The Complete Pakistani Art Dinner Set

MARKER Projects Section, Art Dubai | Curator: Nav Haq | 2011

The Complete Pakistani Art Dinner Set is a satirical take on the consumption of Pakistani art by the International Art Market. The venue of the exhibit, Art Dubai, makes the comment more poignant when all attention is focused towards important art acquisitions and big sales. Painted on the 12 plain white plates are silhouettes of recognizable Pakistani art vocabulary (horse/naked woman, miniature men, Jinnah, patterns, subtle vagina/penis, guns/bullets/tanks, etc.) in the likeness of 18th century period shadow portraits that the wealthy got commissioned. In this case these are portraits of artworks by top Pakistani artists that are represented nationally and internationally. The plates are both utilitarian and absolutely ridiculous at the same time. More importantly, they convey a metaphor of consumption, gluttony, and primal satisfaction that is associated both with hunger/eating and looking/acquiring art.

MARKER is a new platform for experimental art spaces from Asia and the Middle East to showcase projects by emerging artists at Art Dubai. The 2011 edition was its first and was curated by Nav Haq. It included five ‘concept stands’ that each respond to the phenomenon of the art fair as a mirror of contemporary society, and reflect on the realms of commerce, entertainment, education and aesthetics. The five art spaces that took part in MARKER were: Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (Alexandria, Egypt), GREY NOISE (Lahore, Pakistan), Liu Ding’s Store (Beijing, China), Makan (Amman, Jordan) and Ruangrupa (Jakarta, Indonesia).

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