Our Top 5 Larger-Than-Life Art Works by Pakistani Artists

Awe-inspiring art comes in all shapes and sizes. Experimentation with scale is evident across mediums and genres, but it is an artist’s interaction with a canvas that commands more emphasis on scale.

The expression “larger than life” has always stood true for art

The expression “larger than life” has always stood true for art. So naturally, there is more appeal in a large-sized canvas, perhaps speaking to our need to feel bigger than ourselves. The fascination is an interplay between relative perspectives, symbolism, and the expression itself. For it was the sheer magnitude of Rothko’s large-scale canvases which made people look at it and cry for hours.

There is more appeal in a large-sized canvas, perhaps speaking to our need to feel bigger than ourselves

Here I have rounded up five large scale pieces that caught my eye recently in the Pakistani art market!

‘Life of the Party’ by Maryam Arsalan (2021)
44 x 54 inches
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas
Rs 106,000/-

Maryam Arsalan’s drool-worthy paintings have been shown recently in both Karachi and Lahore. She had a show at Dominion Gallery, Lahore in September where she explored the relationship between sugar and happiness, image and self. Walking in a gallery and seeing this work was like a treat, just like the subject of the painting. Albeit a relatively smaller piece in comparison to the others, Arsalan’s cake slice will move you.

‘Rhythm & Harmony’ by Qasim Ali Hussain (2021)
96”x 72”
Emulsion & Oil Pastel on Canvas
Rs 85,000/-

Qasim’s work has garnered acclaim, more so recently with his display at the NCA Thesis, 2022. This particular piece has several interesting layers to dissect and yet again it is the scale that is the most impressive. The artist’s keen interest in performance clearly shows in his painting, where all the strokes seem like a performance the artist did for himself.                                                                             

‘In Folds’ by Yaseen Khan (2022)
Acrylic and Chamak Patti on Board
Canvas Gallery, Karachi

Yaseen Khan is a visual artist based out of Lahore; he has displayed his work in group shows extensively. The visual language that Khan has adopted seems really cultural but at the same time, the ambiguity and the sophistication of his final pieces are unmatched.

Yaseen definitely stands out in a sea of art/culture practitioners with his unique take on what constitutes a person within a culture. This piece embodies his sociocultural heritage from the city of Peshawar, the rug displays nostalgic scintillations in the intricate ‘Chamak Patti’ work he has executed.

‘The Odd-Eyed Butterfly’ by Hussain Jamil
8 ft diptych
Dominion Gallery, Lahore

This piece was shown in a recent show called ‘The Singer, Not The Song’’ curated by the acclaimed Salima Hashmi. This piece is convoluted yet simple, the coiled reflections resonate with the artist’s process as each indent is a remark and a note to encapsulate the ever-elusive nature of visual echoes. Hussain’s fascination with mirror-like material and imagery “reflects” in his multi-layered practice always involving some form of self-reflection.

‘Boxed In’ by Hira Asim
60×104 inches
Archival Ink on Paper
Rs 85,000/-

The bigger you go, the heavier your art is going to get. The human body acts as a pivotal reference for the discussion about art pieces and as you move to scale, relational aesthetics become symbolic. Hira’s work in her own words explores the relationship between uncertainty and chaos, and her work’s scale complements that. It shows her conviction to create and explore and move into a catharsis where the practice starts informing the artist instead of the other way around. Asim is an NCA graduate and has exhibited at Derby Quad, London as well.

A writer and a visual artist located in Lahore, Mariam Waheed’s love for creative expression is inspired by observation and appreciation of all life forms.

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