- Museum number
- Object: City Walls
Shemza utilised the Arabic script and calligraphic gesture making its aesthetic engaging to the world beyond Pakistan. This magnificent work is suffused with the rich palette of Mughal painting. Shemza references Islamic architecture, building up its totemic structures across the picture plane through a series of strokes and letter forms. He thus fused traditional Mughal decoration and Islamic calligraphy with modernist concern for surface and flatness in painting.
- Production date
Height: 40.70 centimetres (Mounted)
Height: 25 centimetres (Painting)
Width: 56 centimetres (Mounted)
Width: 39 centimetres (Painting)
- Curator's comments
- Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928-1985) was one of the early modern masters of contemporary art from Pakistan. He was in London during the 1950s and 1960s, studying at the Slade when he regularly sought refuge in the South Asian and Near Eastern galleries of the British Museum as this was a time when his position within the canon of international modernism had yet to be acknowledged.
Shemza combined the visual traditions of East and West, evolving a unique, eclectic, visual language. Shemza took inspiration from traditional Mughal decoration, Islamic geometric patterning and calligraphy and fusedthese with Paul Klee's modernist exploration of surface and flatness in painting. The result was a rich and profoundly personal vernacular style.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Registration number