Purchased by the Contemporary Art Society for Gallery Oldham. Gallery Oldham identified contemporary art from South Asia, particularly Pakistan and Bangladesh, as a priority collecting area about ten years ago. As a result of the Art South Asia initiative in the North West in 2002 Gallery Oldham acquired a substantial collection of contemporary art from Bangladesh. More recently the Curator visited both Pakistan and Bangladesh on an Arts Council-funded curator’s trip where she met Imran Qureshi. This work by Qureshi, an artist at the forefront of art practice in Pakistan today, allows the collection to continue to fulfill their collecting ambition.
Imran Qureshi (b.1972, Hyderabad, Pakistan) has become one of the leading figures in developing the “Contemporary Miniature” aesthetic. His practice combines traditional motifs, symbolism, and ornamentation from the Moghul tradition with conceptual thought and contemporary abstract painting. His work is strongly marked by the reality that surrounds him in Pakistan and by current social themes, as well as by the confrontation with global issues, such as the relationship between western and Muslim cultures, religion, gender roles, terrorism, and the politics of war. These concerns form a subtle political discourse in his works of art.
Gallery Oldham were keen to acquire a recent work that represents the development of Qureshi’s practice from traditionally-worked, small-format miniature paintings. This Leprous Brightness is one of a series that resulted from witnessing the aftermath of a terrorist explosion in Lahore. Qureshi’s bloody footprint has a visceral power in itself but on closer inspection it becomes apparent that the work depicts plant life within the footprints, hinting at the possibility of life emerging out of devastation and making reference to Qureshi’s background and training as a miniature artist.