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THE BIG PICTURE

Impassioned Voices: Art As Social Commentary in Pakistan

by Atteqa Ali

AMBREEN BUTT, Untitled from the "Demons" series, 2005, gouache on wasli. Courtesy the artist and Roberts and Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles.

In formally discrete works, Pakistani artists are exploring volatile cultural and political concerns, such as violence against women, nuclear warfare and debates on religion and the sometimes-corrupt religious leadership. Their art emphasizes concepts, yet pays equal attention to form.

In Hamra Abbas's visually stunning installation about cross-cultural misinterpretations, for example, the artist juxtaposes vibrant paintings that she carefully…

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