Materialising the spiritual in contemporary painting in Pakistan : an artist's exploration of figurative art and Sufism

Masud, Rahat Haveed (2010) Materialising the spiritual in contemporary painting in Pakistan : an artist's exploration of figurative art and Sufism. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This practice led doctoral thesis explores the meaning of spirituality and its manifestation in figUrative art in the wider historical, religious and artistic contexts of Pakistan, alongside the presentation of a new body of artistic work which explores the contemporary possibilities of materialising spirituality in a predominately Muslim culture. The illustrated thesis engages with these two interconnected but distinct forms of research which underpin its two-part structure. The first part, Section A, comprises four chapters which investigate the various cultural and religious contexts of figurative art with particular reference to Muslim painting; Islamic attitudes to figurative art based upon the study of Islamic law and the various interpretations of the Qur'an and the hadith. It assesses the impact of colonial and postcolonial politics on the arts produced in the Indo Pak Sub-continent and the specific area that later came to constitute Pakistan (a pre-dominantly Muslim country) after the Partition of 1947. The section concludes with im exploration of Islamic spiritual ideals of truth and beauty, through Sufi thought, including the significance of for Allah and the concept of Tauhid. or His Oneness. The three chapters in the second part, Section B, represent a critical reflection on ongoing artistic practice as a female figurative artist in contemporary Pakistan. Drawing upon autobiographical material and fieldwork conducted at Sufi shrines as part this research, I discuss the series of more than twenty five paintings, drawings and siœtcnes which aim to materialise the spiritual. These are supported by a thirty minute documentation of the shrine culture with a voice over along with a video installation film on a DVD exploring the concept of fana or 'spiritual annihilation', which is the key aspect of the shrine culture. In conclusion the vital concern of finding means to materialise the concept of spirituality by creating a body of art work is an effort to fill the gap in Pakistani painting the impact of Sufi philosophy on artistic endeavours is yet to be fully explored in contemporary painting in Pakistan.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page