Saturday, November 10, 2012

Auction of Pakistan’s Modern and Contemporary art in India, one among India’s leading art auction houses, just hosted the first ever Pakistani art auction in India. The online auction took place on November 7 and 8. It featured 70 artworks by masters present and past from across the border.

The digital auction event was titled ‘Modern and Contemporary Art of Pakistan’. The COO of Saffronart, Nish Bhutani, has been quoted as saying, "It’s the first time ever we’re hosting a dedicated auction exclusively for Pakistani art though we have had in our other auctions representations of art from Pakistan - on and off. Pakistan and India have so much of shared geography, culture and history that it’s a natural progression of the collaboration that we already have at various different levels."

Its special feature was that the works were affordable in comparison to the price range for Indian art at auctions across the world. The highest priced artwork, for example, was a 2007 untitled acrylic on canvas by Jamil Naqsh (in the range of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 16 lakh). The 74-year-old based in London is among the foremost modern master artists of Pakistan. His position in the country’s art scene is compared to that of Husain in India.

According to Bhutani, this was an excellent opportunity for art collectors. Those not so familiar with Pakistani art scene often get surprised at its affordability especially because their quality is high. The works of art are thoughtful. They comment on the fat-changing sociopolitical and economic environment of the country.

Among the top names featuring at the auction included Rashid Rana ('Ommatidia II (Salman Khan)' - a 2004 digital C print on paper). Faiza Butt ('Justice League', a 2005 ink on polyester film work), Rehana Mangi ('3 Figures (Gadrang)'; gouache, ink and pencil work on Wasli), and Imran Qureshi (gouache on Wasli ('Moderate Enlightenment')

Quite a few artworks blended tradition with modernity. Miniature style is employed for rendering contemporary themes. In fact, that's a popular form with many current artists today in Pakistan.

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