BIRDS BY THE POND
Maha Ahmed has created an exclusive series of miniature paintings exclusively for Caspian Arts Foundation. Each work has been beautifully framed and has been produced to commemorate the Foundation’s fifth year anniversary. All proceeds from the sale of the works will support the Caspian Arts Foundation Scholarships & Projects.
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Her new series of miniature paintings titled, ‘Mistreatment at the Hands of Man’, include elements from, “The assembled animals complain to the raven of their mistreatment at the hands of man,” an illustration by the sixteenth century painter, Miskin. She chose this painting to highlight both the cultural richness of the land she belongs to and to emphasise the title as it suggests, an intervention being held to draw light to the neglect its environment has suffered due to the activity of man. The monochromatic surfaces silence the luxuriance of its original work; the scale of the painting functions as a tool in an attempt to draw the audience closer, articulating it in the process. What may seem void from a distance in effect comes from an extensive cultural and historical research which then becomes the key concern behind the work.
‘Birds by the pond’ is adapted from a Mughal miniature painting by the same title which was produced around the seventeenth or eighteenth century and attributed to Jahangir’s court painter, Ustad Mansur. The original painting depicts a serene environment displaying birds that have gathered beside a pond. In Ahmed’s work, she isolates the animals from each other. Playing with the title which refers to more than one (i.e. birds), there is an expectation of finding multiples that do not exist. To her it was a violent gesture to separate the animals from one another but within that it brings everything back to her original comment on individuality; about parting the singular from the collective.
Maha Ahmed (b.1989, Pakistan) is a Pakistani artist living and working between Lahore and London. She graduated with a BA in Miniature Painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan in 2012. She was awarded the Caspian Arts Foundation MA Visual Art Scholarship in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design which she completed in July 2015.