Waseem Ahmed

Ahmed (b. 1977, Hyderabad, Pakistan) lives and practices in Lahore, Pakistan, where he completed his BFA from the National College of Arts in 2000.

His current practice reflects childhood experiences of public violence. Having witnessed conflict and intolerance firsthand, his work takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues. His family migrated from India to Sindh, Pakistan in 1947 and, growing up as a muhajir (immigrant) in Sindh, Ahmed’s work decries social attitudes that promote suppression, hatred and bloodshed amongst human beings. His need for constant expression of the pain he deeply feels is evident in his works’ subject matter. Beautiful, intricate and detailed, Ahmed’s finely rendered miniatures are the only way he can express these ugly realities in an approachable way. His works echo conversations with the common man, people around him from whom he enjoys gaining different perspectives. He finds the insight from shopkeepers, the milkman, local plumber and even imam of the mosque down the road can be translated into his visual vocabulary, along with the views of people encountered during his travels.

Ahmed’s current work focuses on a key issue being faced by the Islamic world, to which he is an eyewitness on a daily basis; for the past 10–15 years, the citizens of Pakistan have lived in constant terror of suicide bombings and drone attacks as they wage a costly war on terrorism. From afar, his images are striking, rendered in exquisite detail. On closer inspection, the glaring reality of our current affairs stares at us from the poignant In the Name of Faith series. His last solo show at Khaas Gallery, Islamabad, Tactics of Invisibility, was one of his strongest bodies of work. In this series he juxtaposed renowned figures from famous paintings with modern day scenarios, creating dialogue between one culture or time period and another.

Ahmed was one of the 30 finalists for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize two years in a row (2012–13 and 2013–14). In 2014, he was offered a major project in Berlin; after completing the artist’s residency and conducting workshops, Ahmed had a mini retrospective exhibition; a culmination of the project Dahlem Karkhana at Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany, for which the artist gained much acclaim. Earlier that year he had another solo show, Drawing Now Paris at Gowen Contemporary, Paris. The year before, he exhibited Pious Fear at Gowen Contemporary Art Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland. He has many international solo and group shows under his belt and continues to exhibit all over Pakistan.



Waseem Ahmed

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