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Contemporary Miniature Painting in Lahore 1980 – 2007

DAVID, RUKHSANA (2009) Contemporary Miniature Painting in Lahore 1980 – 2007. PhD thesis, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore .



Lahore has witnessed a dramatic evolution in the art of miniature painting since the 1990s. Many young artists, mainly graduates of the National College of Arts, formerly Mayo School of Arts, are to be credited with this revival. The revival starts with the teaching of miniature painting as an optional subject at the Mayo School of Arts by the two ustads who were descendants of Mughal court painters, to its establishment as a degree course in the National College of Arts in 1982 and the subsequent work produced by its graduates. The work of these prolific modern miniaturists is becoming widely known and many art galleries and curators readily showcase their work at home and abroad. There are reviews which are mostly centered on these exhibitions and interviews that cover individual artists and their works. However there is no comprehensive survey of the background study and a chronological survey of the works done by the contemporary miniature painters. My research attempts to fill this lacuna in order to make it easy for scholars and students to trace the antecedents of this movement and its artists in order to provide a base for future study on the subject. What is attempted in this study is a systematic description of the movement, its origins and its final maturation. Interviews of selected artists have been taken and compiled with biographical details and analysis of their work, images of their work are provided by 185 illustrations. Sources of this research are books on history of miniature painting, folios from the archives of the National College of Arts, personal interviews conducted with artists, visits to contemporary miniature exhibitions, catalogues and reviews of these exhibitions and web sites of these artists. A number of earlier and unpublished works of these artists are made available here for the first time. The first part of the thesis is largely committed to a concise history of the traditional schools of miniature painting that provide an essential basis for the study of contemporary miniature painting in its larger context. Only those schools have been dealt with that provide a source of inspiration in terms of concepts or visual vocabulary. This is followed by delineating areas of contemporary borrowing from these sources. The history of modern miniature painting gives an account of the revival of miniature painting in Lahore in the twentieth century. It briefly outlines the events that lead to its reemergence in 1945 and its contemporary revival fifty years later. A concise account of its pedagogical evolution and its establishment as a major area of specialization under the Fine Arts Department at the National College of Arts in 1982 adds the integral framework in which the modern miniature has progressed. A descriptive essay on the techniques of traditional and contemporary miniature painting is included to provide the necessary information for understanding the medium of this art work. Personal interviews conducted with miniature artists provides a comprehensive profile on each artist with details of their paintings, career and observations made by the painters themselves and the author. One section includes interviews of painters whose work is mostly traditional with essays on the two aging ustads who taught miniature painting in the years between 1945 and 1980 at the National College of Arts and have since passed away. The second section comprises of interviews conducted with modern contemporary miniaturists. Biographical and analytical notes with images of their work have been provided. The number of painters has been restricted to eight as only those artists who have painted for at least five years have been included. Finally my conclusion to the thesis recaps the elements that made it possible for an art form which was considered passé at the end of the nineteenth century to become the most favored art marking technique of third generation artists of Pakistan. I stress that this remarkable revival of miniature painting is a logical evolution of the arts that flourished in Lahore for almost five centuries and which we should acknowledge as the Lahori School of Arts as it is with those grand traditions of the past that this new practice has evolved.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Contemporary, Miniature, Painting, Lahore, dramatic, evolution, graduates, prolific, young, artists
Subjects:Arts & Humanities (b) > Fine Arts(b1)
ID Code:6313
Deposited By:Mr. Javed Memon
Deposited On:30 Jun 2011 12:37
Last Modified:30 Jun 2011 12:37

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