Imran Channa

 

Channa (b. 1981, Shikarpur, Pakistan) is a visual artist and Assistant Professor at the National College of Arts, Lahore, where he completed both his BFA (2004) and MA Hons. (2008). He maintains a studio in Lahore.

Badshahnama (The Book of Kings) is an ongoing project through which Channa raises questions around the accuracy of scripted history. This beautifully illustrated manuscript contains sharp insights into the art, history and politics of the Mughal rulers. Specially commissioned during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan, the outcome of the book was twofold: It documented the ‘official’ history of the Mughal rulers through visual means and also acted as a propaganda tool. Channa breaks the images down by scanning and printing its pages, then cutting away the images to create his own shapes and compositions. By decollaging and collaging simultaneously, Channa takes the images away from their original context and immediately places them back, recontextualising them with his own narratives. This project mirrors the continuous and inevitable process of changing history.

Taking this idea further, Channa’s current body of work Lik Likoti is based on a visual investigation of historical authenticity. He feels that illusion—his core concern—has always been an attractive tool with the power to change perception. Children use it as a learning technique while playing and, as people grow older, it is used for less chaste purposes. Lik Likoti is a Sindhi term for the universal game Hide and Seek, and very much a part of local folklore; through the game, one learns how to discern between genuine and false mysteries. By scratching beneath the surface of an accepted truth there is hope that collective history, which has been tainted, can be salvaged.

Channa has accomplished a great deal at a very young age with several significant shows to his credit. The artist has exhibited in numerous spaces, nationally and internationally. Imran Channa was also a Sovereign Asian Art Prize finalist for two years running (exhibition at ARTSPACE at Helutrans, Singapore, 2010 and The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Hong Kong, 2011).

Other significant achievements include being awarded the Gasworks Residency and showcasing works at the Open Studio at Gasworks, London (2011).  Channa is currently pursuing a residency at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Netherlands.

The artist’s work is part of the permanent collection at Khaas as well as has been represented by the gallery at Art 15, London.

Imran Channa

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