‘The pioneering work traces the emergence of the modern and contemporary art of Muslim South Asia in relation to transnational modernism and in light of the region’s intellectual, cultural, and political developments.
Art historian Iftikhar Dadi here illuminates the art and writings of major artists ranging from the late colonial period to the era of independence and beyond, revealing the complex richness of aesthetic developments in twentieth-century Muslim South Asia. Dadi demonstrates how a wave of artists associated with Pakistan – men and women, many of whom moved among several South Asian countries and England during the the course of their careers – re-imagined critical aspects of their heritage and contributed to the development of transnational modernism in the postcolonial era. Daedi looks at the stunningly diverse artistic production of key artists, including Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Zainul Abedin, Shakir Ali, Zubeida Agha, Sadequain, Rasheed Araeen, and Naiza Khan. Dadi shows how, beginning in the 1920s, these artists addressed the challenges of modernity by translating historical and contemporary intellectual conceptions into their work, reworking traditional approaches to the classical Islamic arts, and engaging the modernist approach toward subjective individuality in artistic expression. In the process, they dramatically reconfigured the visual arts of the region. By the 1930s, these artists had embarked on a sustained engagement with international modernism in a context of dizzying social and political change that included decolonisation, the rise of mass media, and developments following the national independence of India and Pakistan in 1947.
Bringing new insights to such concepts as nationalism, modernism, cosmopolitanism, and tradition, Dadi underscores the powerful impact of transnationalism during this period and highlights the artists’ growing embrace of modernist and contemporary artistic practice in order to address the challenges of the present era.’ (Book Flap)
Includes bibliographical references and index.