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ART SPEAKSISSUE 17

Imran Qureshi & Aisha Khalid: Perfection in Motion

Internationally acclaimed artists Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid have used the newly built Islamabad Airport as the canvas for their latest works. The gigantic murals by the two artists near the domestic and international check-in counters provide an arresting imagery that has become one of the airport’s defining features. DESTINATIONS takes a closer look.

Imran Qureshi

Pages of Perfection

2018, emulsion, acrylic paint, gold leaf and silk screen on canvas

12 feet x 200 feet (work in hundred parts, 6×4 feet each panel)

Pages of Perfection, based on the Quranic verse of Surah Al-Qadar (the Night of Power), is the largest painting/mural by the internationally-acclaimed artist Imran Qureshi to date.

The work’s composition/visual layout is based on the idea of “unfolded pages of Islamic manuscript” where Qureshi has referenced the aesthetics of Mughal ornamentation and the colour palette used in Quranic manuscript and traditional Mughal miniature painting through his personal vocabulary. There isn’t a direct reference to them but one can sense the approach through its visual impact.

In this 61-meter long mural, Qureshi has linked his painted vocabulary with the essence of Surah Al-Qadar in a conceptual way. In the delicate details of the paint splashes in blue and red, one can witness the metaphor of energy travelling and moving with force in an outward direction. At different places, the artist has used the tonal gradation of the colour blue from the sky at different moments of the day (and night). 

These elements also have an obvious link to the idea of travelling through the sky, in the context of an airport as a display space for such artwork.

2018, emulsion, acrylic paint, gold leaf and silk screen on canvas

12 feet x 200 feet (work in hundred parts, 6×4 feet each panel)

Pages of Perfection, based on the Quranic verse of Surah Al-Qadar (the Night of Power), is the largest painting/mural by the internationally-acclaimed artist Imran Qureshi to date.

The work’s composition/visual layout is based on the idea of “unfolded pages of Islamic manuscript” where Qureshi has referenced the aesthetics of Mughal ornamentation and the colour palette used in Quranic manuscript and traditional Mughal miniature painting through his personal vocabulary. There isn’t a direct reference to them but one can sense the approach through its visual impact.

In this 61-meter long mural, Qureshi has linked his painted vocabulary with the essence of Surah Al-Qadar in a conceptual way. In the delicate details of the paint splashes in blue and red, one can witness the metaphor of energy travelling and moving with force in an outward direction. At different places, the artist has used the tonal gradation of the colour blue from the sky at different moments of the day (and night). 

These elements also have an obvious link to the idea of travelling through the sky, in the context of an airport as a display space for such artwork.

Aisha Khalid

You are the Universe in Ecstatic Motion – (Rumi)

2018, acrylic and imitation gold leaf on canvas, 12’ x 192’

Aisha Khalid has selected verses from the Quran that are recited before embarking on a journey and has applied Kufic calligraphy in gold for rendering these verses. Conceptually, the gold geometric lines describe the act of travelling and the circular vortex patterns denote constant motion. She uses brilliant jewel-like colours to engage the viewer.

The mural is inspired by a traditional Islamic eight-fold geometric pattern. For the last 20 years, the artist has incorporated her own exploration of geometric patterns within the formal tradition. This constitutes her signature style.

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