South Asia Institute, Chicago, hosts Contemporary Miniature Art Exhibition opening September 28, 2023

Contemporary Miniature Art Exhibition at the South Asia House, Chicago. Photo: Provided by the South Asia Institute, Chicago.

Art lovers who are attracted to the school of classical miniature paintings of India and the wonderfully detailed paintings, will be able to satiate their eyes and hearts at the upcoming exhibition ‘Materials, Metaphors, and Miniatures’ hosted by The South Asia Institute (SAI).

The exhibition will open to public viewing from September 28, 2023 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Second Floor Gallery of the South Asia Institute located at 1925 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616.

According to a press release from the SAI, the exhibition will feature works of those leading artists from the Hundal Collection who are part of the international movement of contemporary miniature painting.

‘Materials, Metaphors, and Miniatures’ will feature art works by Bashir Ahmed, Asif Ahmed, Wasim Ahmed, Farhat Ali, Faiza Butt, Imran Channa, Alexander Gorlizki, Aisha Khalid, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Imran Mudassar, Shoaib Mahmood, Fariha Nadir, Imran Qureshi, Shahzia Sikander, Amjad Ali Talpur, Saira Wasim and Muhammad Zeeshan.

This new innovative school of Contemporary Miniature Painting draws on the traditional miniature painting, first mastering the classical style by reproducing it, and then using the technique to create new paintings on contemporary themes, as opposed to the traditional themes.

A characteristic feature of this new school is that the medium of expression used for miniature is not strictly painting. Other mediums such as photography, textile, ceramics and sculpture are also part of the style.

The representative works at the curated exhibition will showcase the unique interpretations, diverse forms, and a spectrum of themes from personal psychology to broader global concerns. The exhibition aims to bring notice to the evolving and adapting style of contemporary South Asian miniature painting.

In the words of featured artist Bashir Ahmed, Shahzia Sikander has “transitioned to broader mediums for a more globalized expression”, according to the press release.

The featured artists of this new school of Neo-Miniatures have used a satirical approach to socio-political commentary, using imagery inspired by traditional miniature art, the press release said.

The South Asia Institute has been established with a mission to cultivate the art and culture of South Asia and its diaspora through curated exhibitions, innovative programs and educational initiatives by collaborating locally and globally.

The SAI was created by co-founders Dr. Afzal Ahmad, a retired ophthalmologist, who is also the President, and Dr. Shireen Ahmad, who is a retired professor of Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University, and is the Secretary. Others on the SAI team are Brian Keigher, the executive director  and cultural programs manager, and Andrea Moratinos, the exhibitions manager.

Currently, the SAI is also hosting another exhibition at its First Floor Gallery, Shelly Jyoti’s ‘Indigo: The Blue Gold’ exploring the 18th and 19th century colonial trade of natural indigo dye on its first floor gallery.



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