13 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Female artists shaping creativity from literature to visual arts

Artists generally share their feelings and emotions through pieces of art, as art is a universal tool of communication

By Tehreem Fatima

In the history of art, Pakistan is among those countries that shares a strong connection with art and literature. Right after the national independence in 1947, Pakistan was so perplexed to have such artists who kept working in their own creative and unique styles. Like artists, calligraphists were also playing role while practicing professionally. Amongst them, few of the prominent calligraphers were Parvin Raqam, and Taj al-Din Zarrin Raqam, Ḥafiẓ Muḥammad Yusuf Ṣadidi, Sufi Khurshid Alam and Anwar Ḥussain Nafis Raqam, all were the descendants of Taj al-Din Zarrin Raqam.

Throughout the national history, contribution of female artist in the art field is enormous. As per available data, female students in various educational institutions are greater in number as compared to the male counterparts. As we all know that the art is a universal tool of communication, and artists generally share their feelings and emotions through pieces of art. It not only convert one’s energies positively but also contributes in term of educating the society. The artists are non-orthodox story narrators, generally seek innovation from their environment. Socio political factors also leave a permanent impression in nourishment and brought up of the artists.

Over ages, women have played key role in art creation as critics and historians, patrons, collectors, and pioneers of new artistic expression

Our female artists are the great donors in terms of originating soft image of the motherland both nationally and internationally. These artists are basically multitasking individuals they play influential role in practical fields in spite of household and family obligations. Amrita Sher Gill, Anna Molka Ahmed, Zubaida Agha, Laila Shahzada, Naseem Hafeez Qazi, Qudsia Nisar, Nahid Raza, Mehr Afroze, Hajra Mansoor, Salima Hashmi, Musarrat Mirza, Zubaida Javed, Prof Dr Rahat Naveed Masood, Lubna Agha, Mussarat Nahid Imam, Shazia Sikandar, Faiqa Uppal and Anila Zulfiqur and a lot of others are major contributors.

Over the ages, women have played a significant role in the creation of art as critics and art historians, as well as patrons, collectors, inspiration sources, and pioneers of new artistic expression. Anna Molka Ahmed’s six-panel painting, Dancing of Death, stands out for its richness and explicit subject matter. The image, which depicts individuals from seemingly varied ethnic backgrounds at various stages of life and death often engaged in conflict and struggle describes it as a nuclear holocaust throwing the world back to the stoneage. Examining this scene closely reveals a plethora of imagery, including gore, lust, avarice, and, ultimately, death and destruction inflicted by humans.

Cartoonist Nigar Nazar created the strong character of Gogi which questions the patriarchal system and what an amusing way to deal with this topic. Following the legacy, young talent is coming up with new and innovative ideas at the Punjab University in Lahore. One of the students’ unique thesis theme was the creation of a clock with Urdu counting written on it. She said we are living in Pakistan but we don’t own Urdu language so she just tried to come up with the idea of revival then she also made rugs instead of sofas which are contemporary world items.

Gogi by Nigar Nazar
Gogi by Nigar Nazar

Come towards the National College of Art, a student used aloe vera to make anti-bacterial socks and she just printed out the color of aloe vera on socks and how it changes color of socks. She chooses socks since they are considered the ‘unhygienic’ part of apparel due to high sweating and smell. In a same vein, some young artists are brave enough to use their textile creations as a means of communicating with the public about their life experiences. While working on pots, one student simply related her experience as a single child whose parents separated, comparing her 10 years of life to a pot that need care and attention when it needed to mold in a similar way.

Similar to this, a child requires the undivided love and care of both parents, something she has only recently lost over the past 10 years and is currently attempting to make up for with her passion for art. In a nutshell, the panorama of arts stands out by incredible contributions as well as outstanding triumphs of its women. From revolutionary and visionary figures like first Muslim women cartoonist and oil painter who just combined spirituality and philosophy and many more to the current and emerging talents evolving across various types of artistic domains. Our female artists are responsible for shaping the past, present and future of the national art.

Tehreem Fatima, born and raised in Faisalabad, is visiting faculty at The Millennium Universal College, a leading institution of higher education