Ali Kazim was born in Pakistan, in 1979. Currently he lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan. He also works as assistant professor at the National College of Arts, Lahore. He received his BFA degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan in 2002 and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK, in 2011. His work exhibited widely in solo and group shows internationally. His group exhibitions include: Asia Pacific Triennial 09; Lahore Biennial 01 and 02; Karachi Biennale 01 and 02; DrawingBiennnial 2019-2017; Human Image: master pieces of figurative art from British Museum at Seoul Arts Center, Korea; ‘Dust’ Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw, Poland; Treasure’s of the World’s Culture Museumsmeile Bonn, Germany; Portraits at Selma Feriani Gallery, Tunis and London; The Missing One at OCA, Norway; ‘Ethereal’ Leilah Heller Gallery, NYC; Creative Cities Collection at the Barbican Exhibition Hal London; Chosen, Artgate gallery, NYC; Catlin Prize, Londoncastle project space. London; “Drawn from life” Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, UK; “Beyond the page” Asia Pacific Museum USA; “Drawn from life: drawing form” Green Cardamom gallery London, UK; 12th and 13th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh. Solo shows include: Of Darkness and Light at Rohtas II Lahore, Pakistan, Untitled (hair installation) Rohtass II Lahore, Pakistan. Jhaveri Contemporary Mumbai, India; Solo presentation at the Hong Kong Art Fair; “Rider” Green Cardamom London, UK and Rohtas gallery, Lahore, Pakistan; Gallery Espace, New Delhi, India; survey show at Cartwright Hall Gallery, Bradford, UK; VM Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan; “Sacred Souls, Secret Lives” Ethan Cohen Fine Arts Gallery, New York, USA and Greencardamom gallery, London; Alhamra Art Galleries, Lahore, Pakistan; Paradise Road Gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
He has received a number of awards and artist residencies including; artist in residence at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; inaugural Karachi Biennale jury prize; Finalists for the Catlin Prize, UK; The Art House Residency, Wakefield, UK; The Land Securities Studio Award, London, UK; Melvill Nettleship Prize for Figure Composition, UCL, London; Art OMI artist residency, New York, USA; Young Painter Award, Lahore Arts Council, Pakistan; ROSL Travel Scholarship: Residency at Hospital Field, Scotland, UK; Vasl Residency (Triangle Arts Trust), Karachi, Pakistan; International Artist Camp, George Kyet Foundation, Sri Lanka.
His work is in the collection of Metropolitan Museum NYC; Asia Pacific Museum, USA; British Museum UK; Victoria and Albert Museum UK; Queensland Art Gallery Australia; Burger Collection Hong Kong; Creative Cities Collection, Beijing; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Devi Art Foundation, Delhi, India; Samdani Foundation, Dhaka; Kemal Lazar Foundation, Tunisia, Islamabad Airport, Pakistan.
This body of work is a response to the site I visited near Lahore in Pakistan. The site is on the old path of the river Ravi. It’s a massive mound probably an ancient city is buried underneath the layers of sand and dust. The monsoon rains have uncovered the pottery shards over the period of time. The landscape is full with the broken terracotta pieces, which looks unreal.
The site has become a burial ground for the local communities. There is a shrine on the top of it, where every year a sacred festival takes place to celebrate the life of the saint. Perhaps now it’s far difficult to excavate the site and find the hidden stories buried underneath.
I find the ruins fascinating and thought provoking in many ways. The remains stirred one’s mind one thinks about the people who established such an enchanting settlements, what kind of life they might have lived, what happened to them etc. One also tries to understand a bigger picture by placing the found and excavated objects together but it’s hard to know what exactly has had happened there.
The archaeologists have a scientific approach to discover the subject; in some cases they manage to uncover some of the facts. I’m perhaps trying to retrace the fragments of the ruins to make coherent or incoherent pictures, which are not exactly documentation of the site but more poetic interpretations of the ruins.