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International artists depict Asia Pacific through contemporary art

The Queen and I, by artist Vincent Namatjira. (Coutesy the artist, Iwanta Arts and This is no Fantasy) image credit: QAGOMA. Source: Queensland Art Gallery (QAGOMA)

The ninth edition of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9) features over 400 artworks from 30 countries at the Queensland Art Gallery.

Curator of the exhibition, Tarun Nagesh, says it's a great chance to experience the contemporary art of the Asia Pacific region, looking at emerging trends as well as featuring influential figures from around the world.

“The artwork ranges from small-scale projects to very large scale commissions. Our politics and migration, our policies with other countries in the region change as well. So it is a great chance for us to reflect on these things in Brisbane," he told SBS Urdu.


Pakistani artists shine at APT9

Several Pakistani artists are participating in the art exhibition featuring artists from around the world.

One of the large-scale hanging tapestry being displayed at the exhibition is by Pakistani artist Ayesha Khalid. 

Titled ‘Water has never feared the fire’, Ayesha Khalid says she feels that one has to think about the place where the artwork is being displayed.

“It is very important for me to connect the idea with the area where it is going to happen. I have never been to Australia. For me, Australia is far away from the world and is surrounded by water.

"So I started with the water element and thinking around that."

"The idea was to have tapestry with the carpet format, but it is not weaved as a carpet and is actually fabric.

"Some are gold plated and some are steel plated pins [in the artwork]."

Ayesha used pinheads to make the image as if it is embroidered.

"One side looks like embroidery while the other side looks like fur," she says.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern ArtGOMAThe 9th Asia and Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9)Exhibition no. 2018.05 Organisation Queensland Art GalleryStart date 24 November 2018 End date 28 April 2019installation view
'Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi II' by artist Naiza Khan.
Queensland Art Gallery

Ms Naiza Khan told SBS Urdu that it was her first participation at the APT9 exhibition.

"There are 11 sculpture works shown at APT, together with the set of photographic works that relate to these works.  Part of this series includes a new edition of the ‘Rani of Jhansi’, which is a really beautiful piece made with steel, ivory feathers and red suede leather, that pays homage to the warrior queen who fought the British Empire in the 1857 Indian Mutiny. Also included is ‘Armour Skirt’, ‘The Robe’, the ‘Pelvic armour’  amongst other works in steel. 

"I am really happy that this body of work is seen together for the first time under one roof!

This body of works comprises of about 11 sculpture works and 6 photographic images. The works, when they were created took many months to complete.  Each sculpture work takes anything between 6 - 20 days to complete.  I have worked with my welder in Karachi for a number of years, and so this is an important collaboration in producing the work. 

"This time, the presentation is very special for two reasons. It is the first time that so many of the sculpture works are being shown together outside of Pakistan, its almost list a mini retrospective. It is also very special in the way that the work has been presented and installed.  The relationship of the sculptures, the lighting, the shadows they cast on the  plinth really works well to link them as well as give each piece its space. 

"Also, it was important to show the B&W photographs as a continuation of this process, in which the steel armour works shift from being objects in the space to soft sculptures that could be worn in a more performative gesture carried on the body." Mr Khan said.

Mr Nagesh says Pakistani artists have a long relationship with the exhibition which goes back several decades.

“There are many new ideas being explored at APT9, new regions and artists bringing art from countries for the first time such as Laos and Bangladesh and this time we are having a very strong presence of Pakistani artists.

“It is very interesting to see the contemporary art but also looking at the regional relationship in South Asia and how they relate to Australia. We have a very strong history with Pakistani artists going back to 1999."

“The quality and diversity of work [by Pakistani artists] are simply amazing. It is great to showcase something like this at a significant scale here in context and relationship with leading contemporary art from other parts of the region as well."

KAZIM AliPattoki, Pakistan b. 1979Untitled (Ruins series) 2017 (detail)Watercolour pigments on paper206 x 456 cm Courtesy the artist and Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai
'Pakistan b. 1979 - Ruins series' by artist Ali Kazim. Watercolour pigments courtesy the artist and Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai.

Pakistani artist Ali Kazim told SBS Urdu that the diversity of work at APT9 is 'unbelievable' as it included the work from 30 countries.  

"My art artwork relates to my hometown which is in Harappa. Harappa is an ancient civilization which is several thousand years old. It shows the landscape which has a lot of cutlery, bowls, clay pots etc and highlights the remains of human civilization.

"There are about 200 pieces of ceramic pots and items that are showcased in the artwork."

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