Two Pakistani Artists Shortlisted For Prestigious 'Sovereign Asian Art Prize'

Two Pakistani Artists Shortlisted For Prestigious 'Sovereign Asian Art Prize'
Two Pakistani women, Ayessha Quraishi and Marium Agha, have made it to the final round of South Asia's biggest art prize, the 2022 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, where they were shortlisted from a pool of over 400 entries.

According to a press release issued by the Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF), the finalists for this year’s Prize hail from 16 countries and regions across Asia-Pacific, of which Hong Kong has the strongest representation with 5 artists shortlisted. Amongst the finalists, 27 artists have been shortlisted for the first time.

Ayessha Quraishi, 52 was shortlisted for her work The day could not pen what the night painted., which according to the artist encapsulates her belief that the day and night are strung through a continuum of breaths and that we have no memory of sleep, sensory experience or recording.

In an interview with SAF, she said that she did not 'develop' her style, and instead just chose to not give it up.

"I came to paint directly with my hands instinctively, initially by applying paint with my fingers to create lines while the palm of my hand smeared it on the surface," she said, adding that a brush could not replace the touch.

She also said that it was important to support the work of artists from the Asia-Pacific region, as they are often underrepresented in the art world. "Contemporary artists often work at a cross-section of personal and public currents and can provide insights and direction otherwise missed in media."

The other Pakistani finalist, Marium Agha, 40, holds a BFA from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, and an MFA from University of The Arts London, Central Saint Martins, London. She was shortlisted for her work 'Hear Here'.

According to the outlet, Marium's deconstructed tapestries, drawings, and text serve to create newer, relevant narratives of the ‘given real’, that is, love, and the supposed representational: the concupiscence of the flesh.

Her artwork has been created using secondhand tapestries purchased at flea markets in Karachi. Marium deconstructed the weave of these tapestries and altered them to create something new. "Each thread is then meticulously carved into the existing surface with an 'ari' (embroidery needle)"