The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Monday, January 25, 2021

Hales announces representation of the Estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza
Anwar Jalal Shemza, Square Composition 13, 1963, Oil on hardboard, 61.3 x 61 cm, framed 65 x 65 cm. Photo by Damian Griffiths, Installation view. © Estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza.

LONDON.- Hales announced representation of the Estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza, following two celebrated exhibitions with the gallery at Hales Project Room, New York and Hales London in 2018. Currently, thirteen historical works by Shemza are included in Making New Time, curated by Omar Kholeif, part of the Sharjah Biennial 14.

Anwar Jalal Shemza is an artist whose experience of multiple cultures informed a practice dedicated to exploring shape and colour. Shemza’s diasporic perspective, as an artist with a deeply studied understanding both of Islamic aesthetic principles and the tradition of geometric abstraction in the West, allowed him to explore modernism through a uniquely doubled prism.

Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928 – 1985) was born in Simla, India, to Kashmiri and Punjabi parents. He attended Mayo School of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, graduating in 1947. Shemza continued to teach, make, and exhibit art until his death in 1985. An established artist in Pakistan before his move to the UK in the mid 1950s, the young Shemza was an active participant in Urdu literary circles, publishing multiple novels, poems and radio plays, and he edited the journal Ehsas. In 1952, he co-founded the Lahore Art Circle - a group of young artists interested in modernism and abstraction, rebelling against the uniform socialist realist style espoused by some progressives.

In 1956, already an established artist in Pakistan, he relocated to England to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. This move marked a significant change in the artist’s life and practice. While studying he was astonished to hear one of his lecturers, famed art historian E.H. Gombrich, characterise Islamic art as purely functional. This was a pivotal moment, leading Shemza to abandon previous work and embark on a journey to create a dramatically different style and visual language. He drew on an array of references, from carpet patterns and calligraphic forms to the environments around him: Mughal architecture from Lahore, Pakistan and the rural landscapes of Stafford, England.

With an unwavering dedication to form and process, Shemza repeatedly sought to break down the structure of shapes to come to a resolved understanding. Parallels can be drawn between a looping structure of language found in his fictional writing and the arrangements he developed through painting. In his compositions, layered elements are distilled into an intensive exploration of geometric abstraction and pattern, built up mostly using just two simple forms: the square and the circle. His practice can be encapsulated by the words inscribed in Urdu on the surface of his painting, One to Nine and One to Seven (1962) – ‘One circle, one square, one problem, one life is not enough to solve it.' Through extensive experimentation, the artist cultivated an outstanding formalist vocabulary in the tradition of Mondrian or Klee with the calligraphic strokes of the Arabic alphabet.

Anwar Jalal Shemza continued to teach, make, and exhibit art until his death in 1985. Shortly after this, Shemza’s spectacular painting The Wall (1958) was selected for inclusion in the seminal exhibition The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain, organised by Rasheed Araeen at the Hayward Gallery in 1989. In 1997, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery staged a large solo exhibition of his work. In more recent years, a solo display at Tate Britain (2015 – 16) and inclusion in significant exhibitions such as Haus der Kunst’s Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945 – 1965 in Munich (2016 – 17), and Manchester Art Gallery’s Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition (2018 – 19) have cemented Shemza’s position as a central figure in post-colonial reappraisal of 20th century modernism.

Shemza’s work is in many public collections including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; Tate, London, UK; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK; Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Lahore Museum, Lahore, Pakistan; Pakistan National Council of Art, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Today's News

March 27, 2019

Saint Louis Art Museum presents major retrospective of Rachel Whiteread's career

Stolen Picasso unearthed by 'Indiana Jones of art'

Palmer Museum of Art announces major gift of the John Driscoll American Drawings Collection

Christie's to offer prints from the collection of the late Larry Saphire

Major gifts and new curatorial position in Latin American art at the Dallas Museum of Art

Sports history you can touch at Julien's Auctions Sporting Legends Memorabilia Sale

From bodybuilders to biker chicks: Classic & contemporary photographs at Swann

Exhibition questions notions of utility, rationality and progress

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery opens a solo exhibition of works by Haim Steinbach

Exhibition features works by masters of early 20th-century Soviet photography

Denver Museum of Nature & Science to hosts most comprehensive exhibition about Leonardo ever presented

Miller & Miller Auctions announces Advertising & Nostalgia Auction

Pace Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Chinese contemporary artist Xiao Yu

Chenn Family Collection boosts Heritage Auctions' Asian Art Auction beyond $2.2 Million

Monumental Iraqi Modernist painting to lead Sotheby's 20th Century Art / Middle East auction

Art Central opens today at Central Harbourfront

Waverly Rare Books explores subjects of travel and the natural world with April 4 auction

Chicago Symphony musicians perform for free as strike lingers

Bare-breasted mermaids get covered up in Indonesia

Exhibition presents art that addresses machine intelligence and the social role of the human body

Rare collection of 1840-1940 couture and accessories comes to auction at Ewbank's in Surrey

Curator Miranda Lash loins Joan Mitchell Foundation Board

Jerwood Gallery relaunching as Hastings Contemporary

Hales announces representation of the Estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful