a challenge to the notion of craft in manufacturing the miniature. Will this digital technique become itself a tradition one day, he asks? Rana’s final twist is to present it in the traditional gilded frame, which bestows ’genuineness’ and monetary value on its contents. In total, Mirza esteems this work to be ‘The most representative format of miniature painting possible, viable and relevant in the world of contemporary art (i.e. the postmodern world)’ (Mirza 2003).

Market and globalisation Playing micro against macro, the local against the global (or vice versa), is one approach towards making sense of ‘apparently irrational’ behaviour (Appadurai 1996:55). This is where issues of globalisation

234

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

need to be assessed as to their effect on the miniature practice. The risks of globalised cultural politics leading to ethnic violence are the result of what Appadurai calls ‘culturalism’: ‘A conscious mobilisation of cultural differences in the service of a larger, national or transnational politics’ (1996:15). He believes in the appropriation of global electronic mediation to create a new sense of ‘virtual neighbourhood’, able to ‘mobilize ideas . . . and support for various positions in highly localized public spheres’10 (ibid:195). Such mediation is relevant to the miniature practice of groups where issues of communalism and gender violence are addressed. It was very clear how much the ‘global flow’ of news, images and comment was vital in helping the young artists to engage in debate. This was particularly evident in their research, since the college library has in recent years been developed by an enlightened policy of IT acquisition.11 Ten years ago there were one or two computers; now there is a room packed full of them, and most students have their own laptops. For the miniaturists, this is not simply necessary for exchange of information; it has become an essential tool for expanding their knowledge through trans-cultural frames: ‘Thus the work of the imagination through which local subjectivity is produced and nurtured is a bewildering palimpsest of highly local and highly trans-local considerations’ (ibid:198). Ancient and modern art revolves around a fixed art-world circuit in which profit is made, exactly as it is in the stock market, through lending rather than through traditional methods of buying and selling.12 It is lending which controls circulation and trade. The benefits of a global market can only accrue to an indigenous context when the local government has a committed cultural policy. This is not the case in Pakistan, where a pattern of decline in state sovereignty makes necessary a request for either financial loans from global institutions like the IMF and WTO or cultural loans from art institutions like the British Museum or the V&A. Such institutions replay the imperialist game of overriding national authorities when it comes to pay-back time, as noted in my exchange with the British Museum. A notorious example was the case of the overthrowing of the Pakistani government under Sharif in 1999, when the US government put huge pressures on the new administration to fulfil the contract or lose

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

235

the loan (the Pakistani national debt is over 40 billion dollars). The IMF and WTO propose a free market ideology as a solution, yet keep Western markets closed to Pakistan’s textile and agricultural production. Such hypocrisy and double-dealing is what has brought out the anti-globalisation protests.13 This situation is inevitably reflected in an art-world market where international competition/collaboration is presented as a virtue by the multi-cultural mode of blockbuster exhibitions, and yet the market is still dominated by the West. Should artists therefore refuse to play the game of ‘multicultural monopoly’? The advice of certain art critics is firmly to resist that negative strategy: ‘It simply proves the unassimilated and therefore “racial” differences on which the system thrives’ (Cubitt 2003). His discourse is representative of a post-colonial art criticism which views arts as a tool of mediation rather than of representation. Underlining communication as the main function of art reflects Maussian ideals, reactivated by Gell’s notion of artwork as an agent of social relationships, as discussed in Chapter 4. Interrogating the pretensions of art as a performative challenge to institutional and market discourse has been central to the art-world debate in Western art institutions and media over the last two decades.14 Alternative spaces, inter-activity and post-production are now key terms which ‘plague’ contemporary art-speak as witnessed in two recent texts: Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics (2001)15 and Ardenne’s Contextualisation (2005).16 This is also being activated in the miniature practice. The artists are gently negotiating their passage in a globalised world wherein former powers still have a hold via monopolies on technology and research, where the same cities that govern stock exchanges govern art exchanges. Important to this is the recognition, by both artists and curators, of the need for alternative siting, as illustrated by the contrast between spaces. Community-centred spaces offer opportunity for debate where the actual artwork is ‘put to work’, its very installation activating social exchange between artist and spectator. Who is benefiting from a globalised art world? To cite the lucid response from economist Joseph Stiglitz, who bravely denounces US-designed globalisation policies (Stiglitz 2006), in any free market ideology the benefits can operate indigenously when local

236

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

government plays a serious role in developing culture; but in cases where this does not happen (as in Pakistan), globalisation can only benefit the few. From my observations, it would seem that the artists themselves are managing, for the moment, to control the market situation. Theirs is perhaps an imperfect or partial consciousness of all the factors of a globalised market (Willis 1977), but their level of critical consciousness about their own practice is highly developed, as witnessed by their own observations. Like the majority of South Asian artists with whom I have worked, they are well aware of the ways in which capitalist modes serve both state and market in South Asia in the commodification of traditional/‘ethnic’ art forms. Those who primarily benefit economically from the artists’ presence in the global art-world are the dealers and collectors, operating through auctions. The euphoria raised by the recent manic rise in South Asian art prices confirms the replacement of the stock market by the art market for corporate investment.17 Only later does the trickle-down effect benefit the artists. However, their symbolic capital earned globally is scarcely being developed locally because of the lack of serious critical art history and debate in Pakistan.

Performative subversion? An interesting observation is Bourdieu’s notion that confrontation between groups can be defined through a temporal dimension: ‘But the struggle which produces contemporaneity in the form of the confrontation of different times can only take place because the agents and groups it brings together are not present in the same present’ (1993a:107). Whereas one group, the experimental, faces the future, the other, conservative, recognise as contemporaries those from a past time. Thus the differences between events in the artistic field are, like those in the battlefield, measured best by a temporal gauge. Inevitably the analogy returns to antagonistic terrains and terminology: ‘Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring classes’ (Brecht 1949). ‘Winning hearts and minds’ was the slogan borrowed by Bush for the hegemonic strategy of the Western coalition during the Iraq

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

237

war. As Gramsci pointed out, hegemony is a ‘moving equilibrium’ which can change. The shift accords with the social authority of a certain group dominating the subordinate through a common-sense, taken-for-granted ideology whose ‘presuppositions are being rendered invisible by its apparent transparency’ (Hall 1977:45). Depending on the position of the actor, appropriation of cultural capital can be either hegemonic or unauthorised – it depends on who sets the rules. In the case of the miniature practice, Gramsci’s notion that ideologies ‘create the terrain on which men move’ (Gramsci 1971:377) is demonstrated through the reactions to the ustad’s discourse. The tension between hegemony and insubordination is spelt out between Group O and Group X in their very different attitudes towards tradition and preservation. Similarly, the modernist discourse may be perceived as a dominant ideology which functions through hegemonic agency. The potential of the artist to appropriate this discourse as a form of cultural capital is as strong a possibility as that of rejecting it on grounds of eurocentricity. Gramsci’s advice for resisting an authoritarian, totalitarian state apparatus is to use a ‘war of manoeuvre’ strategy, via a concentrated mobilisation of forces. In complex, so-called democratic societies, resistance needs to mimic the intricate network of relations and discursive formations by way of a ‘war of positions’ contested across multiple sites (1971:236–9). The macrocosmic condition of Pakistan’s political context is hardly ripe for an ‘organic’ crisis, which is the ideal terrain for a shift of hegemony; however it could be proposed that within the microcosm of the miniature practice an organic crisis is taking place in a performative way. By this I mean that the social formation of Group X has been constituted through a consciousness of relations with others, with the ‘constitutive outside’, and that this has brought about a political awareness of power structures and the possibility of their subversion. Their marginality, combined with their thorough knowledge of the practice, could lead the members of the group, if it existed politically, to imagine a new hegemonic discourse, a new order of practice. This order would have to convince others of its authority, drawn through its connection with tradition – potentially possible for Group X. But the very fact that

238

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

this involves recycling a certain ‘normalisation’ would stall such a scenario. To re-define the tradition would need a total transformation of the institutional hegemony, which in turn could only happen through a complete shift away from the authoritarian regime. This is the stuff of revolution, and would need a network well beyond the small scale art-world of Pakistan; it would also require a political ambition which, for all the reasons described in the text, is not on the artists’ agenda. The ideas around liminality, or of being ‘outside the frame’, as in Turner’s somewhat romantic notion of the artist, are too reductive to relate to Group X. However, there are interpretations of liminality which do not assume that the artist is an outsider. Deleuze’s notion of ‘deterritorialisation’ (1980) as a terrain for potential resistance may be compared with a certain notion of the ‘third space’ (Bhabha 1994:36–9), which evokes the context of an encounter as in a fluid state, always in a state of ‘becoming’ and so constantly unstable. In other, more poetic terms: ‘Violations of boundaries have always led to displacement, for the in-between zones are the shifting grounds on which the “doubly” excited walk’ (Tri Minh Ha 1991:65–78) These are dramatic terms in which to represent the effervescent state of the miniature practice, and yet I sense that the imaginary of the Group X is still unfolding and open to interpretation. In Deleuzian terms, if we view the problem of group identity as about affirming a people in their collective becoming, about defining their potential or their affirmative will to power, this suggests a fertile use of tradition: ‘a concept, both virtual and real, on the basis of which a people can invent themselves. This is an historical image that invents a future by creatively transforming occluded elements of the past’ (Rodowick 1997). The shift being operated in the contemporary miniature practice becomes the vehicle for the political transformation of the agents themselves. Without attempts at an interactive, performative network around the artwork on show, contemporary exhibiting can simply replay the former imperialist reification of artefacts as signs of cultural capital (Cummings and Lewandowska 2001; 2002). If the artwork can be presented not as an autonomous piece but as part of a story which is still ongoing – which is precisely the condition of the

INTRODUCTIONC: ONCLUSIONS MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

239

new miniature – it can serve as an agent of knowledge between past conditions and future hopes. It is precisely the artists’ challenge to orthodox conventions which opens their work up to a less formally educated gaze. In other words I think that their social space of reception is shifting away from art’s middle-class coffin towards a more culturally diverse and class-conscious platform. This is enabled by their integration of the ‘high’ and ‘low’ imagery from new media, juxtapositions practised throughout the avant-garde in order to provoke bourgeois artistic conventions. ‘There is an aesthetic category which we have not thought about enough: naiveté’ (Brecht1964). The new miniatures make use of the epico-burlesque, the ‘grotesque’ body of Bakhtin’s carnival imagery, in a Brechtian sense of using the appeal to the spectacular to awaken the naive gaze, not towards an aesthetics of style but towards an aesthetics of politics.18 This could be related to the question posed by Benjamin as to the ideal combination of historical and social forces allowing space for an anti-bourgeois art form (1934:83). Benjamin’s reflection rejoins Gramsci’s meditation on the conjuncture of forces enabling an organic crisis and a shift in the distribution of hegemonic power. For this to happen in Pakistan, however, still seems unlikely – the time is not yet ripe. A review of the exhibition ‘Tropicalia’ subtitled ‘A Revolution in Brazilian Culture 1967–72’ (2006 Barbican) states: ‘An errant art meant something in the late 1960’s. Nowadays there’s only the market, and dictatorships by different names’ (Searle Guardian February 2006). In Pakistan there have been military regimes and corrupt politicians in the role of the presidency, and there is a market. Although the new miniatures have been classed as ‘errant’, in both positive and negative reviews, any subversive sense tends to be submerged in the authoritarian hegemony. The tension between the principles of equality and liberty, already drawn taut in ‘democratic’ societies, needs to be tightened even further in this context, towards an awareness of contingency as well as historicity. The artists are performing the practice in the underlying sense of tradition, which means subversion, a subversion which has always existed but which has been hidden from history by discursive formations.

240

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

It is not simply that the speech act takes place within a practice, but that the act itself is a ritualised practice. What this means, then, is that a performative ‘works’ to the extent that it draws on and covers over the constitutive conventions by which it is mobilized. In this sense, no term or statement can function performatively without the accumulating and dissimulating historicity of force. (Butler 1997a:51) Even with the current global crisis of capitalism, the risks of the recuperation of resistant discourse by ‘nomad capitalism’, thereby ‘disavowing politics’, are daunting. Hopefully, through considered manoeuvres by the artists to control specific historicity and to resist hegemonic reclamation, the new practice of miniature painting may act as an agent for transforming the patriarchal forms of power in Pakistan. Meanwhile, through their projection of conflicts onto a global screen, the artists in the contemporary miniature movement are gradually opening up a space for local contestation.

Chale-chalo ke vo manzil abhi nahin ai – let us go on, our goal is not yet reached (Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Freedom’s Dawn. August 1947)

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

241

NOTES Preface 1 Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911–1984). Faiz wrote this while gazing at the glow of Lahore’s lights from his prison cell, where he was incarcerated for his political beliefs as a dedicated Marxist. (Trans. Sara Suleri Goodyear.) 2 This particular year was alive with incidents of revolt: apart from those in the West, 1968 was exactly half way between the first two Indo-Pakistani wars, (1965 and 1971), as well as the time when the women’s movement and civil-rights groups emerged. The other people arrested included teachers and students, like myself, who were travelling together overland from London to Delhi. 3 Art about the Partition is rare: in 1997, Nalani Malani’s Remembering Toba tek Singh, Amar Kanwar’s A Season Outside and the Mappings exhibition in Delhi and Lahore, and since 1998, cross-border projects such as AarPaar, organised by Indian and Pakistani women artists Shilpa Gupta and Huma Mulji, and much interaction between the workshops Khoj in India and Vasl in Pakistan. In 2009, Lines of Control, curated by Hamad Nasar across three countries, showed the work of 27 artists addressing partitions in general. As Nasar notes: ‘Given that Partition and the Holocaust happened in the same decade, [and] noting the presence of Holocaust memorials and museums from America, Israel, Germany to Australia, it is puzzling that no such initiative has taken place anywhere to commemorate Partition.’ (Nasar 2009:7) 4 The reasons for the groups’ denomination as X and O will be given below. 5 The frame is either jadval, where bands of colour are aligned to ‘window’ the central image, or as hashiya (‘margin’), the borderland surrounding sarlawh – the preliminary illumination of a manuscript, which can contain ornamental/figurative animal imagery and even ‘sly portraits’ of the artist (Seyller 1999:295; Sheikh 1997:22; Adamjee 2005: 52, n. 6).

242

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN Introduction

1 Discussed in Whiles (2002a) Art and Anthropology: A Curious Relationship. 2 As McEvilley proposes: ‘Through some adjustments in our perceptions, we may become able to begin practicing anthropology as cultural critique, not forcing objects from other cultures into our categories, but rather allowing these objects to raise questions about ours . . .’ (1992:165). My point is that such ‘objects’ be contemporary art works as well as ‘material culture’ examples. 3 Winegar 2006:15–17: ‘alternative modernities’, or translations, not as determined by ‘normative’ Western modernity but as evolving from negotiation between indigenous contexts, the colonial encounter and globalisation. 4 My wariness of any decisive interpretation of this cultural practice derives from Asad’s wise warnings (Asad 1983a; 1986). 5 Having trained as a painter I realised that Western art training is no preparation for the rigours of miniature practice. 6 References for this approach include Collingwood 1938/1965; Foucault 1971; 1972; 1980; Bakhtin 1981; Schechner 1985. 7 Bourdieu’s theories are useful tools for thinking through the ways in which the internalisation of colonial cultural principles by post-colonial pedagogues are eventually reproduced (Bourdieu and Passeron 1972). 8 Specifically, Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception (1962). 9 The original pedagogy was devised by the Education Division of the South Kensington Museum (Baden Powell 1872; Temple 1873). See Frayling’s history of the Royal College of Art (1987). 10 The following texts have been useful here: Becker 1982; Moulin 1987; Clifford 1988; Price 1989; Miller 1991; Marcus and Myers 1995; Steiner 1995; Foster 1987; 1996; Kopytoff 1986; Spooner 1986. 11 The starring role of the patriarch, or godfather, here would of course be the main ustad, Bashir Sahib. The hero is Imran Qureshi, the young ustad and potential ‘matinee idol; his leading lady would be the heroine, the artist Aisha Khalid (his wife); the original star miniaturist/diva, Shahzia Sikander, becomes the fairy godmother; and the members of Group X perform various strong supporting parts of confidantes and starlets, the ‘progressives’ who face up to the chorus of Group O, a troupe of stock characters playing familiar repertory parts.

1 Social, Political and Historical Formations Relating to Practice 1 Vasl, based in Karachi, is a dynamic artist-run workshop which has

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

2 3

4

5

6

7 8 9

10

11

12

13

243

organised international residencies and workshop programmes since 2003 – see at www.vaslart.org. Damiyan was set up in Lahore in 2001 – see Chapter 2 and Cameos 1 and 2. Somewhat like the killing of two local arty-crafty birds with one imperial plaster cast . . . ‘To be a painter is now to be part of a very small endangered species.’ (Hodgkin 1994. Cited in Hodgkin Exhibition Catalogue Tate Britain 2006). Incidentally, Hodgkin has a fabulous collection of Indian miniature paintings. Stephens 1964; Ahmad 1969; Ahmed 1986; Talbot 1998; Jalal 1995; Rahman 1996; Ahmed 1999; Ziring 1971/1984; 2003; Jaffrelot 2002; Cohen 2004; Bennett Jones 2002; Ali 1983; 2008; Mumtaz and Shaheed 1987; Mernissi 1992; Rashid 2000; Wolpert 1984. I see the re-invention of the miniature by Group X as a ‘re-imagination’ of the community, in reaction not only to colonialism and Orientalism but above all to nationalism. See Van der Veer 1994: Ch. 1, cited by Verhaaik 2004:21. Winegar 2006:332, n. 24: Egyptian state institutions are ‘successful in incalculating ideology’ – perhaps this induces the lively discourse among artists she describes in her superb text, which I have only recently discovered. The Pakistani state, however, like the Egyptian, is the prime regulator of the media. See The Making of Indo-Persian Culture 2000 Alam, M. Delvoye, F.N. Gaborieau, M. New Delhi: Manohar. This was confirmed by my fieldwork in the Kangra valley visiting the miniaturist Anil Raina, where his wife helped prepare the pigments as his mother had done for his father. A similar situation emerged with the ustad Shakir Ahmed Khan in the Lahore workshop (Chapter 5). In the Zenanas, between the 15th and the 18th centuries, certain ‘noble’ women has access to studying the arts as well as scientific subjects (Minault 1993; 1994; 1998). Zubaida Agha studied under B.C. Sanyal and an Italian pupil of Picasso, before going to the Beaux Arts in Paris and showing there as well as in London (Hashmi 2005:37). Jahangir and Jilani (1990) The Hudood Ordinances: A Divine Sanction? In the eighties, 80 per cent of the women held in Pakistani jails were victims of this bill, part of Zia’s extremist Islamisation policy of cruel corporal punishment and sexist litigation, whereby a woman’s accusation of rape had to be testified to by four witnesses (Ziring 2003:184). The cited manifesto drafted by a group of women artists in 1983 reaffirmed their commitment to the cause of humanism, rejecting the regressive

244

14

15

16

17 18 19

20

21 22

23 24 25

26

27

28

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN policies affecting art and culture. The official genre of calligraphy was refused by most women artists, as was the officially ‘acceptable’ landscape painting. Sarah Ali-Khan’s panoramic miniature of demonstrations by Pakistani and Afghani women against the U.S invasion of Afghanistan uses collages from press photos. Often on the grounds that they are ‘inauthentic’, ‘elitist’, ‘Westernised’ or even ‘un-Islamic’ – especially paradoxical given the common perception of the Muslim woman as oppressed or victimised (Haeri 2002:29). Added to this are the fissures between feminist groups: while most of the older generation share a feminist perspective, the present generation of women art-students treat gender issues in their work but are less activist. See Hamra Abbas’s installation ‘God Grows on Trees’ (Berlin 2008), with 99 miniature portraits of schoolchildren. (Green Cardamom catalogue) There is a poem by the Algerian Kateb Yacine which refers to minarets as missiles which never manage to be launched. Such ritual behaviour may be related to earlier Sufi practices of worship, which were close to the bhakti strand in popular Hinduism (Schimmel 1975; Jalal and Bose 1998:32) A survey in 2002 declared that 83 per cent of Pakistanis regarded Osama bin Laden as a mujahid hero. (Irfani 2003:10) See bin Laden parodied in Saira Wasim’s miniature Unintended Consequences (2004). See Khalid Hassan, 2008. Whereas the parents of those in Group X were often teachers, several members of Group O described their fathers as being in business or in government and their mothers as housewives. India’s population and national economy are seven times the size of Pakistan’s, and its territory four times as extensive. See Tarlo’s Clothing Matters (1996). We got friendlier when I proved I was not American. As this suspicion pursued me in every rickshaw exchange, it helped me increase my Punjabi vocabulary. The old Mall of 35 years ago is described as a ‘haunt of bohemians . . . poets, artists, leftist intellectuals, film directors could be seen at their tables in the Tea Houses’ (Ali 2000:7). Today such socialisation mainly takes place in private homes, or else in Starbucks-type chain cafes. The hypocrisy of this accusation is made manifest by the weekend press photographs of glitzy elite partying in ‘club land’; see Hamid’s Moth Smoke (2000). I was introduced to this in the Old Walled City by a student whose family had a haveli – a large house with intricate carved wooden doors, built around a central courtyard.

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

245

29 See ‘negotiating the field’ (Bourdieu 1990a), ‘playing and foiling the others’ game’ (de Certeau 1984:18), or the study of the indigenisation of cricket in India (Appadurai 1996:89–114). 30 Basant in February 2006 was officially cancelled in the name of public safety, due to the broken glass on the kite-strings, which had already sliced a few heads . . . an image worthy of a Mughal illustration. 31 Sites also for the only possible purchase of alcohol, open to foreigners with a special permit, which takes Byzantine bureaucracy and bribery to obtain. 32 Inside the Walled City, in the infamous Hira Mandi, ‘Diamond Market’ and red-light district since the Mughal period, is Cuckoo, a restaurant run by the artist Iqbal Hussain. This is where he grew up. He paints prostitutes but keeps his daughters in purdah-like conditions. Cuckoo is the site whence Louise Brown made her intriguing study of prostitution in the Hira Mandi (Brown 2005). 33 Qureshi sent in stories to newspapers, one of which was published when he was ten years old. He also tried poetry but confessed, with his characteristic chuckle, that this had been rejected. 34 ‘As a member of a linguistic minority, Qureshi’s work reflects sardonically on the social realities of his native Karachi’ (Hashmi 1999 talk). Her reports on his early student performance remarked on his ‘political nature’. 35 Marionettes were permitted in Persian court life due to the Muslim belief that the string holes rendered the puppets imperfect. Contemporary puppetry is sadly on the wane, apart from the lively annual Performance Festival in Lahore. 36 This became such a hit that they were invited to perform all over Pakistan, often travelling roughly and setting up in incongruous sites. 37 This is proven by the overall election results, where the fundamentalist vote has been contained. 38 These lines evoke the kite strings of Basant (the Pakistani kite festival) when the sky above the city of Lahore is crisscrossed with the strings attached to the kites, which float like Matisse cut-outs. 39 A collective workshop. Darmiyan, was set up by Qureshi and Khalid for a group of artists to work on their reaction to the post-9/11 crisis. 40 As in the Khoj workshop, with Rising Damp (2001) or Beyond the Page (2006), where the pattern is painted on walls and floor to suggest leakage from air vents. 41 This is very evident in the beautiful small house in Lahore which Khalid and Qureshi have designed and decorated; its compartmentalised spaces open into each other like a miniature in 3D. 42 Quoted to me by Khalid as one of her mother’s maxims. 43 An interesting theory on repetition in domestic life can be found in

246

44 45

46

47

48

49

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN Umberto Eco’s ‘aesthetics of seriality’, where he analyses the attraction of soap operas. A theme running throughout the analyses of trauma by Freud (1917) and Lacan (1978). I experienced especially friendly exchanges with women on buses in Pakistan, because of the separate space given to women: this is so relatively cramped that social exchange is immediate! Students had learned little feminist theory, but they were intrigued by the ideas – of Irigaray, Kristeva, and Butler – on masquerade and performance, and their inspiration for women artists such as Sherman, Kelly and Hatoum. Aisha was the first Pakistani artist to have a two-year residency in the Rijks Akademie in Amsterdam. The treatment she received during the post 9/11 period was highly accommodating – she was twice funded for a return visit to her family home in Lahore. At a workshop in Bombay, on Khalid’s first-ever journey away from home, I witnessed the incredulity of the other international students at her adaptability, as she immediately sat herself on her cushion and started making a miniature in total concentration. The other took about three days to get down to work! Site-specific installations in the exhibition Living Traditions at Queen’s Palace Bagh-e-Babur Queen’s Palace, Kabul (2008), curated by Jemima Montague of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation.

2 Miniature Practice 1 This strongly resembles Clifford’s description of the Surrealist process: ‘Their attitude, while comparable to that of the fieldworker who strives to render the unfamiliar comprehensible, tended to work in the reverse sense, making the familiar strange’ (Clifford 1986:121). 2 In particular the images from the Padshahnama (1997) and the Hamzanama (2002). 3 See Ata-Ullah 1998:61–81. 4 The hierarchy of the Mughal workshop is described by Seyller as being ‘relatively fluid’ due to the necessity of collaboration, sadly no longer extant in the current orthodox revival. 5 Students often ordered their meals to be brought to their side, and tucked in whilst neatly handling the delicate brushwork. 6 On the Queen’s visit to the school on the 50th anniversary of Partition in 1997, Persian carpets and velvet cushions decorated the otherwise utilitarian

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

7

8 9

10 11 12 13

14

15

16 17

18 19

247

studio, and staff and students were told to wear their best shalwar-kameez, plus dupattas, instead of the jeans and t-shirts often sported. Two types of karkhanas, or miniature ateliers, are often contrasted: the grandiose Mughal and the more family-based Rajhastani or Pahari (Goswamy 1999). Similar contrasts exist today in India between the family ambiance of certain workshops and the industrial-floor toughness of the more commercial enterprises. On the art/craft debate at the MSA and NCA, see Tarar 2008. A takhti is a wooden tablet used by schoolchildren when learning to write. It is smeared with a paste of mud, and writing is practised with a reed pen dipped in soluble black ink. This paradox did not go unnoticed by the students in our discussions of the history. By this time Zahoor was Professor in the department, and later on became the Head. It is interesting to reflect back and realise that there were comparatively very few South Asian students in the UK at that time. Activists for racial and sexual rights within the black-power movement and women’s-liberation groups all had an impact on the art-world, not only in the West but also in South Asia (Kapur 2000; Hashmi 1994; 2002). This literary critic (‘esteemed’ by a consensus of opinion) has written several personalised condemnations of the contemporary miniature practice, seen as a consequence of the blight of postmodernism. His tragic death, shot by a Shi’i ‘dervish’-style dancer apparently ‘suffering’ from his unrequited passion for Zahoor’s daughter, was commemorated by an exhibition in Karachi in 2001 entitled Takhti. Many artists who had known him contributed work, and there is a fine homage to him in the text by Roger Connah (2000). The scene recalls an Orientalist harem painting by Frederick Leighton; I managed to capture it in a photograph. The post-Independence version of miniature painting is recounted in Pakistani art histories as being almost solely due to Chughtai (1897–1975), the nationalist emblematic painter ‘par excellence’, who traced his lineage to Persian architects at the Mughal court (Mitter 1994:335; Sirhandi 1992) I speak from painful experience – my progress during my study under the tuition of Imran Qureshi was painfully slow. In the Chailloux exhibition, we removed the miniatures from their habitual frames on the wall and put them under glass, in a position like that for reading album illustrations, thus recalling their original function. Appreciated by some spectators, criticised by others who felt they had lost an ‘aura’ without the frame.

248

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

20 The function of the jadval in the new work is as a space for playful experiment, seen in Rathore’s rubber-stamp signs or sewn threads, Khalid’s curtains, Wasim’s collaged stars, Qureshi’s letraset targets (Adamjee and Jain 2005:51; Chandra 1949:66). 21 See the illustrations, attributed to Madhava, ca.1610, of artisans making books in Jahangir’s kitabkhana, or book-house (Seyller 2005:12). 22 Vasl (union) was the name given to the Pakistani workshop/residency for artists, local and global, which takes place annually in a similar way to its sister workshop in India, Khoj (‘search’ in Hindi). 23 Poor preservation provides grist to the mill of Western museum curators who argue for maintaining the ‘trophies of war’ in the West, away from ‘oriental despotism as seen in Iraq’ (curator, Rietberg Museum, Zurich, 2002). Lamentable is the lack of any national cultural policy for a museological collection of the contemporary miniatures inside Pakistan. 24 See Brown 1994:86. 25 ‘The Chinese alchemical writer Ko Hung wrote in AD 320 that ignorant people could not believe that red lead and lead white were products of the transformation of lead, just as they could not believe that a mule was born of a donkey and a horse’ (Fitzhugh, E.W. ‘Red lead and minium’, 1986:109–40, cited in Finlay 2002:459)’ 26 A thorough text on the technical production is to be found in the Karkhana catalogue by Adamjee and Jain. Although both are specialists in conservation, the text is essentially academic and lacks a sense of observation of today’s practitioners. 27 Winsor and Newton’s museum describes Indian Yellow as coming from the earth on which cows fed with mangoes have urinated (Finlay 2001:467). 28 In the department of Traditional Painting at Kyoto University of Art and Design, I saw rows of jars of exquisite pigments – another sign of the inequality of globalisation? Students told me the fees there were high. 29 The par dokht method is recycled in Rana’s pixellated imagery I Love Miniatures (2002). 30 Miniature painter Fatima Zahra H. Ahmad, a former student and teacher at NCA, completed her PhD, on ‘visual Islamic and traditional arts’, at the Prince’s Foundation in London. She is the first Pakistani historian and artist to research preparation of a theoretical handbook for the miniature practice. 31 Perhaps intimating the Mughal inspiration and imperial dimensions of Damian Hirst’s project involving the collage of thousands of wings from (farmed) butterflies. The work was executed by artist assistants in his workshops. 32 ‘Perhaps the specificity of feudalism in Pakistan and much of South Asia lies in its multiple capacity for extreme brutality and oppression of many women and for concentration of tremendous wealth, power and authority in the hands of the few’ (Haeri 2002:38).

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

249

33 Also addressed in the exhibition Beyond the Page (Asia House, Manchester Art Gallery, 2006–07). 34 This context contrasts strongly with that of India where not only are there an extraordinary number of married artist couples, but also many examples of women artists living and working in their own spaces, something almost impossible in Pakistan, though there are two heroic exceptions, Lala Rukh and Maryam Hussain. 35 This artist was the daughter of a well known politician. President Musharraf’s daughter graduated from the NCA in Architecture, and in 2000, at the prize-giving ceremony, he made a speech about envying ‘arty types’ . . . 36 Possibly referring to the nathdwara cloth paintings done on a large scale in Rajasthan, or perhaps to the Hamzanama, a vast manuscript containing 1,400 folios more than two feet high, hand-painted on cloth (Seyller 2002: 12). However the B.M. exhibition: Garden and Cosmos (2009) showed newly discovered fabulous miniatures (Jodphur–Marwar school) which are on a vast scale of approx: 64x130cms. (Smithsonian Institution 2008, B.M. Press 2009). 37 Many female students are finding formal degrees of little use and are seeking IT and commercial office training, enabled by the Technical Training Centres for Women (TTCWs) opened in Lahore in 1988 (Shaheed and Mumtaz 1990:55). 38 Geeta Kapur (2000). Her investigation into the genealogy of Indian modernism is not yet matched by any Pakistani art historians. 39 Latif Qureshi’s later wall ‘installations’ suspend cut-out silhouettes of emblems from colonial and Mughal imagery; the erasure of context may be logical within her practice but risks losing the tension of former work, and renders the reading more formal. 40 In spite of constant visa problems, Imran Qureshi has organised several trips for the miniature students to travel to Delhi and to visit the workshops in Jaipur. 41 The ‘carnivalesque’ is applied to diverse cultural productions by Hall (1997:287–308). 42 ‘Masquerade embraces the dislocation between subjectivity and role and the performativity of the gendered ego (Irigaray 1984:37).

3 Imagining or Inventing the Tradition of Miniature Painting? 1 A ‘popular imagined community’ is one based on ‘spontaneous popular nationalisms’ which precede ‘official nationalisms’ – these latter are seen to

250

2 3 4

5

6

7

8 9

10

11

12

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN be reactionary and conservative in their responses and policies (Anderson 1983:110). The former pattern would seem to fit the critical project of Group X. Bourdieu and Darbel 1991; Pearce 1995; Price 1989; Clifford 1988; Wu 2002. This discrimination was culturally manifested through Orientalist shifts of taste between Hindu and Islamic art forms (Guha Thakurta 1992:180). The Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA), formed in the 1930s, included Zaheer, founder of the Pakistani Communist Party, and the writers Taseer, Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Ali, Hyder, Manto, Askari and Mulk Raj Anand. It was banned in the 1950s by the Pakistani regime. Certain scholars have sought out particularities of style such as individuation (Goswamy 1999:164–79), but Seyller problematises this view (1999:27). The concept of ‘mythical’ anonymity in tribal art forms is deconstructed by Jain (1998). Subramanyan’s ideas were transmitted to the students in Lahore via a lecture in 2000 by Dr Jain, then Director of the Craft Museum in Delhi. The discussion was lively and he showed great interest in the new miniature work. Sikander is an ‘honorary’ member of Group X within this text, because although her extraordinary work sparked off the movement, she left the NCA and Pakistan in the early 1990s to live and work in the USA, where she became the first ‘iconic’ Pakistani artist of the ‘global’ art-world. The reasons for this tradition were outlined in Chapter 2. ‘If Abinandranath and his followers stand in this art revival of ours . . . in the place of the Pre-Raphaelites in the history of England, where is our William Morris?’ (Coomaraswamy 1912:52). ‘Drawing elevated building design to the status of an expressive cultural art, a product of an intellect trained in the rules and “laws” of artistic beauty’ (Glover 2008:88), thus following Temple’s scheme for an India-wide industrial art training ‘to mould the tastes of the natives on a rational system’ (1875:5). For example, Fergusson comments on the contamination of early Buddhist art, with its Aryan origins, by the ‘culturally inferior Turanian and Dravidian population’ (1867:9). Srimani had suggested that any deficiency in Hindu art was due to foreign, including Muslim, domination (Mitter 1977:264). Saracenic architecture was chosen for the Mayo School of Art ‘dictated by the need to stress the Orientalness of the Empire’. (Metcalf 1990) The MSA was opened in 1875, the same year that the Anglo-Muhammadan Oriental College at Aligarh was founded by Syed Ahmed Khan (Bose and Jalal 1998: 114).

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

251

13 Such changes accord with Bourdieu’s observation (1990) that aesthetic taste shifts according to the political stakes at play in a particular field. 14 Birdwood’s attack provoked a dynamic reaction, and a shift in the Orientalists’ perception of Indian art, now given the status of a great ‘living art’ (Guha Thakurta 1992:165; Mitter 1977:270; Tarapor 1984:186). 15 These were placed alongside copies of Byzantine and pre-Renaissance Italian art, and also of Ajanta murals, apparently for their ‘decorative’ essence. 16 Havell’s shifts in taste coincided with the re-classification of the Orientalist criteria for ‘authentic’ Indian art, which appeared only slightly less prejudiced towards the Muslim faction. 17 Abaninandranath profoundly regretted what he felt to be an absence of bhava (‘emotion’) in Mughal miniatures, and so added emotive nuances to his own miniatures in a wash style, appropriated from Japanese painting (GuhaThakurta 1992:243–9). 18 The Society of Oriental Art, established in 1907, was more like an exclusive club. Members were eminent colonialists and wealthy Bengali zamindars, Maharajas and artists; the nationalist art movement ‘had come to rely on the support and accolades of the European Orientalist’ (Guha Thakurta 1992: 278). 19 Nivedita, or Margaret Noble, disciple of Vivekananda, she was an ‘ideologue of militant Hindu nationalism’ (Guha Thakurta:172) and promoter of Okakura’s Pan Asian aesthetic. Her art criticism defended indigenous art as crucial to nationalism (Sister Nivedita 1900; 1907; 1910). 20 J.L. Kipling is affectionately represented in the Lahore-based novel ‘Kim’, by his son Rudyard, as the white-bearded curator in the ‘Wonder House’, the Lahore museum where Kipling was Keeper: a colonial replay of the European art-school tradition whereby principals were simultaneously museum curators (Mitter 1994:42). 21 Brown described the workshops as ‘a caste or a family system’ wherein the ‘Craftsman passed his knowledge of the art on to his sons, or, failing these, the sons of near relative, but rarely to anyone who was not a member of, however, distant of his own family’. (Brown1981:180) 22 Both Kipling and Brown admired the craftsmanship training in India but criticized its rigidity and advocated the ‘flexibility’ of the South Kensington model of art education. See Frayling (1987) on art and design education in Britain. See Tarar (2003:22–24) for a fascinating argument proposing an alternative vision of Indian art training whereby an underlying ‘tacit literacy’ contradicts the western perception of a pervasive orality. (Narsimhan 2001:4) 23 Santiniketan is described as ‘the main repository of nationalist idealism and the spirit of self-development, of a free atmosphere most congenial

252

24

25

26

27

28

29 30

31 32 33 34

35

36

37

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN to artistic creativity’ (Mukherjee 1983:221–2, cited by Guha Thakurta 1992:310, n. 145). The architect Kamil Kham Mumtaz studied in London at the Architectural Association during the 1960s and manifested leftist sympathies. He is now celebrated for his restoration work on Mughal and colonial edifices. At the conference I reacted critically to the architect’s statements, and was later advised by colleagues to be more discreet. This was my first intimation of the power of hegemonic discourse in Pakistan. This is the case in Pakistan simply because there exists no art-history education – unlike in India, where it is lively, (especially in Baroda, Delhi, Calcutta and Chandigarh), due to an awareness of the need for it on the part of academics and artists such as Subramanian, Goswamy, Jain, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Kavita Singh, Guha Thakurta, Vivan Sundaram and Geeta Kapur, amongst others. The ‘Ethnographic Turn’ in contemporary art practices has been explored by several writers (Foster 1996; Hiller 1996; Marcus and Myers 1995; Schneider 1996; Whiles 2000; Winegar 2006). One student’s interpretation saw it as a reaction to a Westernised education, described as a common ‘guilt syndrome’ expressed by some South Asian graduate students on their return home. It was interesting to note the strong influence of Subramanyam (1992) and also of the Japanese craft aesthetician Yanagi (1972) on Jain’s approach. When showed Jain around the exhibition of contemporary miniatures at the NCA, he showed regret that the tradition had not been revisited with as much invention in Indian art schools. It is the English-literacy issue which partly motivates the critique in the miniatures of Ahsan Jamal (Cameo 7). This also happens in my seminars in a London art school, where English is the mother-tongue of only some 30 per cent of the student body. Hall 1996d; Hartsock 1990; Ahmad 1992. He would express his anger at Pakistani politics, the subject of his work – on occasion recounting family tales about the language riots in Sind in 1972 between the Urdu-speaking Mohajirs and the local Sindhi population. I attended some meetings and, despite my lack of Punjabi, found them a delight for the wit and intimacy around poetry and food, whereby mental rigour was rewarded with physical pleasure (see the examination of linguistic hierarchies and the role of the mother tongue in Asad 1973). Tanika Sarkar, ‘Nationalist iconography: images of women in 19th-century Bengali literature’. Economic and Political Weekly, 21 November 1987 (cited by Guha Thakurta 1992:123). A dialogue between social space and embodiment via positionality, which

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

38

39

40

41

42 43

44 45

253

can be tacit and virtually unconscious but relates to social distinctions of gender and class (Bourdieu 1977). An example suggested by Boyer is the way Fang ‘epic’ tales change in their re-telling by shamans, according to the point of the ritual. Whether it is to heal a tribal conflict or to solve a particular problem depends on the specifics of the text/event and certainly not on the rationalisation or the explicit lesson of the content or structure (Boyer 1990:93). According to Saussure, historically, speech (parole) takes precedence over language (langue) but their interdependence helps language to evolve (Saussure 1983:19). Partha Chatterjee has been criticised for privileging a particular strand of Indian modernity: ‘“our” modernity as “the” tradition of social and historical thinking on modernism and nationalism’ (Bose and Jalal 1998:112). A parallel could be drawn between Pakistani traditionalist ideology and the ideas of the ‘Traditionalistes’ in the Third Republic of nineteenth century France: Renouvier critiques traditionalist thought (including Saint-Simon and Hegelianism) as ‘mystical because it transcends representation and the freedom of conscience (Stedman-Jones 2001:181). At an exchange rate of approximately 90 Pakistani rupees to £1, this was about £20, and the family’s total monthly income some £50. Although there is no miniature-painting department in the art faculty at the university, there is a mural-painting department and skills are taught in the making pigments from minerals, stones and plants. Khadim said that in 1883 the Great Buddha’s legs had been smashed by the Pashtuns. A title which ‘reclaim[s] the exhibition of miniature painting on the artist’s own terms – reversing centuries of their appropriation by European dealers’ (Sloan 2006:28).

4 Miniature Practice and Aesthetics: Social and Visual, Local and Global 1 ‘When I discovered readymades, I thought to discourage aesthetics. I threw the bottle rack and the urinal in their faces as a challenge and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty’ (1962 letter to Dadaist Hans Richter, Duchamp 1966:313–4). 2 By assertions such as ‘A work of art needs only be interesting’ (Judd 1965 Specific Objects), though later Judd defended the notion of ‘quality’ with passion (Foster 1996:243, n. 20)! 3 Gell sees through the transparency of Duchamp’s aesthetic indifference

254

4

5

6 7 8 9 10

11 12 13 14 15

16 17

18 19

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN when he compares the latter’s ‘choice’ with the ‘quietist receptivity of Japanese Buddhist garden-artists to natural boulders’ (Gell 1998:30). Sheikh notes that ‘This refers to eatable gums and colours, dyes used for skin and other ailments, herbs as food or crushed to obtain colour or prepare medicine’ (Sheikh 1997:31, n. 3). Critiques of Bourdieu’s approach maintain that he avoids considering the nature of aesthetic response (Douglas 1981:164), or that he underestimates the political engagement of artists by a limited vision of ‘popular’ aesthetics (Fowler 1997:64–6). Most visible through the radical journals Block (1979–85) and Screen (ongoing). Pollock 1981; 1987; 1988; Nochlin 1988; Tickner 1988; Betterton 1987. Major texts on non-Western art are to be found in Third Text, founded and edited since 1987 by Rasheed Araeen. I have also received advice from art historians to stop ‘treating’ South Asian art history in case I get labelled an ‘Orientalist’ – which I suspect I am. Maquet’s examples are Zen Buddhist practices in Japan, such as gardenplanning or tea ceremonies. In a Japanese Zen monastery in 2005, I asked the nuns and monks the significance of the aesthetic aspect of their ritual: ‘hugely important’, was the unanimous response. Unconscious behaviour in ritual traditions is examined by the cognitive anthropologist Boyer (1990). MacDougall underlines the charge that such practices instil the institutional conditioning of self-surveillance (Foucault 1975). The complex codification of signs is the dividing line between scholarly and lay reading (see Chapter 6). See cameo of Aisha Khalid. ‘The rendering of a raga leaves room for the audience to associate “individual” emotions, since its import is not exclusive to emotions per se’ (Sheikh 1997:32 n. 12a). This was made clear by the reaction to the removal of frames in the Chailloux exhibition. The supply /demand for eroticised imagery in miniatures was observed in much Jaipuri workshop production. Miniatures of ‘busty nayikas’ painted by a Mr Butt in Lahore, have a waiting list of male patrons, for whom he also paints, in oils, nude portraits of their wives (studio conversation 2001). ‘Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern’ (Breton 1962). Fluxus (1960s–1990s) was an international movement of artists whose credo was collaboration in the will to merge art and life; members included Beuys, Maciunas, Kaprow, Nam June Paik, John Cage and Yoko Ono.

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

255

20 Whilst teaching in India and Pakistan I saw little recognition of the vanguard movements – Dada, Suprematists or Constructivists – probably since the only relative exhibition of early-twentieth-century Western modernism was that of the Bauhaus in Calcutta (Kapur 2000). 21 Groups such as the Bombay Progressives launched in 1947 (with M.F. Husain, Souza, Raza and Padamsee) or the Lahore Arts Circle started in the 1950s (with Shakir Ali, Sadequain, Ahmed Parvez, Shahi Sajjad, Anna Molka and Zubeida Agha). South Asian modernism owed more to the 1950s ‘Ecole de Paris’ than to any other Western ‘school’ of modernism. 22 My BA thesis in cultural studies was completed under Dr Jonathan Miller, who ran a seminar on the central nervous system. His teaching, based on cross-lateral thinking, proposed the CNS as a focal point from which we were to spin our dissertations. 23 In this the practice has strong similarities with yoga; the differences lie in the aims of the concentration. 24 Illustrated not only in the work of the female artists in Group X but also in that of their male colleagues ‘expanding’ the miniature field with an awareness of gendered discrimination. 25 It is interesting to note that Michael Fried was very influenced by the phenomenological ideas of Merleau-Ponty; Fried’s texts are equally lacking in gender analysis. 26 He describes it as ‘made up of scum, riffraff, drinking and marauding’ (Pinault 1992:66). At a Muharram procession in the old city, the sobbing of the women induced me to share their grief, and the tension was increased by the self-flagellating men and boys. The Sufi drumming ritual at the Shi’a mosque outside Lahore exudes a charismatic power comparable to Tantric performances witnessed in Kerala. 27 A lecture of 2000 given in college by the Sufi scholar William Chittick had been packed out with Lahori literati and socialites. 28 ‘Painting relates to both art and life. Neither is made. I try to act in the gap between the two.’ (Rauschenberg, cited in Cage 1969:105). 29 Photography was temporarily introduced into the MSA in 1877 by a Mr Garrick, during Kipling’s ‘furlough in Europe’ (Reports of Director of Public Instruction, Punjab 1877–78). However no mention is ever made of it again under Kipling’s reign (1874–94). 30 From an interview with Qureshi by Mirza, ‘The Miniature Work’ (News on Sunday, 2002, cited by Hashmi 2005:47, n. 3). 31 The complex issue of what defines ‘Islamic Arts’, a term coined by Europeans a century ago, is discussed in a recent text: Cooke, M. and Lawrence, B.B (eds.) (2005) Muslim Networks: From Hajj to Hip Hop. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

256

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

32 ‘More locally, anti-aesthetic also signals a practice, cross-disciplinary in nature, that is sensitive to cultural forms engaged in a politic (e.g. feminist art) or rooted in a vernacular – that is, to forms that deny the idea of a privileged aesthetic realm’ (Foster 1985:xv). 33 Greater interest was shown by South Asian modernist artists (Shakir Ali, M.F. Husain, Subramanian) in Picasso and Matisse than in Duchamp or Heartfield. 34 In India regular ‘theory’ conferences are organised, e.g. Art Objects in a PostModern Age, with Huyssen and Kapur (Bombay 1996) and Transnational Issues, with Homi Bhabha, Laurie Anderson and Shahzia Sikander (Bombay 2006). 35 Although Adorno’s critique of a commodifying ‘culture industry’ would be shared by the miniaturists, they would very probably prefer Walter Benjamin’s optimism about the transformative potential of new technologies. 36 This example contributes to deconstructing the oriental and Orientalist myth (often repeated by members of Group O) that a protected father-son apprenticeship is a fundamental requisite in learning. 37 Appadurai’s thesis of indigenisation (1991), Hannerz’s notion of ‘maturation’ (1991) or Bhabha’s work on mimicry (1994) are all useful tools. 38 Asad 1972; Bloch 1978; Worsley 1990; Deliss 1994; Hannerz 1991. 39 Such humour was lost on the Hindu fundamentalists of Shiv Sena, who in November 2001 threatened to attack the Pakistani exhibition of miniatures in Bombay with lathis and to burn it down. The show was forced to close, and a demonstration was held by Indian artists against the fundamentalists. 40 Discussing a BBC documentary (Crimes of Honour dir. Shelley Saywell 1999) which had been the first to mount a serious enquiry into ‘honour killing’, Durrani insisted that it had not given the whole picture. In her words: ‘She was a spoilt middle class girl and she wanted to punish her parents.’ 41 As repeated by women artists throughout this study, the alternative to marriage for a woman in Pakistan appears to be living either in isolation or in conditions of perpetual harassment by the family, and more probably in a combination of both, in a form of household slavery imposed in the name of protection (Haeri 2002:229–32). 42 I remarked that Woolf’s observation revealed the privileged kind of space she was accustomed to, not having to work in her bedroom like so many women artists. 43 A strong similarity with the mechanical robots in works by de Chirico, Duchamp, Picabia, Ernst, Grosz and Heartfield – all male artists taking notably little account of gender implications.

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

257

5 Workshop and Studio Production 1 Graburn (ed.) 1976; Jules-Rosette 1984; Errington 1989; Price 1989; Karp and Levine 1991; Marcus and Myers 1995; Phillips and Steiner 1999. 2 Kipling was critical of the British art-education policy of teaching ‘visual literacy’ via academic perspective and analytical measurement: ‘he chose to make his students draw from Asian objects in the Lahore museum’s collection, which were undoubtedly of greater relevance to them than plaster casts from the antique’ (Ata-Ullah 1998:71). 3 Officially, the MSA’s philosophy stated: [We wish] . . . to draw our experience from the Royal workshops of the Mughals’ (Director of Public Instruction in the Punjab, 1876), yet miniature painting was excluded from the curriculum until the Bengal School’s influence was felt in the 1920s. 4 Classed under the ‘salvage paradigm’ and ‘detective paradigm’ in Pinney’s study of Indian photographic practice (1997:45). 5 Photography had a vast influence on 19th-century Western painters, some of whom used it in their practice (Delacroix, Manet, Degas) and also on Indian painters, particularly Ravi Varma, who had set up a chromolithographic printing press. 6 The fin-de-siècle symbolism of Moreau and the art nouveau stylisation of Klimt were an influence on Chughtai. 7 Only four artists were still working in Kangra in 1929, as reported by J.C. French (1931:101) and repeated by Archer (1952:6). 8 Saadia was a mature student, married with grown-up children and formerly a graphic designer. Her ‘popular’ gaze took in the destruction of Bamiyan as well as feminist issues around purdah. 9 Created by a ‘migrant’ group of painters, adopting and tutored in Western style; they were patronised by officers and civilians of the East India Company. 10 The strong stamp of provincial miniature style in early Company work – stiff stylised figures, bright palette – was effaced with the copying of Western oil painting in gouache (Guha Thakurta 1992:15). Muted colours, graded tones, shadows and rigorous draughtmanship were the British conventions imposed on Company artists (Archer 1955; 1962; 1972; Skelton 1956). 11 In 1615, Sir Thomas Roe, Ambassador of James I, offered Jahangir his portrait by Isaac Oliver, the greatest miniaturist in England. Jahangir had copies made (Rizvi 1976:318). 12 Mitter states: ‘It was oil portraitists who posed a threat to photographers in the nineteenth century’ (1994:17), but Pinney’s version is of a free and easy exchange between the studios of painters and photographers, not only in terms of ‘commercial manipulation’ but also in the actual practice of

258

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22 23

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN overpainting photographs: ‘The studio carpet has been lovingly re-created with minute attention to its floral pattern’ (1997:78–9). ‘The Walled City is a working-class area . . . formal sector labour for women is factory-based, but the majority of women have home-based work’ (Weiss 2002: xviii, 11–12). In one square mile of bazaars choked with carts and ‘phut-phuts’ (motorised rickshaws), with open drains and a hanging garden of electric wires, the city houses a quarter of a million: the largest concentration of urban poor in Pakistan. Having made a fortune from cardboard packaging, this patron also subsidises LUMS (the Lahore School of Economics), while collecting Mughal miniatures and financing the workshop/school. Ironically this exhibition I curated was entitled: Returning the Gaze, and presented the work of nine Lahori artists who had been trained partially in British art schools. Due to a bomb scare it was closed at its opening. Defending his notion of ‘doxa’ as a naturalising function, Bourdieu states: ‘There are many things people accept without knowing, particularly further down the social scale . . . the more they believe that those who are successful are naturally endowed with intellectual capacities, the more they accept their own exclusion . . . it is a formidable mechanism, like the imperial system – a wonderful instrument of ideology’ (Bourdieu in discussion with Terry Eagleton, 1991, in Zizek (ed.) 1994. Such rivalry recalls the stories of artists in the Renaissance (Vasari 1568/1976), the conflicts between Ottoman miniaturists (Pamuk 2002), or the stress between nineteenth century artists in Paris (Clark 1973). Two eminent historians of miniature painting displayed a marked lack of interest when I asked them their views on the new work in Lahore: Fischer, Director of the Rietburg Museum in Zurich, who refused an invitation to discuss the work when on show in Zurich in 2003 (a young curator explaining that for Fischer it was simply not ‘authentic’ as miniature painting), and Goswamy, who did later become interested, curating an exhibition in Delhi (2005) with some of the Group X painters. The scholar John Seyller conceded that the high quality of the reproduction work (in three examples I showed him, which I had bought off the two main miniaturists I had met in Jaipur and Kangra) could well have passed for earlier pieces. With the industrialisation of machine-spun and woven cotton in Britain, the import of Indian textiles was reduced to simply importing raw cotton and exporting it back to India as cloth (Swallow 1982). It could be said that, paradoxically, it is this reasoning which suits the current global art-world market. The announcement on BBC 2 (March 15 2006) of a forthcoming miniature

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

259

show in Asia House underlined their Pakistani origins in this ‘Year of Islam Festival’ in Britain.

6 The Global ‘Art-world’ 1 ‘[A] crisis in western representation, its authority and universal claims . . . where feminism, a previously marginal discourse, now critiques the master narratives . . . is political in its challenge of patriarchal society, is epistemological in that it questions the structure of its representations’ (Owens 1985:57–8). 2 This remark lays the interlocutor open to one art historian’s accusation of ‘ethnographic authority’. (Foster 1996:181) Another critique is that ethnographic art studies (Coote and Shelton 1992) overlook the ‘thing in itself’ (Thomas 1999). The re-location of anthropology in art-world debates has come through material-culture studies’ interest in contemporary art theory. 3 Visions of alternative networks are most visible through the web site movementoftheimagination.com, which has led the co-ordination of three international forums on this debate over the last few years. 4 See Thomas 1999; Clarke 1999; Schneider 1996; Kapur 2000. 5 I have been advised by certain gallerists to downplay my feminist analysis. 6 This was the strong impression given to me from interviews I conducted with visitors to contemporary miniature exhibitions in various cities: Amsterdam, London, Paris, Delhi, Zurich, Berlin, New York and Fukuoka. 7 See Chapter 3. Mumtaz, an architect, accused Western postmodernism of being ‘the harbinger of destruction’ for the authentic traditional crafts of Pakistan. 8 See Graburn 1976; Steiner 1990; Clifford 1988; Hart 1995. 9 See Marcus and Myers 1995; Gell 1998; Thomas 1999; Foster 1996; Schneider 1996; Whiles 2000a; Winegar 2006. 10 According to a recent estimate, there are now approximately 90 Biennial or Triennial International Art Surveys worldwide (Universal Experience 2005: 204–5). 11 Such as the Surrealist call for the ‘unknown and supernatural’ (Zervos 1969). Another show which used the notion of the artist as shaman or passeur was Rites of Passage (Tate Britain, 1995). 12 See Myers 1995 on Australian Aboriginal art, and on Madhubani paintings in Mithila see Archer 1979; Jayakar 1989; Hart 1995; Bundgaard 1999. 13 In both communities, Australian and Indian, the local artists produce imagery for their own sacred rituals and, separately, imagery for the commercial market, from which they are now profiting more directly.

260

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

14 ‘Normal ethnicity – a mode of objectification that, unlike xenophobia, ethnicism or racism, is, I suggest, a rightful performance or representation of multiple, valorised and aestheticised identifications’ (Werbner 1997:229). 15 A major challenge to certain post-colonial theorisation by Spivak and Bhabha lies in Benita Parry’s texts (2004). 16 The rich mix of social practices is wittily and speedily demonstrated in BBC Television’s recent Asian cultural review Desi DNA, made by British/ Pakistani producers. 17 Cultural diversity is certainly not represented in the teaching staff of the main art schools despite, rising numbers of students from South Asia, South East Asia and Latin America. 18 The curator was Richard Blurton, who was sympathetic but firm in rejecting my request, on the grounds of risk. 19 Report in BBC Newsnight, December 2003. 20 In a text for artist Guy Lemonnier (Whiles 1996) I describe the neocolonialist ‘war-games’ operated by French curators within a pyramidal structure (FRAC), where the regions are still dominated by the capital city. 21 Ironically it is the ‘cosmopolitan’ nature of Egyptian culture which has served arguments both for and against a national ideology in contemporary art discourse (Winegar 2006:118). 22 Peter Nagy is one of the rare Western critics, curators and artists who has a deep, local knowledge of South Asian art, since he has lived (and worked in all three capacities) in Delhi for over 20 years. 23 Wasim’s miniature of Bin Laden was left out of the show. News of the Siv Sen attack in Bombay on Waseem’s paintings was met with silence. 24 One lively group: SAWCC (pronounced saucy) is the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective based since 1977 in New York, they show work by the diasporic community and build ‘cultural bridges between North America and South Asia’ (Nagy 2004). 25 In Lahore, Rohtas, Grey Noise and the NCA; in Karachi, Canvas, Chawkandi, Clifton, V.M Art, Indus Valley School, FOMMA. 26 Including Ifthikar Dadi, Quddus Mirza, Nilofar Ferrukh, Hamad Nasar, Nazeesh Ata-Ullah and Salima Hashmi. 27 Examples such as Rikrit Tiravanija, an artist/curator who lives and works variously in Thailand, Germany and the US. 28 In the Basel Art Fair of 2003 there were 271 galleries showing work from the West, and eight with work from Asia. In the Armory Show in New York (March 2006), out of the 160 galleries eight were Asian. See Art Asia Art Pacific (2003) and Contemporary, No. 78 (2006). 29 As seen particularly in recent Biennales and at Dokumenta, where curators such as Sarat Maharaj, Okwui Enwezor, Geeta Kapur, Hou Hanru, Niru Ratnam and Chaitanya Sambrani have been given larger platforms.

INTRODUCTION: MNINIATURE OTES MANOEUVRES

261

30 Having attempted for two years to interest the V&A in the new miniatures, without much response, I was invited in 2005 by the South Asian department to counsel them formally on their potential buying; they have since bought miniatures by Qureshi and Khalid through Corvi-Mora’s gallery. 31 In London such courses are held at the Royal College of Art, at Goldsmiths and at Chelsea College, amongst others. 32 As yet there has been little direct corporate buying of the new miniatures, but since museums are now mainly corporate-funded, this is academic . . . at an auction (Christie’s, New York, September 2006) a miniature by Aisha Khalid, placed by an Indian Art Gallery and estimated at $3,000, was sold for $10,000. Prices continue to rise, even in 2009. 33 ‘Abstract Expressionism, weapon of the Cold War’. Artforum, Vol. 12 (June 1974). 34 His view of the ‘radical’ miniatures is that ‘their content would be communicated far better in cartoons’, a practice he also performs in local newspapers. 35 In the Maussian mode advocated by Gell (1997) and discussed in Chapter 4.

7 Conclusions 1 In conversation in New York with Hassan Iqbal, a former Principal of the NCA, he stated: ‘The NCA has seen worse times than the current manoeuvres . . . the younger generation does not fight enough . . . but despite all this the miniature department is functioning and look how many good painters are coming out. The paths taken are very different, yet they co-exist. This is stimulating – without controversy there’s no stimulus, it’s crucial.’ 2 Mohsin, 2000 ; 2007; Shamsie, 2002; 2005. 3 In his text for the Beyond the Page Exhibition (Asia House, September 2006) Hamad Nasar defines miniature as ‘attitude’: as extending ‘beyond tradition and technique’ (Nasar 2006:7) or as ‘intensity of experience’ (ibid:10). 4 David Clarke (2001); Hou Han Ru and Hans-Ulrich Obrist (1999); John Clark, David Craven, Annie Coombes, Fei Da Wei, Geeta Kapur, Gayatri Sinha and Chaitanya Simbrani 5 Ahmad criticised Jameson’s description of Third World texts as ‘national allegories’ (Jameson 1986:69), for limiting the notion of nationalism to a binary opposition with postmodernism (Ahmad 1992:109). 6 Strategies of dissimulation of religion are permitted under Sharia law in times of persecution; see Zemon Davies, N. (2007) Trickster Travels. London: Faber and Faber.

262

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

7 Kuroda Raiji, Parallel Realities: Asian Art No’. Catalogue Third Fukuoka Asian Art Show, 2005. 8 I once cheekily suggested to Rashid Rana that his work mantra could modify Barbara Kruger’s celebrated Cartesian maxim to become: ‘I photoshop, therefore I am’. 9 Rana’s digital work See Through (2006), installed on the glass facade of Manchester Art Gallery, is a vast digital print of the vista beyond – streets, rooms and houses – composed of thousands of pixellated images of streets, rooms and houses in Pakistan. 10 The destruction of the Babri Masjid Mosque by Hindu extremists in 1992 brought together artists in non-violent demonstrations in India, as well as making it a topic in their work (Vivan Sundaram, Nalini Malani, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Anita Dubhe et al). Women-artist groups, in South Asia, Palestine and South Africa, collaborated in reacting to the incident (Hashmi 2003). 11 In the first year of my fieldwork (2000), the library’s journals were limited. Since Rasheed Araeen’s return visit, the college now receives Third Text, among other art magazines, and the whole library collection has improved phenomenally, thanks to the energy of Nazeesh Ata-Ullah, the new Principal. 12 Brenson 1986; Useem and Kutner 1986’ Stallabrass 1999; Monbiot 2000; Wu 2002. 13 Western multinational companies were denounced in a conference I attended in Mumbai in 1994 by the activist Indian artist Nalini Malani as ‘the new form of colonialism’. 14 See the critical texts Roberts 1990; Ranciere 2000; Bishop 2006; Beech 2009. 15 Bourriaud (in Esthétique Relationnelle, 2001) writes on the ‘social interstice’ with no mention of Mauss or Gell, but he does cite Debord and Bourdieu. 16 ‘Contextualisation’ was the name of a seminar I set up in Rouen (at the Ecole Regionale des Beaux Arts) where the students presented their work without any images, outside the studio and around a table, in conversation. This proved more difficult to do at the NCA due to academic habitus. 17 September 2006 confirmed the ‘arrival’ of South Asian contemporary art on the auction scene with seven auctions in London, New York and Bombay. Perhaps the supreme irony of Rashid Rana’s take on the miniature tradition is that his Red Carpet, a macro-image of a Persian carpet made up of pixelated micro-photographs of Lahore slaughterhouses, sold at Sotheby’s in May 2008 for $624,000 – digital quashes the qalam? 18 In Ranciere’s The Politics of the Aesthetics, subtitle: ‘The distribution of the sensible’ (2005) he outlines his theory that the aesthetic dimension is inherent in any radical emancipatory politics, ‘. . . that has nothing to do with Benjamin’s discussion of the “aestheticization of politics” specific to the “age of masses”.’ (Ranciere 2005:13)

INTRODUCTION: MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

263

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abdel-Malik, A. (1963) Orientalism in Crisis. London: Diogenes 44 Abu-Lughod, I. (2005) Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Adamjee, Q. and Jain, S. (2005) ‘Innovation to a timeless practice: materials and techniques of the Karkhana artists’. In Nasar, H. (ed.), Kharkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration. London: Green Cardamom. Adorno, T. (1970) Aesthetic Theory. London: Athlone. Ahmad, A. (1992) In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ahmad, A. (2000) Lineages of the Present. Ideology and Politics in South Asia. London: Verso. Ahmad, Az. (1964) Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Subcontinent. Oxford: Clarendon. Ahmad, B. (2000) Preface. In Portfolio of Contemporary Miniature Paintings. Lahore: NCA Publications. Ahmed, A.S. (1986) Pakistan Society. Karachi: Oxford University Press’ Ahmed, D.S. (1997) ‘The changing face of tradition’. In Sizoo, E. (ed.), Women’s Lifeworlds: Women’s Narratives in Shaping their Realities. London: Routledge. Ahmed, J.U. (1964) Art in Pakistan. Karachi: Pakistan Publications. Ahmed, L. (1992) Women, Gender and Islam. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ali, T. (2000) ‘In the doghouse’. In Ali, T. et al (ed./eds.), On the Abyss: Pakistan after the Coup. New Delhi: Harper Collins. —— (2002) The Clash of Fundamentalisms. London: Verso —— (2008) The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power. London: Simon & Schuster. Allchin, B. and Allchin, R. (1982) The Rise of Civilization in India and Pakistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Alloway, L. (1958) ‘The arts and the mass media’. Architectural Design, (February). Althusser, L. (1971) ‘Ideology and ideological state apparatuses’. In Althusser (ed.), Lenin, Philosophy and Other Essays. London: Monthly Review Press.

264

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Anderson, B. (1983) Imagined Communities. London: Verso. Ang, I. (2003) ‘Cultural translation in a globalised world’. In Papastergiadis, N. (ed.), Complex Entanglements: Art Globalisation and Cultural Difference. London: River Oram. Appadurai, A. (ed.) (1986) The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— (1990) ‘Disjunction and difference in the global cultural economy’. Public Culture, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1–24. ——(1991) ‘Global ethnoscapes: notes-queries for a transnational anthropology’. In Fox, R.G. (ed.), Recapturing Anthropology. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press. —— (1995) ‘Playing with modernity: the decolonization of Indian cricket’. In Breckenridge, Carol A. (ed.), Consuming Modernity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. ——(1996) Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Araeen, R. (ed.) (1989) The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-war Britain. London: Hayward Gallery. —— (2000) A New Beginning: Third Text and the Politics of Art. In Araeen, R. & Sardar, Z (eds) Third Text 51. Vol 14. Summer. London: Kala Press. —— (2002) Against the Grain. In Araeen, R. Cubitt, S, Sardar, Z. (eds) The Third Text Reader. London, New York: Continuum. Archer, W.G. (1952) Indian Painting in the Punjab Hills. London: HMSO. —— (1959) India and Modern Art. London: Allan & Unwin. —— (1960) Indian Miniatures. New York: New York Graphic Society. —— (1973) Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills: A Survey and History of Pahari Miniature Painting. New York, London and Delhi: Sotheby Parke Bernet. —— (1975) Pahari Miniatures: A Concise History. Bombay: Oxford University Press. —— (1976) Visions of Courtly India: The Archer Collection of Pahari Miniatures. Washington, DC: The Foundation Asad, T. (1973) Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter. London: Ithaca. —— (1983a) ‘Anthropological conceptions of religion: reflections on Geertz’. Man, Vol. 18, No 2, pp. 237–59. —— (1986) ‘The concept of cultural translation in British social anthropology’. In Clifford, James and Marcus, George E. (eds.), Writing Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Ashcroft, B. (2001) Post-Colonial Transformation. London: Routledge. Ata-Ullah, N. (1998) ‘Stylistic hybridity and colonial art & design education’. In Barringer, T.J. and Flynn, T. (eds.), Colonialism and the Object. London: Routledge. —— (2004) ‘The making of the miniature: an overview’. In Whiles, V. (ed), Contemporary Miniature Painting from Pakistan. Catalogue. Fukuoka: Asian Art Museum. Auden, W.H. (1994) Collected Poems. Ed. E. Mendelson. London: Faber & Faber.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

265

Baden-Powell, B.H. (1872) Handbook of the Manufactures and Arts of the Punjab. Lahore: Punjab Printing Company. Bakhtin, M. (1981) The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Holquist. M. Austin, TX: University of Austin. Balibar. E. (1991) ‘Is there a Neo-Racism?’ In Balibar, E. and Wallenstein, I. (eds.), Race, Nations, Class: Ambiguous Identities. New York, London: Verso. Bailey, G. (1998) The Jesuits and the Grand Mogul: Renaissance Art at the Imperial Court of India, 1580–1630. Freer Gallery of Art Occasional Papers, Vol. 2. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Ball, H. (1974) Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary. New York: Viking. Barrett, D.E. and Gray, B. (1963) Painting of India. Genevaand Cleveland, OH: Skira. Barthes, R. (1974) S/Z Essay.New York, London: Cape. —— (1981) Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. London: Cape. Baudrillard, J. For a critique of the political economy of the sign. St. Louis, Mo.: Telos Press. Bauman, Z. (1998) Globalization: The Human Consequences. London: Polity. —— (2000) Liquid Modernity. London: Polity. Baxandall, M. (1974) Painting and Experience in 15th Century Italy. Oxford: Blackwell. —— (1989) Patterns of Intention. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Bayly, C.A. (1983) Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North India Society in the Age of British Expansion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— (1988) Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— (1989) ‘Introduction’. In Baskaran, S. Theodore (ed.) The Message Bearers: Nationalist Politics and Entertainment Media in South India, 1880–1945. Madras: Cre-A. Beach, M.C. (1992) Mughal and Rajput Painting. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Becker, H. (1982) Art-Worlds. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Becquelin, A. and Molinie, A. (eds.) (1993) Mémoire de la Tradition. Nanterre: Société d’Ethnographie. Beech, D. (2009) ‘Recovering radicalism’. Art Monthly, No. 323. Benjamin, W. (1934/1983) ‘The author as producer’. In Benjamin, W. Understanding Brecht. New York: Schocken. Benjamin, W. (1936/1973) Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. London: Fontana. Bennett-Jones, O. (2002) Pakistan: Eye of the Storm. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin. Berman, M. (1982) All That is Solid Melts into Air. New York: Verso. Betterton, R. (1987) Looking On: Images of Femininity. London: Pandora. —— (1996) Intimate Distance: Women Artists and the Body. London: Routledge. Bhabha, H. (1985) ‘Signs taken for wonders’. Critical Enquiry,Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 144–65. —— (1994) The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.

266

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

—— (1999) ‘Interview with Shahzia Sikander’. Public Culture, Vol. 11, No.1, pp. 146–51. Birdwood, G. (1880/1988) The Industrial Arts of India. Calcutta and London: Chapman and Hall. Bishop, C. (2004) ‘Antagonism and relational aesthetics’. October, No. 110, pp. 51–79. Bloch, M. (1974) Symbols, song, dance and features of articulation: is religion an extreme form of traditional authority?’ European Journal of Sociology, Vol. 15, pp. 55–81. Bonami. F. (2005) Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist’s Eye. Curatorial text. Chicago, IL: Museum of Contemporary Art. Bose, S. and Jalal, A. (1998) Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel. Bourdieu, P. (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press. —— (1984) Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge. —— (1988a) Homo Academicus. London: Polity. —— (1990a) The Logic of Practice. London: Polity. —— (1990c) Photography: A Middlebrow Art. With Boltanski, L., Castel, R., Chamboredon, J.C. and Schnapper, D. London: Polity. —— (1994) ‘Doxa and common life’. Interview with Terry Eagleton. In Zizek, S. (ed.), Mapping Ideology. London: Verso. —— (1992) Les Règles de l’Art. Paris: Seuil. —— (1993a) The Field of Cultural Production. London: Polity. —— and Darbel, A. (1969) L’Amour de l’Art. Paris: Editions de Minuit. (1990) The Love of Art: European Art Museums and their Public. Cambridge: Polity ——and Passeron, J.C. (1970/1977) Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. Trans. Richard Nice. London and Beverly Hills, Ca.: Sage. Bourriaud, N. (2001) Esthétique Relationnelle. Paris: Presses du Réel. Boyer, P. (1990) Tradition as Truth and Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Brand. M. and Lowry, G. (1985) Akbar’s India: Art from the Mughal City of Joy. New York: Asia Society. Brecht, B. (1948/1964) A Short Organum for the Theatre. In Willett, J (ed) Brecht on Theatre London: Methuen Breckenridge, C. and Van de Veer, P. (eds.) (1993) Orientalism and the PostColonial Predicament. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Brend, B. (1995) The Emperor Akbar’s Khamsa of Nizami. London: British Library. Bressan, L. (1995) ‘Mughal influences on European painting of the 17th century’. In Ahmed, K.A. (ed.), Intercultural Encounters in Mughal Miniatures. Lahore: NCA Publication. Brenson, M. (1986) ‘Museum and corporation– a delicate balance’. New York Times, 23 February.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

267

Breton, A. (1969) Manifesto of Surrealism. Trans. R. Seaver and & H.L. Lane. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Brown, L. (2005) The Dancing Girls of Lahore. New York: 4th Estate/Harper Collins. Brown, M.E. (1994) Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms. London: J.Paul Getty Museum/British Library. Brown, P. (1981) Indian Painting under the Mughals. New Delhi:Cosmo. Brown, T.P. (2004) ‘Traumas, museums and the future of pedagogy’. Third Text,Vol. 18, No.4, pp. 247–61. Buchloh, B.H.D. (1981) Figures of Authority, Ciphers of Regression. October (spring). —— (1982) ‘Allegorical procedures’. Artforum, Vol. 21, No.1 (September), pp. 43–56. —— (1989) ‘The whole earth show’. Art in America, No. 77, pp. 150–213. —— (1990) ‘Cold War constructivism’. In Guibault, S. (ed.), Reconstructing Modernism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Buck-Morss, S. (1992) ‘Aesthetics and anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin’s artwork essay reconsidered’. October, Vol. 62 (October), pp.3–41. Budge, A. (2002) ‘Partage d’exoticisme: do “magicians” grow wise or just old?’. Third Text, Vol. 16, No.1, pp. 87–102. Bundgaard, H. (1999) Indian Art Worlds in Contention: Local, Regional and National Discourses on Orissan Patta Paintings. London: Curzon. Burger, P. (1974) Theory of the Avant-Garde. Transl. Michael Shaw. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press 1984. Butler, J. (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London and New York: Routledge. —— (1993) Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York and London: Routledge. Butler, J. (1989) ‘Sexual ideology and phenomenological description: a feminist critique of Merleau Ponty’s phenomenology of perception’. In Allen, J. and Young, I.M. (eds.), The Thinking Muse. Bloomington and Indianopolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Butler, J. (1997) The Psychic Life of Power. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Burroughs, W. (1964) Nova Express. New York: Grove Press. de Certeau, M. (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Cesaire, A. (1955/2004) Discours sur le Colonialisme. Paris: Présence Africaine. Chhachhi, A. (1991) ‘Forced identities: the state, communalism, fundamentalism and women in India’. In Kandyoti, D. (ed.), Women, Islam and the State. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Chandra, M. (1949) The Technique of Mughal Painting. Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Historical Society. Chatterjee, P. (1989) ‘The nationalist resolution of the women’s question’. In

268

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Sangari, K. and Vaid, S. (eds.), Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Chatterejee, P. (1993) The Nation and Its Fragments. Princeton, NJ, and New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Chaudhary, M.A. and Ahmed, E. (eds.) (2004) Globalisation: WTO, Trade and Economic Liberalization in Pakistan. Lahore: Ferozsons. Clark, J. (1998) Modern Asian Art. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. —— (2004) Modernity and Indian Art. Asian Art News. May/June: pp. 90–93. —— (2006) ‘A spectacle of questions’. Asian Art News, (January/February), pp. 68–72 Clark, T.J. (1985) The Painting of Modern Life: Paris and the Art of Manet and His Followers. London: Thames & Hudson. Clarke, D. J, (1996) Art and Place: Essays on Art from a Hong Kong Perspective. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. —— (2001) Hong Kong Art: Culture and Decolonization. London: Reaktion Books. —— (2002) ‘Contemporary Asian art and its Western reception’. Third Text, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 233–42. Clifford, J. and Marcus G.E. (eds.) (1986) Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Clifford, J. (1988) The Predicament of Culture: 20th Century Ethnography, Literature and Art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cockroft, E. (1992) ‘Abstract Expressionism as a weapon in the Cold War’. In Frascina, F. and Harrison, C.(eds.), Art in Modern Culture. London: Phaidon. Coe, R. (1986) Lost and Found Traditions: Native American Art, 1965–1985. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. Cohen, S.P. (2004) The Idea of Pakistan. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Cohn, B.S. (1987) ‘Representing authority in Victorian Britain’. In An Anthropologist among the Historians and Other Essays New Delhi: Oxford University Press ——(1985) ‘The command of language and the language of command’. In Guha, R. (ed.), Subaltern Studies. Vol. IV New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ——(1996) Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British In India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Cole, H.A. (1874) Catalogue of the Objects of Indian Art Exhibited in the South Kensington Museum. London: Museum Publication. Collingham, E.M. (2001) Imperial Bodies: The Physical Experience of the Raj. 1800–1947. Cambridge: Polity. Collingwood, R.G. (1938/1965) The Principles of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Connah, R. (2000) Zahoor ul Akhlaq: The Enigma of Departure. Toronto: Laal. Coombes. A.E. (1994) ‘The distance between two points: global culture and the liberal dilemma’. In Robertson, Get al (eds.), Travellers Tales. London: Routledge. Coomaraswamy, A. (1909) Essays on National Idealism. Repr. 1981. New Delhi: Mumshiram Manoharlal. —— (1912) Art and Swadeshi. Madras: Ganesh.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

269

—— (1916) Rajput Painting. London: B.R. Publishing Corporation. —— (1918) The Dance of Siva. London 2006: Kessinger Publication. Cooke, M. and Lawrence, B.B. (eds.) (2005) Muslim Networks from Haaj to Hip Hop. Chapel Hill, NC, and London: University of North Carolina Press. Coote, J. and Shelton, A. (eds.) (1995). Anthropology, Art and Aesthetics. Oxford: Clarendon. Craven, D. (2002) ‘Art history and the challenge of post-colonial modernism’. Third Text, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 309–316. Cubitt, S. (2001) ‘The art of partition: globalisation, diaspora and ecological aesthetics’. In Biggs, B. Dimitrakaki, A. Lamba, J (eds) Independent Practices. Liverpool: Bluecoat. pp. 60–71. Cummings, N. and Lewandowska, M. (2001) Capital. London: Tate Publications. —— (2002) Free Trade. Manchester: Manchester Art Gallery Publications. Dachy, M. (2005) Dada: la Révolte de l’Art. Paris: Gallimard. Dadi, I. (2006) ‘Miniature painting as Muslim cosmopolitan’. ISIM Review, Vol. 18 (Autumn), pp. 52–53. Dagen, P. (2003) Islamisme et Nucléaire: la miniature Pakistanaise revue par la satire. Le Monde, 25 June. Dalmia, Y. (2001) The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. —— and Sambrani, C. (eds.) (1997) Indian Contemporary Art Post-Independence. New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery. —— et al (eds.) (2002) Contemporary Indian Art: Other Realities. Bombay: Marg. Danto, A. (1964) The Art World Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 19, pp. 571–584. —— (1987) The State of the Art. New York: Prentice Hall. —— (1997) After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Davey, N. (1999) ‘The hermeneutics of seeing’. In Heywood, I. and Sanywell, B. (eds.), Interpreting Visual Culture: Explorations in the Hermeneutics of the Visual. London: Routledge. Debord, G. (1967) La Société du Spectacle. Paris: Editions Buchet-Chastel. Deliss, C. (1992) ‘Exhibit A: blueprint for a visual methodology’. Third Text, No. 18 vol. 6 Spring pp. 27–47. Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1980) Capitalisme et Schizophrénie. Vol. 2, Mille Plateaux. Paris: Editions de Minuit. Deleuze G. (1989) Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Paris: Editions de Minuit. Derrida, J. (1968/1982) ‘Difference’. In Margins of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. —— (1976) Of Grammatology. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. —— (1978) Writing and Difference. London: Routledge Kegan & Paul. —— (1978) La Vérité en Peinture. (1987) The Truth in Painting. Chicago: Chicago University Press. —— (1996) ‘Remarks on Deconstruction and Pragmatism’ In Mouffe, C (ed.) Deconstruction and Pragmatism, London: Routledge.

270

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Desai, V.N. (2001) ‘Engaging “tradition” in the 20th-century arts of India and Pakistan’. In Desai, V.N. (ed.), Conversations with Traditions. Nilima Sheikh. Shahzia Sikander. New York: Asia Society. Dickie, G. (1975) Art and the Aesthetic: An Institutional Analysis. Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press. Diehl, P. and Goertz, G. (2001) War and Peace in International Rivalry. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Diken, B. (2001) ‘Immigration, multiculturalism and post-politics after “Nine Eleven”’. Third Text, No. 57 Vol. 15, Issue. 57, pp. 3–12. Dirks, N.B. (1987) The Hollow Crown: Ethno-history of an Indian Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Douglas, M. (1966) Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. London: Routledge Kegan & Paul. Dreyfus, H. and Rabinow, P. (1982) M. Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Durham, J. (1991) ‘The search for virginity’. In Hiller, S. (ed.) The Myths of Primitivism. London: Routledge. pp. 286–292. —— (1994) ‘A friend of mine said that art is a European invention’. In Fisher, Jean (ed.), Global Visions. Towards a New Internationalism in the Visual Arts. London: Iniva/Kala Press. Pp. 113–120. Durkheim. E. (1895) 1995 a Les Règles de la Méthode Sociologique. Paris : Alcan. (1987) Paris: Presses Universitaires. de Duve, T. (1991) Pictorial Nominalism: On Marcel Duchamp’s Passage from Painting to the Readymade. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Eagleton, T. (2003) After Theory. London: Penguin. Eck, D.L. (1981) Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India. Chambersberg, PA: Anima Books. Eco, U. (1979) A Theory of Semiotics. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press. Eliot, T.S. (1932) ‘Tradition and Individual Talent’ In Selected Essays. New York: Harcourt Brace. —— (1984) The Name of the Rose. New York: Harcourt Brace Janovich. Fabian, J. (1983) Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press. —— (1990) Power and Performance. Madison WI: University of Wisconsin Press. Fanon, F. (1952) Peau noire, masques blancs. Paris: Seuil. Farrukh, N. (2002) Imran Qureshi. Exhibition review. Newsline. dec, Karachi. Fazl, A. (1965) Ain-i Akbari. 2 vols., trans, H. Blochmann. Delhi: Aadish Book Depot. —— (1976) Extracts from the District & States Gazeteers of the Punjab. Research Society of Lahore, Vol 1. Lahore: Punjabi Education Press. Feld, S. (1982) Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics and Song in Kaluli Expression. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania. Fergusson, J. (1867) On the Study of Indian Architecture. London: John Murray.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

271

—— (1884) Archaeology in India. London. Findly, E. (1993) The Pleasure of Women: Nur Jahan and Mughal Painting. Asian Art, Vol. VI, No. 2 (Spring), pp. 66–86. Finlay, V. (2002) Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox. London: Hodder & Stoughton. Foster, H. (ed.) (1983) The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Washington, DC: Bay Press. —— (ed.) (1987) Discussions in Contemporary Culture. Seattle, WA: Bay Press. —— (1996). The Return of the Real. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Foucault, M. (1970) The Order of Things. London: Tavistock. —— (1971) ‘Orders of discourse’. Social Science Information, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 7–30. —— (1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock. —— (1975) Discipline and Punish. New York: Pantheon. ——(1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings (1972–77). New York: Pantheon. Fowler, B. (1997) Pierre Bourdieu and Cultural Theory. London, Thousand Oaks, CA, and New Delhi: Sage. Frazer, J.G. (1890/1965) The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. New York: Harper & Row. Frayling, C. (1987) The Royal College of Art: 150 Years of Art & Design. London: Barrie & Jenkins. French, J.C. (1931) Himalayan Art. London: Oxford University Press. Fried, M. (1980) Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and the Beholder in the Age of Diderot. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Gadamer, H.G. (1976) ‘Aesthetics and hermeneutics’. In Linge, David E. (ed. and trans.), Philosophical Hermeneutics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Ganguly, S. (2001) Conflict Unending: Indian and Pakistani Tensions since 1947. New York: Columbia University Press. Geertz, C. (1973) The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. —— (1983) Local Knowledge. London: Fontana. Gell, A. (1992) ‘The enchantment of technology and the technology of enchantment’. In Coote, J. and Shelton, A. (eds.), Anthropology, Art and Aesthetics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. —— (1996) ‘Vogel’s Net. Traps as Artworks and Artworks as Traps’. Journal of Material Culture 1 (1), pp. 15–38. London: Sage Publications. ——(1998) Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. van Gennep, A. (1960) The Rites of Passage. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Gilroy, P. (1993) The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Glover, W.J. (2008) Making Lahore Modern: Constructing and Imagining a Colonial City. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press Goffman, E. (1967) Interaction Ritual. Chicago, IL: Aldine.

272

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

—— (1974) Frame Analysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Gombrich, E.H. (1960) ‘Technology and tradition in the arts’. The Art of Illusion. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Goswamy, B.N. (1968) Pahari Painting: The Family as the Basis of Style. Bombay: Marg. —— (1991) ‘Another past, another context: exhibiting Indian art abroad’. In Karp, Ivan and Lavine, S.D. (eds.), Exhibiting Cultures: the Poetics and Politics of Museum Display.Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. —— (1999) Paintings by Nainsukh of Guler. Zurich: Rietburg Museum Publications. —— and Fischer, E. (1992) Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India. Zurich: Artibus Asiae. Grabar, O. (2000) Mostly Miniatures: An Introduction to Persian Painting. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Graburn, N.H. (1976) Ethnic and Tourist Arts: Cultural Expressions from the Fourth World. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. —— (1993) ‘Ethnic and tourist arts revisited’. In Phillips, R.B. and Steiner, C.B. (eds.), Unpacking Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Trans. and ed. Q. Hoare and G. Nowell Smith. London: Lawrence & Wishart. Greenberg, C. (1961) Art and Culture:Critical Essays. Boston: Beacon. —— (1986/1993) The Collected Essays and Criticism, 1957–1969. Vols. 1 and 4, ed. O’Brian, J. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Greenhalgh, P. (1977) ‘The history of craft’. In Dormer, P. (ed.), The Culture of Craft. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Greenough, P. (1995) ‘Nation, economy and tradition displayed: the Indian Crafts Museum, New Delhi’. In Breckenridge, C. (ed.), Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Guha Thakurta, T. (1992) The Making of a New Indian Art: Artists, Aesthetics and Nationalism in Bengal, c. 1850–1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— (1997) ‘Making independence: the ritual of a national art exhibition’. New Delhi Journal of Art and Ideas, Nos. 30–1, pp. 89–114. Guy, J. and Swallow, D. (eds.) (1990) Arts of India, 1550–1900. London: V&A Publications. Haacke, H. and Bourdieu, P. (1995) Free Exchange. London: Polity. Habermas, J. (1983) ‘Modernism: an incomplete project’ In Foster, Hal (ed.), The Anti-Aesthetic. Washington, DC: Bay Press. Hadjinicolau, N. (1973) Art History and the Class Struggle. London: Pluto Press. Haeri, S. (2002) No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani Women. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Hall, S. (1977) ‘Politics and ideology: Gramsci’. In Working Papers in Cultural Studies, Vol. 10, Birmingham: University of Birmingham, pp. 45–76.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

273

—— (1988a) The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. London: Verso. —— (1994) ‘Cultural identity and diaspora’. In Williams, P.and Christman, C. (eds.), Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. New York: Columbia University Press. —— (1997) ‘For Allen White: metaphors of transformation’. In Morley, D. and Chen, K.H. (eds.), Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London: Routledge. Hannerz, U. (1991) ‘Scenarios for Peripheral Cultures’. In King, A. (ed.), Cultural Globalisation and the World System. London: Macmillan. Harrison, C. (1986) ‘Taste and tendency’. In Rees, A.L. and Borzello, F. (eds.), The New Art History. London: Camden Press. Harrison, C. and Upton, F. (1984) Modernism, Criticism, Realism: Alternative Contexts for Art. London: Harper & Row. Hart, L.M. (1995) ‘Three walls: regional aesthetics or the international art world’. In Marcus, G.E. and Myers, F.R. (eds.), The Traffic in Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California. Hartsock, N. (1990) ‘Foucault on power: a theory for women?’ In Nicholson, L.J. (ed.), Feminism/Post Modernism. New York and London: Routledge. Hashmi, S. (1994) Women Artists in the Muslim World. Fukuoka: Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. —— (2002) Unveiling the Visible Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan. Lahore: Action Aid Pakistan. —— (2005) ‘Journey’s end’. In Nasar, H. (ed.), Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration. London: Green Cardamom. Hasan, K. (2006) (ed. and trans.) O City of Lights. Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Selected Poetry and Biographical Notes. Karachi: Oxford University Press. —— (2008) (ed. and trans.) Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hassan Minto. London: Penguin. Hassan, N. (2003) Domestic Violence in Lahore. Unpublished PhD thesis, Punjab University, cited in Gillani, W. (2003) Daily Times, 14 December. Hauser, A. (1961/1999) The Philosophy of Art History. London: Routledge. Havell, E.B. (1908) Indian Sculpture and Painting. London: John Murray. —— (1911) The Ideals of Indian Art. London: John Murray. —— (1918) The History of Aryan Rule in India from Earliest Times to the Death of Akbar. London: Harrap, G.G. Hebdige, D. (1979) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen. Henriques, J. et al (eds.) (1984) Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity. London: Methuen. Hiller, S. (ed.) (1991) The Myth of Primitivism. London: Routledge. —— (1996) Thinking About Art. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Hobsbawm, E. and Ranger, T. (eds.) (1983) The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hou Han Ru and Obrist, Hans Ulrich (1999) Cities on the Move. Catalogue. London: Hayward Gallery. Hussain, J. (1997) A History of the Peoples of Pakistan towards Independence. Karachi: Oxford University Press.

274

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Hussain, N., Mumtaz, S. and Saigol, R. (eds.) (1997) Engendering the Nation. Lahore: Simorgh Women’s Resource & Publication Centre. Huyssen, A. (1986) After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture and Postmodernism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Inden, R.B. (1990) Imagining India. London: Hurst. Irfani, S. (2003) Inside Islam. London: Zed Books. Irigaray, L. (1985). Parler n’est Jamais Neutre. Paris: Editions de Minuit. —— (1984) Ethique de la Difference Sexuelle. Paris: Editions de Minuit. Jahangir, A. (1992) The Many Faces of Rape. Karachi: Herald Annual. (January). Jahangir, A. and Jilani, H. (1990) Hudood Ordinance: A Divine Sanction? Lahore: Rhotas. Jain, J. (1984) Painted Myths of Creation. New Delhi: Lalit Kala Academy. ——(1997) Ganga Devi: Tradition and Expression in Mithila Painting. New Delhi: Mapin India Publishing Pvt. Ltd. —— (1998) Contemporary Tribal Artists from India. Catalogue. New Delhi: Craft Museum Publications. Jalal, A. (1991) The State of Martial Rule. Lahore: Vanguard. —— (2001) Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam since 1850. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel. Jamal, O. (2001) E.B. Havell and R. Tagore: Nationalism, Modernity and Art. Third Text,Vol. 14 Issue 53, pp. 19–31. Jameson, F. (1986) ‘Third world literature in the era of multinational capital’. Social Text, 15 (Fall), pp. 65–8. Jayakar, P. (1989) The Earth Mother. New Delhi: Penguin. Judd, D. (1975) Complete Writings 1959–1975. Halifax: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Jules-Rosette, B. (1984) The Messages of Tourist Art: An African Semiotic System in Comparative Perspective. New York: Plenum. Kamuf, P. (2002) ‘Introduction: event of resistance’. In Derrida, Jacques Without Alibi. Ed. and trans. Peggy Kamuf. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Kapur, G. (1994) ‘A new inter nationalism: the missing hyphen’. In Fisher, Jean (ed.), Global Visions. London: Iniva/Kala Press. —— (2000) When Was Modernism: Essays on Contemporary Cultural Practice in India. New Delhi: Tulika. Karp, I. and Levine, S. (eds.) (1991) Exhibiting Cultures. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press. Kaye, J.W. and Malleson, G.B. (1892) History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857–8. Lymington: Private Publ. 2nd edn (London 1892). Khalidi, M.A. (2006) ‘Orientalism in the interpretation of Islamic philosophy’. Radical Philosophy, No. 135 (January/Februaray), pp. 25–33. Khan. S. (2009) Nuclear Weapons and Conflict Transformation: The Case of India and Japan. London: Routledge. Kipling, J.L. (1874–94) Reports on the Mayo School of Art. 1876: Report on the

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

275

Punjab Court of the Calcutta International Exhibition. Calcutta: Dept of Public Instruction (REPD), repr. in Tarar 2003. Kipling, J.L. (1876) Lahore as it Was. Lahore: National College of Art. Koch, E. (1991) Mughal Architecture. Munich: Prestel. ——(1997) ‘The hierarchical principles of Shah Jahani painting’. In Beach, M.C. and Koch, E. (eds.), The Padshahnama. London: Azimuth. Kopf, D. (1969) British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773–1835. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Kopytoff, I. (1986) ‘The cultural biography of things: commoditization as process’. In Appadurai, A. (ed.), The Social Life of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 64–95. Kramrisch, S. (1946/1976) The Hindu Temple. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Krauss, R. (1977) Passages in Modern Sculpture. New York: Viking. —— (1986) The Originality of the Avant Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Kristeva, J. (1995) Of Word and Flesh. Interview with Charles Penwarden. Catalogue. Rites of Passage Exhibition Tate Britain. Kuspit, D. (1993) The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lacan, J. (1966) Ecrits. London: Routledge. —— (1973) The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. London: Hogarth Press and The Institute of Psychoanalysis. Laclau, E. (1990) The Impossibility of Society. London: Verso. —— (1990a) New Reflections of the Revolution of Our Time. London: Verso. —— (1990b) ‘Totalitarianism and moral indignation’. Diacritics, Vol. 20, No. 3 (spring), pp. 88–95. —— (1994) ‘Introduction’. In Laclau, E. (ed.), The Making of Political Identities. London: Verso. —— and Mouffe, C. (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso. Leach, J.W. and E.Leach, eds (1983) The kula: New perspectives on Massim exchange. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press. Leaman, O. (1996) ‘Orientalism and Islamic philosophy’. In Nasr, S.H. and Leaman, O. (eds.), History of Islamic Philosophy. London: Routledge. Lebow, R.N. (1984) Between Peace and War. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Leitner, G.W. (1882/1991) History of Indigenous Education in the Punjab since Annexation and in 1882. Lahore: Republican Books. Levi-Strauss, C. (1962). La Pensee Sauvage. Paris: Librairie Plon (English Transl. The Savage Mind (1966) London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson. Loomba, A. (1998) Colonialism/Post-colonialism. London: Routledge. Losty, J.P. (1982) The Art of the Book in India. London: British Library Publications. Lukacs, G. (1956/1963) ‘The ideology of modernism’. In Lukacs, G. (ed.), The Meaning of Contemporary Realism. London: Merlin.

276

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

MacCannell, D. (1976) The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class. New York: Schocken. Macaulay, T.B. (1935) Speeches with the Minute on Indian Education. Ed. G.M. Young. London: Oxford University Press. MacDougall, D. (2006) The Corporeal Image. (Film, Ethnography and the Senses). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Mahadevan, T.K. (1977) Dvija. New Delhi: Affiliated East & West Press. Maharaj, S. (1994) ‘Perfidious fidelity: the untranslatability of the Other’. In Fisher, J. (ed.), Global Visions. London: Iniva/Kala Press. pp. 28–37. —— (2001) Modernity and Difference: A Conversation between Stuart Hall and Sarat Maharaj. London: Iniva/Kala Press. Manto, S.H. (1954) Letters to Uncle Sam. Trans. Khalid Hasan.Islamabad: Alhamra. Maquet, J. (1971) Introduction to Aesthetic Anthropology. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. —— (1986) The Aesthetic Experience. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Marcus, G.E. and Myers, F.R. (eds.) (1995) The Traffic in Culture: Refiguring Art and Anthropology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. McClean, I. (2004) ‘On the edge of change? Art, globalisation and cultural difference.’ Third Text No. 68, Vol. 18, Issue 3. pp. 293–304. McEvilley, T. (1992) Art and Otherness. Crisis in Cultural Identity. New York: Documentext. Mcpherson &Company. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964) L’Oeil et l’Esprit. Trans. D.Dalley, ed. J.M. Eddie. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. —— (1964/1968) The Visible and the Invisible. Trans. A. Lingis. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. Mernissi, F. (1992) Women and Islam: A Historical and Theological Enquiry. Oxford: Blackwell. —— (1994) Hidden from History: Forgotten Queens of Islam. Lahore:ASR. Mern Tat Sam, S. (2004) ‘The dictatorship of the viewer: some thoughts on the 50th Venice Biennale. Third Text, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp 102–4. Metcalf, T.R. (1989) An Imperial Vision. Berkeley. CA: University of California Press. Metcalf, T.R. (1990) ‘Architecture and the Representation of Empire: India, 1860–1910’ In Metcalf, T.R. (ed), Modern India: An Interpretive Anthology New Delhi. —— (1994) Ideologies of the Raj. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Miller, D. (1987) Material Culture and Mass Consumption. Oxford: Blackwell. —— (1991) ‘The necessity of primitivism in modern art’. In Hiller, S. (ed.), The Myth of Primitivism. London: Routledge. Minault, G. (1994) View from the Zenana’. In Kumar, N. (ed.), Women as Subjects. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. —— 1998 Secluded Scholars. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Mirza, Q. (1999a) Review of Pakistani art. Art Asia Pacific, Vol. 24. pp. 79–85. —— (1999b) Review. News On Sunday, Lahore, October 24. —— (2001). Review. Miniature Patterns. News on Sunday. Lahore. Nov. 25. —— (2002) Review. Flash Art, Vol. 34, No. 225, pp. 33–35

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

277

Mitter, P. (1977) Much Maligned Monsters: European Reactions to Indian Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ——(1994) Art and Nationalism in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mohsin, H. (2000) Moth Smoke. Cambridge: Granta. —— (2007) The Reluctant Fundamentalist. London: Hamish Hamilton. Monbiot, G. (2000) Captive State: The Corporate Take-over of Britain. London: Macmillan. Morphy, H. (1995) ‘Aboriginal art in the global context’. In Miller, D. (ed.), Worlds Apart: Modernity through the Prism of the Local. London: Routledge. —— (1996) ‘Aesthetics is a cross-cultural category: for the motion’. In Ingold, T. (ed.), Key Debates in Anthropology. London: Routledge. Mosquera, G. (1994) ‘Some problems in transcultural curating’. In Fisher, J. (ed.), Global Visions. London: Iniva/Kala Press. ——(2003) ‘Notes on globalisation and cultural difference’. In N. Papastergiadis, N. (ed.), Complex Entanglements. London: River Oram. Mouffe, C. (1993) The Return of the Political. London: Verso. —— (2000) The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso. —— (2005) On the Political. London: Routledge. Moulin, R. (1967/1987) The French Art Market: A Sociological View. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Mulvey, L. (1989) Visual and Other Pleasures. London: Macmillan. Mumtaz, K.K. (1999) Modernity and Tradition: Contemporary Architecture in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Mukherjee, B.N. (1983) Chitra Katha. Calcutta: Redbird Books. Mukherjee, S.N. (1968) Sir William Jones: A Study in 18th Century British Attitudes to India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mumtaz, K. and Shaheed F. (1987) Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. Lahore: Vanguard. Myers, F.R. (1994b) ‘Culture making: performing Aboriginality at the Asia Society Gallery’. American Ethnologist, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 679–99. —— (1995) ‘Representing culture: the production of discourse(s) for Aboriginal acrylic paintings’. In Marcus, G.E. and Myers, F.R. (eds.), The Traffic in Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 55–95. Nagy, P. (2004) ‘South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC). Bose Pacia Gallery. Art Asia Pacific, Vol. 40, pp. 90–91. —— and Sinha, G. (2003) Broken Branches. Catalogue for Atul Dodiya. New York: Bose Pacia Gallery. Nandy, A. (1983) The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Nasar, H. (2003) Letter. The Herald, Vol. 33, No. 12, Karachi. ——(2004) The Miniature Make-Over The Herald, April. pp. 135–137 Karachi. —— (2004) Same Planet Different Worlds. The Herald. pp. 94–99. Karachi. —— (2005) ‘Disturbing the order of things’. In Dawood, Anita (ed.), Acts of Compliance. London: Green Cardamom. —— and Sloan, A. (2005) ‘Postcards to the Empire: the politics of resistance

278

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

in the Karkhana Project’. In Nasar, H. (ed.), Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration. London: Green Cardamom. pp. 34–41. ——(2009) Lines of Control. London: Green Cardamom Dubai: The Third Line. pp2–8. —— (2009) Pakistan: An Art of Extremes. Karachi. Naqvi, A. (198) Image and Identity. Contemporary Art in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press. —— (2002) Review of Imran Qureshi. The Herald, Vol. 33, No. 12, Karachi. Nivedita, Sister (Margaret Noble) (1910) Review of the Exhibition of the Indian Society of Oriental Art. Modern Review, April, Calcutta. —— (1967) Complete Works. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama. Nochlin, L. (1991) Women, Art and Power, and Other Essays. London: Thames & Hudson. —— (1999) Representing Women. New York: Thames & Hudson. O’Doherty, B. (1986) Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space. San Francisco, CA: Lapis Press. Okada, A. (1992) Indian Miniatures of the Mughal Court. Tours: Abrams, Flammarion. Ortner, S. (1991) ‘Reading America: primary notes on class culture’. In Fox, R. (ed.), Recapturing Anthropology. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research. Owens, C. (1983) ‘The discourse of others: feminists and post-modernism’. In Foster, H. (ed.), The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Post-Modern Culture. Washington: Bay Press. Pal, P. (ed.) (1991) Master Artists of the Imperial Mughal Court. Bombay: Marg. Pamuk, O. (2002) My Name is Red. London: Faber & Faber. Pandey, G. (1990) The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Patel, D. (2005) ‘Different spaces,different times’. In Dawood-Nasar, A. (ed./ eds.) Acts of Compliance. London:Green Cardamom. Panofsky, E. (1939/1991) Perspectives as a Symbolic Form. New York: Zone Books. Papastergiadis, N. (2003) Complex Entanglements: Art, Globalisation and Cultural Difference. London: River Oram. Parker, R. and Pollock, G. (1981) Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology. London: Routledge Kegan & Paul. Parry, B. (2004) Post-Colonial Studies: A Materialist Critique. London: Routledge. Paul, T.V. (ed.) (2005) The India-Pakistan Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Paz, O. (1970) Marcel Duchamp or The Castle of Purity. London: Cape. Pearce, S. (1995) On Collecting. London: Routledge. Perry, W. and Paynter, R. (1999) ‘Artefacts, ethnicity and the archaeology of African Americans’. In Singleton, T.A. (ed.), I Too, Am America: Archaeological Studies of African American Life. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. Phelan, P. (1993) Unmarked: The Politics of Performance. London: Routledge.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

279

Phillips, D. (1997) Exhibiting Authenticity. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Phillips, R. and Steiner, C. (1999) Unpacking Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Pinault, D. (1992) The Shi’ites. London: I.B.Tauris. Pinney, C. (1997) Camera Indica: The Social Life of Indian Photographers. London: Reaktion Books. ——(1999) ‘Indian magical realism: notes on popular visual culture’. In Bhadra, G., Prakash, G.andTharu, S. (eds.), Writings on South Asian History and Society. Vol. X, Subaltern Studies. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ——(2001a) ‘Introduction: public, popular and other cultures’. In Dwyer, R. and Pinney, C. (eds.), Pleasure and Nation: The History, Politics and Consumption of Public Culture in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ——(2001b) ‘Piercing the skin of the idol’. In Pinney, C. and Thomas, N. (eds.), Beyond Aesthetics: Art and the Technologies of Enchantment. Oxfordand New York: Berg. Pollock, G. (ed.), (1996) Generations and Geographies in the Visual Arts: Feminist Readings. London: Routledge. —— (1999) Differencing the Canon: Feminist Desire and the Writings of Art’s Histories. London: Routledge. Pratt, M.L. (1987) ‘Linguistic utopias’. In Fabb, N., Attridge, D., Durant, A. and McCabe, C. (eds.), The Linguistics of Writing. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Price, S. (1989) Primitive Art in Civilized Places. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Prinsep, V.C. (1879) Imperial India: An Artists’s Journal. London: Chapman and Hall. Qadeer, M.A. (1983) Lahore: Urban Development in the Third World. Lahore: Vanguard Books. Rahman, T. (1996) ‘Language and politics in Pakistan’. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Ramirez, M.C. (1996) ‘Brokering identities: curators and the politics of cultural representation’. In Greenberg, R., Ferguson, B.W. and Nairne, S. (eds.), Thinking About Exhibitions. London: Routledge. Ranciere, J. (2000) The Politics of Aesthetics. London: Continuum. Raphael, M. (1933/1980) Proudhon, Marx, Picasso: Etudes sur la sociologie de l’art. Paris: Edition Excelsior. Rashid, A. (2000) Taliban, Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia. London: I.B.Tauris. Reddy, W.M. (1986) ‘The structure of a cultural crisis: thinking about cloth in France before and after the Revolution’. Appadurai, A. (ed.) The Social Life of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rees, A.L. and Borzello, F. (eds.) (1986) The New Art History. London: Camden Press.

280

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Richards, J.F. (1995) The Mughal Empire Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Richter, H. (1965) Dada, Art and Anti-Art. New York. McGraw Hill. Ricoeur, P. (1981) Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rizvi, S.A. (1975) Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar’s Reign. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. Roberts, J. (1990) Postmodernism, Politics and Art. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Roberts, J. (ed.) (1994) Art Has No History: The Making and Unmaking of Modern Art. London: Verso. Rodowick, D.N. (1997) Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Rogers, J.M. (1993) Mughal Miniatures. London: British Museum Press. Rushdie, S. (1983) Shame. London: Cape. Said, E. (1978) Orientalism. London: Routledge. —— (1993) Culture and Imperialism. London: Chatto & Windus. Saigol, R. (1995) Knowledge and Identity: Articulation of Gender in Educational Discourse in Pakistan. Lahore: ASR. Sangari, K. and Sudesh, V. (eds.) (1989) Re-Casting Women: Essays in Colonial History. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Sanwar, A. (2001) Review of contemporary Pakistani art. Dawn, 8 December, Karachi. Sardar, Z. (1998) Postmodernism and the Other. London: Pluto. Sarkar, S. (1973) The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal, 1905–8. New Delhi: MacMillan. Sarkar, T. (1987) ‘Nationalist iconography:images of women in 19th century Bengali literature’. Economic & Political Weekly, 21 November, Calcutta. Sassen, S. (1998) Globalisation and Its Discontents. New York: New Press. —— (2004) ‘A global city’. In Madigan, C. (ed.), Global Chicago. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. de Saussure, F. (1915/1974) Course in General Linguistics. London: Fontana. Schapiro, D. (1973) Social Realism: Art as a Weapon. Critical Studies in American Art. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Schechner, R. (1985) Between Theatre and Anthropology. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. —— (2002) Performance Studies. London: Routledge. Schimmel, A.-M. (1975) Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Schneider, A. (1996) ‘Uneasy relationships: contemporary artists and anthropologists’. Journal of Material Culture, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 183–210. Searle, A. (2006) Review of Tropicalia Exhibition. Barbican. The Guardian, March, London. Severi, C. (1993) ‘Mémoire de la tradition’. In Becquelin, M.J.R. and Molinie, G. (eds.), Mémoire de la Tradition. Nanterre: Société d’Ethnographie.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

281

Seyller, J. (1994) ‘Recycled images: overpainting in early Mughal art’. In Canby, S. (ed.), Humayun’s Garden Party: Princes of the House of Timur and Early Mughal Painting. Bombay: Marg. —— (1999) Workshop and Patron in Mughal India. Zurich: Artibus Asiae. —— (2002) The Adventures of Hamza. Washington, DC:Smithsonian Institution and London: Azimuth. ——(2005) ‘Painting Workshops in Mughal India’. In Nasar, H. (ed.), Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration. London: Green Cardamom. Shaheed, F. (ed.) (1992) The Women of Pakistan: A Selected Bibliography with Annotations. Lahore: Shirkat Gad. Shahid-ur-Rehman (1999) ‘Who owns Pakistan?’ In Ali, T. et al (ed./eds.), On the Abyss: Pakistan. New Delhi: Harper Collins. Shamsie, K. (2002) Kartography. London: Bloomsbury. —— (2005) Broken Verses. London:Bloomsbury. Sheikh, G. (1997) ‘The making of a visual language: thoughts on Mughal painting. Journal of Arts and Ideas, Nos. 30–1 (December), New Delhi. Sheikh, N. (2001) Interview with Vishakha N, Desai in Conversations with Traditions. Catalogue. New York: Asia Society. Sher, A. and Rukh, L. (1996) Re-Inventing Women. Lahore: Simorgh. Shils, E. (1981) Tradition. London: Faber & Faber. Sidhwa, B. (1980) The Crow Eaters. New Delhi: Penguin. Sikander, S. 2001. Interview with Vishakha N. Desai in Conversations with Traditions. Catalogue. New York: Asia Society. —— (2001) Miniaturizing Modernity. Interview with H. Bhabha. Public Culture, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 146–150. Sinha, G. (ed.) (1997) Expressions and Evocations: Contemporary Women Artists of India. Bombay: Marg. —— (ed.) (2003) Indian Art: An Overview. New Delhi: Rupa. Sirhandi, M. (1992) Contemporary Art in Pakstan. Lahore: Ferozsons. Skelton, R. (1961/1976) Indian Miniatures from the 15th to the 19th Century. Catalogue.Venice: Nevi Pozza Editore —— (1976) ‘Indian painting of the Mughal period’. In Robinson, B.N. (ed.) Islamic Painting and the Arts of the Book. London: The Keir Collection. —— Topsfield, A. Stronge, S., Crill, R. and Parlett, B. (eds.) (1986) Facets of Indian Art: A Symposium. London: V&A. Sloan, A. 2004. ‘A divine comedy of errors: political paintings by Saira Wasim‘ In Dawood Nasar, A. and Nasar, H (ed./eds.) Transcendent Contemplations. London: Green Cardamom. —— (2006) ‘Embodied space: miniature as attitude’. In Dawood Nasar A andNasar, H. (eds.), Beyond the Page: Contemporary Art from Pakistan. London and Manchester: Green Cardamom. Smith, A.M. (1998) Laclau and Mouffe: The Radical Democratic Imaginary. London: Routledge. Smith, V. (1911) A History of Fine Art in India and Ceylon. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Spivak, G. (1990) The Post-colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. New York: Routledge.

282

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

Spooner, B. (1986) ‘Weavers and dealers: the authenticity of an Oriental carpet’. In Appadurai, A. (ed.), The Social Life of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stallabrass, J. (1999) High Art Lite. London: Verso. Staten, H. (1985) Wittgenstein and Derrida. Oxford: Blackwell. Stedman-Jones, S. (2001) Durkheim Reconsidered. Cambridge: Polity. Steiner, C.B. (1999) ‘Authenticity, repetition and seriality’. In Phillips, R. and Steiner, C. (eds.), Unpacking Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Stewart, S. (1993) On Longing. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press. Stiglitz, J. (2002) Globalisation and its Discontents. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Stiglitz, J. (2006) Making Globalisation Work: The Next Steps to Global Justice. London: Allen Lane. Stoller, P. (1989) The Taste of Ethnographic Things: The Senses In Anthropology. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Sturtevant, M.C. (1986) The Meaning of North American Art. New York: Hudson Hills. Subramanyan, K.G. (1987) The Living Tradition: Perspective on Modern Indian Art. Calcutta: Seagull. —— (1992) The Creative Circuit. Calcutta : Seagull. Suleri, S. (1989) Meatless Days. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Sullivan. N. (1995) ‘Inside Trading’. In Marcus, G.E. and Myers, F.R. (eds.), The Traffic in Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Sundar, P. (1995) Patrons and Philistines: Arts and the State in British India, 1773–1947. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Syed, M. 2002. Contemporary Art in Pakistan. (unpublished thesis. NCA Lahore). Swallow, D. (1982) ‘Production and control in the Indian garment export industry’. In Goody, J. (ed.), From Craft to Industry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tagore, A. (1944) Joranskor Dhare. Calcutta: (Visva Bharati). Talbot, I. (1999) Pakistan: A Modern History. Lahore : Vanguard. Tarapor, M.K. (1980) ‘J.L. Kipling and British art education in India’. In Victorian Studies,Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 59–68. —— (1984) ‘Art and education in imperial India: the Indian school of art’. In Ballhatchet, K. (ed.), Changing South Asia. London: SOAS Publications. Tarar, N.O. (2003) ‘Historical introduction’. In Choonara, S. (ed./eds.) Official Chronicle of the Mayo School of Art: Formative Years under J.L. Kipling (1874–94). Lahore: NCA Publications. —— (2008) ‘Aesthetic modernism in the post-colony: the making of a National College of Art’. International Journal of Art & Design Education. Vol. 27, No. 3. Tarlo, E. (1996) Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India. London: Hurst. Taussig, M. (1993) Mimesis and Alterity. London and New York: Routledge. Temple, R. (1883) Oriental Experience. London: John Murray.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

283

Thomas, N. (1994) Colonialism’s Culture. Cambridge: Polity. —— (1999) Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture. London: Thames & Hudson. —— (1999) ‘Becoming undisciplined:anthropology and cultural studies’. In Moore, H. (ed.), Anthropology and Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity. Tickner, L. (2000) Modern Life and Modern Subjects. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Titley, N. (1977) Miniatures from Persian Manuscripts. London: British Museum Library Board. Topsfield, A. (1994) Indian Paintings from Oxford Collections. Oxford: Ashmoleum Museum. Topsfield, A. and Beach, M.C. (1991) Indian Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Howard Hodgkin. New York and London: Thames and Hudson. Trinh, T. Minh-Ha (1991) When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender and Cultural Politics. New York and London: Routledge. Turner, V. (1969) The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago, IL: Aldine. —— (1986) The Anthropology of Performance. New York: Paj. Tzara, T. (1918/1951). ‘Dada manifesto 1918’. In Motherwell, R. (ed.), The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology. New York; Wittenborn Schulz. Urry, J. (1990/2002) The Tourist Gaze. London: Sage. Vandal, S. (1995) ‘Preface’. In Ahmed, K.A. (ed.), Intercultural Encounters in Mughal Miniatures. Lahore: NCA Press. Van der Veer, P. (1994) Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. —— (2001) Imperial Encounters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Verhaaik, O. (2004) Migrants and Militants: Fun and Urban Violence in Pakistan. Princeton. NJ: Princeton University Press. Vasari, G. (1568/1906). Life of Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Painter of Siena. Trans. D. Norman, ed. Gaetano Milanesi. Florence. In Vasari, G. (1998) The Lives of Artists Oxford: Oxford University Press. Viswanathan, G. (1989) Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India. New York: Columbia University Press. Watson, J.F. (1866) The Textile Manufacturers and the Costumes of the People of India. London: Eyre & Spotiswoode. Weil. E. (1971) Tradition et Traditionalisme. Paris: Plon. Weiss, A.M. (2002) Walls Within Walls: Life Histories of Working Women in the Old City of Lahore. Karachi: Oxford University Press. —— and Zulfiqar Gilani, S. (eds.) (2001) Power and Civil Society in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Welch, S.C. et al (eds.) (1987) The Emperor’s Album: Images of Mughal India. New York: Harry N. Abrams. Werbner, P. (1997) ‘Essentialising essentialism, essentialising silence:

284

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN

ambivalence and multiplicity in the construction of racism and ethnicity’. In Werbner, P. and Modood, T. (eds.), Debating Cultural Hybridity. London and New Jersey, NJ: Zed Books. Werbner, P. and Basu, H. (eds.) (1998) Embodying Charisma: Modernity, Locality and Performance of Emotion in Sufi Cults. London: Routledge. Whiles, V. (2000a) Review of Partage d’Exotismes, Lyons Biennale. Art Monthly, October 2001. —— (2000b) Art and Anthropology: A Curious Relationship. In E@TM, SOAS. —— (2000c) ‘In and Out of Pakistan’. Third Text, Vol. 52. pp.103–110. —— (2001a) Returning the Gaze: Lahori Artists and Their British Art Education. Lahore: British Council and NCA. —— (2001b) Manoeuvering Miniatures. New Delhi: Khoj International Artists Association. —— (2002a) Imran Qureshi. Art Asia Pacific, No. 33, pp. 54–62. —— (2002b) ‘Aisha Khalid’. Contemporary, Issue 50. pp. 22–23. —— (2003a) Miniatures Pakistanaises. Fresnes: MACC. —— (2003b) Contemporary Miniatures: India and Pakistan. Berlin: Fine Art Resource. —— (2004) Contemporary Miniature Painting from Pakistan. Fukuoka: Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. ——(2005a) ‘Karkhana: revival or re-invention?’ In Nasar, H. (ed.), Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration. London: Green Cardamom. pp. 26–33. —— (2005b) Miniatures Contemporaines du Pakistan. Villefranche de Rouergue:Ville de Rouergue. —— (2006a) ‘Hamra Abbas’. Contemporary, Annual (January) —— (2006b) ‘Deconstructing the miniature’. In Dawood, A. and Nasar, H. (eds.), Beyond the Page. London: Green Cardamom. ——(2007) ‘History and technique of miniature painting’ and ‘Aisha’s Books’ In Naqvi, A. (ed.) Portraits and Vortexes. Hong Kong: Gandhara-art. pp.12–18 and 56–67. —— (2007) Arts et Ethnographie. In Art et Ethnographie Glicenstein, J (ed.) Marges. Revue du dept. Arts Plastiques de l’Universite Paris 8. pp. 50–58. —— (2008) Transmettre/Transmit. A cross-border collaboration between DAD and Espace 36. —— (2009) Trick or Treat? Essay on the paintings of Faiza Butt. New Delhi: Vadehra Art Gallery. —— (2009) Isbah Afzal. Miniatures Contemporaines du Pakistan. Paris: Alexis Renard. Wilkinson, J.V.S. (1948) Mughal Painting. London: Faber. Willett, J. (1960) The Theatre of Bertold Brecht. New York: New Directions. Williams, R. (1961/1989) The Long Revolution. London: Verso. ——(1961/1989) Resources of Hope. London: Verso. Winegar, J. (2006) Creative Reckonings: The Politics of Art and Culture in Contemporary Egypt. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Wolff, J. (1981) The Social Production of Art. London: Macmillan. —— (1990) Feminine Sentences: Essays on Women and Culture. Cambridge: Polity.

INTRODUCTIONB:IBLIOGRAPHY MINIATURE MANOEUVRES

285

—— (1995) Resident Alien: Feminist Cultural Criticism. Cambridge: Polity. Wolpert, S. (1984) Jinnah of Pakistan. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Worsley, P. (1990) ‘Models of the modern world system’. In Featherstone, M. (ed.), Global Culture, Nationalism and Modernity. London: Sage. Wu, ChinTao (2002) Privatising Culture: Corporate Art Interventions since the 1980s. London: Verso. Yanagi, S. (1972) The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Young, R. (1995) Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race. New York: Routledge. Zafar, F. (ed.) (1991) Finding Our Way: Reading on Women in Pakistan. Lahore: ASR. Zartmann, I.W. and Rubin, J.Z. (eds.) (2000) Power and Negotiations. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. Ziring, L. (2003) Pakistan: At the Crosscurrent of History. Oxford: Oneworld. Zizek, S. (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso. —— (1994) (ed) Mapping Ideology. London and New York: Verso. —— (1999) The Ticklish Subject. London: Verso. ——(1997) ‘Multiculturalism, or the cultural logic of multinational capitalism. New Left Review, 1/225.

286

ART AND POLEMIC IN PAKISTAN



Introduction: Miniature Manoeuvres

287

Index

Abbas, Hamra, 48, 63, 71, 73, 130–133, 209, 220, 244 n.17 Abu’l, Fazl, 144, 148, 176, 237 Adorno, Theodor, 154,160–1, 256 n.35 aesthetics, 2, 5, 13, 60, 89, 107, 108, 112, 135–64, 173, 177–8, 202, 205–6, 223, 230, 232, 235, 239, 253 n.1, 254 n.5 Afzal, Isbah, 79 Ahmed, Bashir, 5, 13, 58, 61, 68, 81, 85, 104 Ahmed, Waseem, 48, 162 Akbar, Emperor, 14, 28, 105, 107–8, 144, 146, 148, 176 Akhlaq, Zahoor-ul, 17, 47, 53–60, 67–8, 72, 76, 85, 92, 189, 247 n.11, 247 n.15 Ali, Khadim, 32, 48, 126–30, 253 n.44 Ali, Mir Sayyid, 144 Ali, Nusrat, 67, 68, 83, 98 Ali, Shakir, 18, 54, 255 n.21, 256 n.33 Ali, Tariq, xxxiii America, American, 21, 25, 41, 72–3, 111, 138–9, 144, 164, 204, 206, 210, 215, 219, 221, 231, 244 n.25

Anarkali, 17, 24, 29, 37, 81, 131 anthropology, 2, 3, 20, 119, 124, 136–7, 203–4, 208, 242 n.2, 259 n.2 Appadurai, Arjun, 1, 5, 6, 14, 117–8, 150, 175–6, 195, 201, 207, 220, 233–4, 245 n.29, 256 n.37 Araeen, Rashid, 18, 114, 139, 152, 215, 219, 227, 254 n.8, 262 n.11 Army, 19, 22, 24, 91, 127, 231 art biennales 206, 217, 218, 260 n.29 art criticism, 7, 138, 140, 214–6, 223, 235 art education, 2, 5, 11, 62, 88, 90, 92, 100, 106, 108, 109–15, 127–8, 142, 147, 151, 156, 177, 183, 213, 222, 226, 242 n.9, 251 n.22, 252 n.26, 252 n.28, 252 n.30 art market, 46, 55, 124, 175–8, 181–2, 190–95, 201–10, 216–20, 233 art-world, 74, 85, 113, 116, 133, 139–41, 159, 175, 192, 194, 202–12, 216–17, 238 artefact, 6, 140, 190, 193, 201–210, 238

288

Art and Polemic in Pakistan

Ata-Ullah, Nazeesh, 20, 54, 55, 65, 58, 60, 246 n.3, 257 n.2, 260 n.26, 262 n.11 audience, 9, 86–7, 124, 157, 159, 212, 217, 222–3, 227, 254 n.15 authenticity, 13, 14, 17, 104–5, 123, 148, 193, 195, 201, 227 avant-garde, 72, 137, 138, 150, 192, 223, 239 Bagh-e-Babur, 42, 246, n.49 Bakhtin, Mikhail, 79, 97, 222, 239 Bamiyan, 32, 128, 129, 130, 257 n.8 Barthes, Roland, 154, 195 Basohli, 42, 162 Bauhaus, 5, 54, 118, 151, 255 n.20 beauty, 71, 77, 136–8, 159–60, 163, 253 n.1 Becker, Howard, 202, 242 n.10 Benjamin, Walter, 104, 154, 157, 205, 256 n.35, 262 n.18 Bengal, 67, 100, 103, 109, 110, 122, 142, 155, 188, 251 n.18, 257 n.3 Bennett Jones, Owen, 22 Bhabha, Homi, 59, 61, 208, 219, 227, 238, 256 n.37, 260 n.15 Bangra rap, 50, 52, 118, 208 Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali, 16, 18, 21, 54, 55, 93, 102 Bin Laden, Osama, 24, 78, 144, 244 n.20, 260 n.23 Birdwood, Sir George, 100, 106, 108, 251 n.14 Bollywood, 74, 77, 158, 162, 163 Bombay Progressives, 255 n.21 Bose, Sugata, 9, 11, 100 Bourdieu, Pierre, 5, 87, 120, 125, 136, 138, 143, 163, 175, 192, 222–3, 228–30, 236, 251 n.13, 254 n.5, 258 n.17 Boyer, Pascal, 119–21, 155, 253 n.38

Brecht, Bertold, 38, 47, 236, 239 British East India Company, 67, 177, 181, 257 n.9 Brown, Percy, 110, 181, 251 n.21–22 Buchloh, Benjamin, 100,221 Bundgaard, Helle, 191, 202, 259 n.12 burqa, 43, 44, 77, 160, 162 Butler, Judith, 5, 231, 240, 246 n.46 calligraphy, 16, 52, 54, 79, 82, 94, 107, 111, 112, 113, 124, 129, 133, 138, 144, 180, 244 n.13 cartography, 39, 40, 41, 215 censorship, 16, 19, 83, 162, 163, 213 chadi wari, 44, 89 Chughtai, A.R, 101, 103, 104, 221, 247 n.17, 257 n.6 Chishty, Mahwish, 48, 78 cinema, 24, 34, 96, 158, 162, 256 n.40 Clark, John, 217 Clarke, David, 218 class difference, 15, 18–20, 25, 27, 52, 87–9, 93, 115, 117–8, 157, 167, 175, 215, 227, 236 colonial education, 5, 11, 15, 16, 58, 62, 90, 92, 100, 106, 108, 115, 125, 142, 147, 151, 156, 167, 177, 226, 242 n.7 collaboration 102, 148–50, 177, 222, 229, 235, 246 n.4 collective, 9, 20, 55, 102, 151, 156, 164, 202, 221, 222, 238, 245 n.39, 260 n.24 commodification, 193, 217, 256 n.35 communism, 25, 111, 165, 250 n.4 ‘constitutive outside’, 23, 90, 122, 232 Coomaraswamy, Ananda, 106, 107, 250 n.9



Introduction: MIndex iniature Manoeuvres

corruption, 2, 75, 90, 97, 98, 231 cosmopolitanism, 6, 28, 76, 101, 141, 143, 203, 260 n.21 craftmanship, 204–5, 251 n.21–22 Arts and Crafts policy, 100–1, 106–7, 111, 178 Craft Museum, Delhi, 104, 114, 186, 250 n.6 cricket, 28, 36, 97, 117–8, 245 n.29 company painting, 91, 149, 155, 257 n.9–10 connoisseurship, 135, 191, 193 consumerism, 15, 27, 165, 175 culture cultural capital, 5, 6, 89, 116, 125, 137, 141, 177, 194–5, 203, 212, 217–8, 220, 221, 222, 237–8 cultural politics, 14, 18, 74, 89, 113, 137, 206, 208, 218, 221, 227, 234, 239, 260 n.17 curators, 74, 81, 203, 206, 210, 217–20, 235, 248 n.23 curio, 2, 16, 56, 68, 158, 176, 179, 188–9, 192, 195 Dada, 56, 72, 76, 97, 130, 136, 149–50, 157, 164, 255 n.20 Danto, Arthur, 136, 138–40 Darmiyan, 44, 149, 160, 245 n.39 Debord, Guy, 79 Deleuze, Gilles, 158, 218, 238 Derrida, Jacques, 7, 122, 232 diaspora, 20, 27, 78, 115, 210, 213, 222 discursive positions, 108, 118, 122, 125, 162, 191–4, 201–2, 209, 215, 237, 239 distribution, 193, 209, 239, 262 n.18 Dokumenta, 206, 260 n.2 Doon School, 142–3

289

drawing, 39, 40, 42, 50, 60, 63, 70, 77–9, 91, 96, 130, 146–7, 159, 172, 182, 190, 197 Duchamp, Marcel, 78, 136, 140, 164, 202, 217, 253 n.1, 253 n.3, 256 n.33 Durrani, Ayesha, 20, 27, 48, 168–74, 227, 256 n.40 eclecticism, 92, 148, 161, 210, 227 elite, 15, 25, 109, 124, 164–5, 182, 191, 193, 244 n.27 emperors, 13, 28, 36, 39, 62, 74, 76, 95, 97, 106, 108, 144, 146, 148, 164, 177, 233 endangered species, 36, 86, 105, 243 n.3 ethnicity, 204–208, 218–19, 260 n.24 ethnography, 1, 3, 29, 63, 112, 142, 165, 178, 203, 206, 252 n.27, 259 n.2 exhibitions, 10, 105, 133, 152, 203–4, 214, 235, 259 n.6 Fabian, Johannes, 4, 5, 47, 62, 89, 141 Faiz, Ahmed Faiz, 10, 55, 101, 240, 241 n.1, 250 n.4 Farrukh, Nilofar, 215 feminism, 20, 45, 80, 98, 113, 139, 170, 244 n.16, 246 n.46, 256 n.32, 257 n.8, 259 n.1 feudalism, 2, 78, 82, 90, 146, 248 n.32 Fluxus, 150, 254 n.19 Foucault, Michel, 116, 123, 139, 202, 242 n.6 frame, framing, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 14, 38, 62, 120, 137, 149 Frazer, James, 154, 155 Fried, Michael, 156, 255 n.25

290

Art and Polemic in Pakistan

fundamentalism, 20, 39, 58, 93, 97–8, 111, 160, 163, 198, 245 n.37, 256 n.39 Gadamer, H.G, 152 galleries, 9, 20, 68, 192, 214, 219, 222, 260 n.25, n.28 Gazdarin, Aisha, 24 gaze, 44, 59, 77, 88, 131, 132, 153, 162, 231 Gell, Alfred, 5, 136, 140, 145, 154–5, 235, 253 n.3 gender issues, 2, 7, 20, 95, 169, 210, 225, 231, 234, 244 n.16 globalisation, 2, 7, 21, 25, 28, 69, 111, 162, 210–11, 217, 219, 233, 235–6, 242 n.3, 248 n.28 Goswamy, B.N., 17, 48, 76, 83, 186–8, 193, 247 n.7, 250 n.5, 252 n.26, 252 n.19 Gramsci, Antonio, 111, 119, 237, 239 Greenberg, Clement, 135, 138, 139, 148 Green Cardamom, xvi, 133, 244 n.17 Guha Thakurta, Tapati, 100, 106, 109, 250 n.3, 251 n.14, 251 n.17–9, 252 n.23, 252 n.26, 257 n.10 Habermas, Jürgen, 111, 202 Haeri, Shahla, 44, 80, 89, 171, 244 n.15, 248 n.32, 256 n.41 Hall, Stuart, 141, 228, 237, 249 n.41 handicraft, 107, 178 Hashmi, Salima, 18, 19, 20, 38, 43, 118, 151, 156, 163, 260 n.26, 262 n.10 Havell, E.B, 106, 108, 155, 251 n.16 hegemony, 27, 42, 90, 111, 117–9, 139, 202, 206, 221–3, 227, 237–9 heritage, 11, 14, 60, 89, 90, 101,

104, 112, 114, 124, 181, 189, 193, 196, 230, 232 hierarchy, 15, 52, 89, 102, 118, 172, 246 n.4 Hobsbawm, Eric, 100, 120 ‘honour killing’, 19, 96, 97, 160, 169, 256 n.40 Hudood Ordnance, 19, 170, Hussain, Abid Aisha, 30, 79 hybridity, 105, 113, 137, 138, 206, 208 iconography, 22, 42, 43, 131, 137, 154 ideologies, 11, 15, 16, 21, 73, 89, 100, 106, 110, 124, 125, 138, 158, 168, 192, 215, 226, 235, 237, 253 n.41, 258 n.17 immigration, 15, 40, 61, 115, 131, 141, 211, 213, 257 n.9, Indian, 5, 10–2, 20, 23 installation, 40, 42, 44, 46, 55, 79, 84, 131–3, 235, 249 n.39 Irigaray, Luce, 98, 246 n.46 irony, 3, 4, 34, 40, 45, 69, 95–6, 103, 114, 148–9, 162–3, 172, 213, 229–33, 262 n.17 Islamisation, 16, 21, 23, 83, 243 n.12 Jahangir, Emperor, 4, 20, 243 n.12 Jain, Jyotindra, 114, 186, 250 n.5–6, 252 n.26, 252 n.29, 252 n.31 Jaipur, 182–192, 195, 249 n.40, 254 n.17, 258 n.20 Jalal, Ayesha, 100, 226, 250 n.12, 253 n.40 Jamal, Ahsen, 27, 48, 165–8, 252 n.31 Jihad, 21, 95 Jihad for Love, 34 Jinnah, Mohammed Ali, 9, 10, 29, 81



Introduction: MIndex iniature Manoeuvres

Kalashnivov, 77, 163, 198 Kant, Immanuel, 138–9, 148 Kapur, Geeta, 105, 203, 205, 212, 217, 247 n.13, 249 n.38, 252 n.26, 256 n.34, 260 n.29 karkhana (workshop), 14, 48, 58, 72, 77, 137, 148–50, 163–4, 197, 212, 214, 247 n.7, 248 n.26 Kashmir, 23, 93, 145, 179 Khalid, Aisha, 20, 28, 43–6, 48, 78, 80, 149, 160, 170, 173, 184, 196–7, 242 n.11, 245 n.39, n.41, n.42, 246 n.48, 248 n.20, 261 n.32 Khan, Habiba, 48 Khan, Irfan Ullah Maryam, 48, Khan, Sarah Ali, 64, 244 n.14 Khan, Shakir Ali, 180–3 Khoj, 20, 42, 159, 167, 222, 241 n.3, 245 n.40, 248 n.22 Kim’s ‘Wonder House’ and Bookshop, 29, 31 kites, 34–6, 233, 245 n.30, n.38 Kipling, John Lockwood, 11, 12, 29, 100–1, 106, 110, 142, 156, 177, 251 n.20, n.22, 255 n.29, 257 n.2 Koch, Edna, 76, 145, 146, 177 Kopytoff, Igor, 175, 193, 242 n.10 Koran, 29, 81–3, 93, 129, 132, 167, 170–1 Laclau, Ernesto, 4, 228 Lahore Arts Circle, 255 n.21 Lahore Museum, 31, 47, 67, 92, 179, 189, 209, 220, 251 n.20, 257 n.2 language issues, 14, 15, 16, 93, 110, 115–7, 125, 167–8, 215, 218, 227, 232, 252 n.34, 253 n.39 visual language, 9, 21, 89, 91, 95,

291

97, 109, 132, 144, 146, 163, 170, 223, 232 Latif Qureshi, Nusra, 48, 72, 90–4, 102, 149–50, 162, 184, 210, 249 n.39 lines of control, 10, 241 n.3 MacDougall, David, 89, 142, 143, 254 n.7 madrassas, 21, 27, 97, 120, 133 Mangi, Rehana, 79 Mappings: exhibition, 241 n.2 Marcus, George, 204 margin(s), 7, 38, 40, 56, 62–3, 70, 135, 190, 241 n.5 Martin, Agnes, 79 Masood, 126 masquerade, 44, 78, 97, 98, 123, 158, 209, 231, 246 n.46, 249 n.42 material culture, 3, 6, 206, 242 n.2, 259 n.2 Mayo School of Art, 5, 11, 12, 13, 48, 53, 67, 100, 106–7, 110, 142, 183, 250 n.12 Mehmood, Hasnat, 48, 74, 149–50, 197–9 Military, 2, 15, 18, 19, 20–5, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44, 74, 91, 114, 150, 152, 164, 198, 239 mimesis, 152, 155, 182 mimicry, 38, 77, 98, 147, 155, 178, 227, 256 n.37 miniature painting exercises, 39, 41–2, 50, 62–3, 76–7, 81, 113–4, 152, 225, 227 practitioners, 34, 68, 71, 76, 80, 83, 87, 103, 136, 187–8, 225, 232, 248 n.26 revival, 13, 16, 18, 21, 61–2, 79, 84, 86, 92, 102, 123, 215, 246 n.4, 250 n.9

292

Art and Polemic in Pakistan

Mirza, Quddus, 36–7, 56, 79, 88, 216, 232–3, 260 n.26 missiles, 24, 29, 33, 39, 41–2, 68, 96–7, 150, 162, 244 n.18 Mitter, Partha, 100, 106, 109, 257 n.12 modernity, 1, 28, 73, 110, 122–3, 169, 173, 226, 242 n.3, 252 n.40 Mohamedi, Nasreen, 79 Mohajir, 15, 252 n.34 Morphy, Howard, 171 Morris, William, 106, 250 n.9 Mouffe, Chantal, 228 mujahideen, 21, 244 n.20 multicultural, 45, 139, 142, 203, 206, 217, 218, 235 Mumtaz, K.K, 110, 111, 252 n.24, 259 n.7 mussawir (image maker), 11, 105, 196 Myers, Fred, 3, 204, 242 n.10, 252 n.27, 257 n.1, 259 n.12 Nagy, Peter, 210, 260 n.22, 260 n.24 Nainsukh, 186 Naqvi, Akbar, 57, 214, 215 narrative, 3, 78, 81, 85, 91, 109, 129, 146, 153, 155, 202, 207, 221, 259 n.1 Nasar, Hammad, 72, 94, 163–4, 197, 213, 241 n.3, 260 n.26, 261 n.3 nationalism, 2, 13, 15–7, 19, 23–4, 34, 60, 81, 84, 100, 102, 105–6, 109–10, 118, 122–5, 142–3, 148, 151, 153, 158, 195, 197, 205, 208, 221, 226, 231, 243 n.5, 247 n.17, 251 n.18–9, 253 n.40, 261 n.5 National College of Art (NCA), 13, 54, 85, 104, 110, 226, 234, 262 n.11, 262 n.16

Nivedita, 109, 251 n.19 Nizami, 38, 113 nostalgia, 29, 39, 85, 102, 103, 205, 211 nuclear, 2, 21, 23–4, 39, 55, 74, 93 oil painting, 101, 103, 113, 257 n.10 Okada, Amina, 105 oleography, 182 oral transmission, 4, 17, 104, 121 orientalism, 48, 91, 100, 112, 122, 133, 140, 162, 178, 194, 206, 215, 219, 225, 242 n.5, 247 n.16, 250 n.3, 251 n.14–5, 251 n.18, 254 n.9, 256 n.36 Pahari painting, 64, 67, 106, 162, 181, 185, 188–9, 247 n.7 Pakistan-ness, 208 Pamuk, Orhan, 177, 205, 258 n.18 parody, 38, 56, 74, 77, 91, 96, 103, 113, 132, 144, 158, 160, 197, 230 Partition, 5, 9–10, 15–16, 18, 20, 22, 67, 79, 84, 92, 100, 103–4, 110, 167, 179, 191, 225, 241 n.3, 246 n.6 pastiche, 44, 75, 95, 158, 231, 232 Patel, Divia, 92 Pathan, 15, 91, 168–9, 171, 173 patriarchy, 2, 7, 17, 19, 32, 58, 78, 89, 101–4, 143, 186, 188, 211–2, 215, 225, 227, 240, 259 n.1 patronage, 11, 20, 67, 101–2, 106, 109, 114, 118, 124, 146, 148, 153, 176–7, 179, 181, 183, 185, 189–90, 219–21 pedagogy, 18, 54, 57, 102, 110, 115, 137, 161, 189, 242 n.9



Introduction: MIndex iniature Manoeuvres

performance, 4–7, 41, 47, 50, 52–5, 87–8, 98, 104, 119, 121–2, 125, 141, 149, 216, 232, 245 n.34, n.35, 255 n.26, 260 n.14 photography, 11, 91, 131, 150, 157, 178, 182, 194, 197, 224, 255 n.29, 257 n.5, 257 n.12 photo-realism, 96, 98, 150 Pinney, Christopher, 5, 147, 154–7, 257 n.4 politics, 1, 14, 16, 18, 47, 52, 74, 82, 93, 128, 132, 137, 178, 208, 218, 227, 234, 239, 240, 252 n.34, 230 n.18 pop art, 3, 56, 96, 113, 130, 157, 213–4 popular, 11, 17, 23–4, 28, 34, 36, 43, 55, 69, 77, 81, 85, 99, 116, 124–6, 130, 138, 146, 154, 158, 178, 182, 204–5, 214, 222–3, 229, 244 n.19, 249 n.1, 254 n.5, 257 n.8 post-colonialism, 5, 6, 18, 45, 47, 54, 58, 60, 62, 69, 87, 90, 108, 114–5, 130, 138–9, 150, 162, 167, 204–7, 223–6, 231, 235, 242 n.7, 260 n.14 postmodernism, 6, 28, 56, 85, 89, 114, 136–40, 159–61, 180, 202, 203–4, 214–5, 229–33, 247 n.14, 259 n.7, 261 n.5 Pratt, M.L., 117 preservation paradigm, 86, 103, 195, 204, 226 Price, Sally, 203, 242 n.10, 250 n.2, 257 n.1 primitivism, 114, 155, 204–6 propaganda, 76, 97, 105, 114, 132, 148, 155, 160, 162, 163–4, 208, 233 purdah, 2, 18, 20, 43, 44, 89, 168,

293

173, 183–4, 211, 245 n.32, 257 n.8 Qureshi, Imran, 4, 7, 25, 38–42, 44, 48, 57, 59, 63, 72, 74, 77, 79, 80, 84, 93, 128, 148–50, 151, 157, 162, 170, 197, 210, 212, 214–16, 226, 242 n.11, 245 n.33–4, 245 n.39, 245 n.41, 247 n.18, 248 n.20, 249 n.40, 261 n.30 qalam, 70, 78, 94, 146, 186–7, 262 n.17 Radcliffe Line, 10 Raina, Anil Kumar, 186–9, 243 n.9 Rajput, 17, 64, 91, 107, 109, 162, 177, 179 Rana, Rashid, 79, 113, 233, 248 n.29, 262 n.8–9 Rathore, Talha, 48, 78, 150, 248 n.20 ritual, 6, 34, 37, 41, 47, 58–9, 69, 73–4, 87–8, 119, 125, 142–3, 156–7, 206–7, 210, 225, 227, 240, 244 n.19, 253 n.38, 254 n.10–11, 255 n.26 Rogers, J.M, 14, 67 Rukh, Lala, 19, 249 n.34 Saeed, Reeta, 15, 78, 144 Santiniketan, 102, 110, 251 n.23 Saywell, Shelly, 96, 256 n.40 Severi, Carlos, 121 Seyller, John, 48, 50, 71, 102, 145–51, 161, 246 n.4, 250 n.5, 258 n.20 Sharma, Parvez, 34 Sheikh, Gulammohammed, 62, 76, 135, 137, 143–48, 161, 241 n.5, 252 n.26, 254 n.4, 262 n.10 Sheikh, Nilima, 103

294

Art and Polemic in Pakistan

Sikander, Shahzia, 55, 61, 64, 69, 79, 84, 86, 103, 424 n.11, 250 n.7 Singh, Kavita, 81, 190, 252 n.26 singularisation, 175, 193, 207 Siv Sen, 77, 260 n.23 Skelton, Robert, 68, 257 n.10 Sloan, Anna, 74, 75, 97, 163, 164, 253 n.45 Sood, Pooja, 20 Stewart, Susan, 7, 75, 155, 205 strategy, 1, 23, 87, 99, 105, 115– 6, 145–7, 155, 182, 190, 202, 204, 206, 208, 210, 229, 232, 235, 236, 237 subaltern, 5, 52, 91, 111, 116, 123, 132, 162, 190 Subramanyan, K.G, 103, 250 n.6 subversion, 7, 43, 53, 77, 79, 147, 208, 236–7, 239 Sufism, 14, 16, 81, 84, 98, 151, 156, 168, 198, 244, 255 n.26–7 surveillance, 32, 43, 48, 91, 132, 163, 168, 178, 198, 254 n.12 Taliban, 14, 19, 21, 32, 82, 97, 125, 127, 129–30, 158, 160 tactics, 65, 105, 108, 111, 160, 163, 207, 215 Taussig, Michael, 152, 154 textiles, 28, 36, 108, 137, 192, 258 n.21 theatre, 7, 16, 38, 95, 144–5, 156–7 theory, 41, 71, 98, 121–2, 160, 248 n.30 Thomas, Nicholas, 203, 259 n.2, 259 n.4, 259 n.9

tourism, 2, 29, 36–7, 55, 113, 158, 175, 179, 189, 192, 194–5, 206–7 transmission, 5, 17, 103–4, 119, 121, 150, 211 transnational, 28, 52, 161, 204, 217–8, 256 n.34 Urdu, 15, 16, 38–9, 41, 93, 113, 115–6, 118, 132, 227, 252 n.34 Van der Veer, Peter, 13, 225, 243 n.5 Verhaaik, Oskar, 158, 243 n.5 Walled City, 36–7, 81, 107, 112, 162, 180, 182–4, 244 n.28, 245 n.32, 245 n.38, 255 n.26, 258 n.13 Wasim, Saira, 19, 25, 32, 48, 72, 73–4, 75, 94–8, 150, 160, 230, 244 n.20, 248 n.20, 260 n.23 wasli, 11, 39, 50, 58, 63–4, 73, 76, 78–9, 132, 149, 157–64, 210 Winsor & Newton, 69, 248 n.27 Winegar, Jessica, 14, 242 n.3, 243 n.6, 252 n.27, 260 n.21 workshop, 175–99, 210–13, 222, 227, 241 n.3, 243 n.1, 246 n.48, 247 n.7, 248 n.22, 249 n.20, 254 n.17 Zamzamah (Kim’s Gun), 30 Zardari, Asif, 23 Zeeshan, Mohammad, 48, 77 Zia-ul-Haq, 16, 19, 21, 38 Zuberi, Mahreen, 48, 78

Plate 1. Beginning of an End, 2000 (22x13.7) by Mohammad Imran Qureshi

Plate 2. Homage to Hope Street IV, 2002 (20x15) by Mohammad Imran Qureshi

Plate 3. West is West, 2002, acrylic jars, gold leaf (27x10) by Mohammad Imran Qureshi

Plate 4. Game of Tenses, 2002 (26x34) by Mohammad Imran Qureshi

Plate 5. Reshape, 2005 (89x102), courtesy Corvi-Mora by Mohammad Imran Qureshi

Plate 6. Time Changes, 2008, site installation: Living Traditions, exhibition: Queen’s Palace, Bagh-e-Babur, Kabul by Mohammad Imran Qureshi

Plate 7. Silence with Pattern, 2000 (26.6x36.8), courtesy Corvi Mora by Aisha Khalid

Plate 8. Form and Pattern, 2000 (18.2x14.2) by Aisha Khalid

Plate 9. Covered/Uncovered 111, 2002 (50x70 and 14x19) by Aisha Khalid

Plate 10. Conversation, 2002, video installation (120 minutes) by Aisha Khalid

Plate 11. Kiss, 2008 (31.8x49.5) courtesy Corvi Mora by Aisha Khalid

Plate 12. Viewpoint, 2008, installation: Living Traditions, exhibition: Queen’s Palace, Bagh-e Babur, Kabul by Aisha Khalid

Plate 13. Drawing Upon Our Knowledge of Orientalism, 2001 (23.1x25.8) by Nusra Latif-Qureshi

Plate 14. Set On a Red Carpet, 2005, acrylic, gouache and paper on board (42x66) by Nusra Latif-Qureshi

Plate 15. States of Abstraction, 2003 (30x40) by Nusra Latif-Qureshi

Plate 16. Reasonable Acts of Compliance 111, 2005, gouache and liquid gold on wasli (20x28) by Nusra Latif-Qureshi

Plate 17. L.T. Mitcham/Hodson’s Horse Regiment. Lucknow 1858, Felice Beato, courtesy the Director, National Army Museum, London, reproduction in ‘Acts of Compliance’ catalogue, Green Cardamom, London 2005, by Nusra Latif-Qureshi

Plate 18. Tomorrow? (Pakistan), 2000 (32x26.4) by Saira Wasim

Plate 19. Hali Goli (Political Carousel), 2000 (25.5x33) by Saira Wasim

Plate 20. In the Name of Honour, 2004 (20x13) by Saira Wasim

Plate 21. Fundamentalists, 2000 (19.8x31.7) by Saira Wasim

Plate 22. Regime Change, 2004 (23x15), courtesy Green Cardamom by Saira Wasim

Plate 23. Battle, 2004 (24x16), courtesy Green Cardamom by Saira Wasim

Plate 24. Masood’s Resistance, 2003 (21.5x26.5) by Khadim Ali

Plate 25. Bamiyan Series 11, 2003 (28x34) by Khadim Ali

Plate 26. Bamiyan Series 1, 2003 (23x17.5) by Khadim Ali

Plate 27. Roz-e-niyayesh (‘day of worship’), 2003 (21.5x16) by Khadim Ali

Plate 28. Absent Kitchen II, 2007 (36.5x26), courtesy Green Cardamom by Khadim Ali

Plate 29. Rustam Series, 2007 (32x23), courtesy Green Cardamom by Khadim Ali

Plate 30. Painters, 2001 (46x68) by Hamra Abbas

Plate 31. First Lesson in a Foreign Country, 2003, installation: miniature portraits, clocks, radio and mixed media (250x350x40) by Hamra Abbas

Plate 32. Please Do Not Step, 2004, installation: miniatures, text and collage (4mx5m) by Hamra Abbas

Plate 33. Lesson in Love I, 2005, ceramic sculpture, life size by Hamra Abbas

Plate 34. Mughal Battle Scene Re-enacted, 2006, animation: lenticular prints (152x92x2) by Hamra Abbas

Plate 35. God Grows on Trees [detail], 2008, installation: 99 miniatures (3.5x3) C-print (Diasec) (90x102) by Hamra Abbas

Plate 36. Surrounded By, 2003, each portrait 6x6 by Ahsan Jamal

Plate 37. Beards, 2003, each portrait 6x6 by Ahsan Jamal

Plate 38–39. For Office Use Only, 2004, each portrait 23x19 by Ahsan Jamal

Plate 40–41. For Office Use Only, 2004, each portrait 23x19 by Ahsan Jamal

Plate 42. In the Name of Honour, 2004 (16x21) by Ayesha Durrani

Plate 43. Standing Apart I, 2003 (17x23.5) by Ayesha Durrani

Plate 44. Contemplation, 2004 (21x13) by Ayesha Durrani

Plate 45. Standing Apart II, 2007 (21x 16) by Ayesha Durrani

Plate 46. Standing Apart III, 2007 (20x21) by Ayesha Durrani

Plate 47. Bed of Roses, 2007 (16x21) by Ayesha Durrani

Plate 48. A Letter to All I, 2001 (22.1x29.6) by Hasnat Mehmood

Plate 49. A Letter to All VII, 2001 (33.5x45.5) by Hasnat Mehmood

Plate 50. A Letter to All VIII, 2001 (34x44) by Hasnat Mehmood

Plate 51. Conference of the Crows, Love in the Time of Chaos, 2004 (38x26) by Hasnat Mehmood

Plate 52. Conference of the Crows II, 2004 (24x30) by Hasnat Mehmood

Plate 53. Cut Along the White Line, 2004 (19x24) by Hasnat Mehmood

Plate 54. Burqa Series: Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, 2001 (24x28.1) by Waseem Ahmed

Plate 55. Krishna Series, 2001 (18x21.4) by Waseem Ahmed

Plate 56. Bananas and Guns II, 2000 (11.5x16) by Muhammad Zeeshan

Plate 57. Dying Miniature, 2008, graphite on sand-paper (140x110), courtesy Green Cardamom by Muhammad Zeeshan

Plate 58. Sorry for the Inconvenience, Work in Progress 2001 (23.5x18.4) by Reeta Saeed

Plate 59. A Matter of Silence, 2002 (34.3x48.3) by Talha Rathore

Plate 60. Urinal, 2003 (27x33.5) by Mahreen Asif Zuberi

Plate 61. Step In, Step Out, 2004 (28x28) by Mahwish Kamran Chishty

Plate 62. Karkhana I, 2002 (28x20), courtesy Green Cardamom by Karkhana Project

Plate 63. Karkhana III, 2002 (28x20), courtesy Green Cardamom by Karkhana Project