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Ambiguity rules in the work of Zeeshan Muhammad. Working in contemporary Pakistani miniature painting, video and drawing, he has been described as an observer who voices his thoughts only after some reflection. This considered approach lends a certain richness to his manipulation of subjects that could otherwise be heavily politicised. Weapons and animals are amongst the symbols used to touch on these areas, though often disguised or camouflaged. Rodents appear delicately treated with silver leaf; birds are wrapped in white cloth (but does this bind or protect?) In tackling themes such as masculinity, dominance and local and international violence, he injects beauty into what could be a stark repertoire of images.

Zeeshan started his career as a commercial cinema painter, seeking to appease his family and society. In making the shift to edgier themes and media he has faced criticism in his home country for “adulterating” the true miniaturist style. This description jars. Despite the often difficult subject matter he chooses, there is a gentleness and concern for beauty that pervades this work and is quietly silencing critics. Coming from Lahore, the ‘Heart of Pakistan’, Zeeshan borrows imagery from Pakistani television and advertising. Links to international politics are made, but implicitly. This means the work is of local concern – and global relevance.

Zeeshan Muhammad was the 2007 recipient of the Charles Wallace-Rangoonwala Residency Award for Pakistani artists, organised by Gasworks, Vasl, and Green Cardamom.

Open Studio Preview and Billboard Launch Residency artists Janek Simon, Camila Sposati and Zeeshan Muhammad presented works in progress in an Open Studio, and Annalisa Sonzogni launched a project for the Gasworks Billboard. Please see individual artists' pages for further details of their projects.
Preview and launch: Thurs 20th September 6-8pm, 2007 
Open Studio: 21-23 September, 12-6pm, 2007 


Green Cardamom


Charles Wallace Trusts