Deutsche Bank’s art programme has announced Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi as its “Artist of the Year” for 2013.
This award honours promising artists who seek to address social issues in an individualistic manner and have succeeded in creating an outstanding oeuvre which focuses on two important points — works on paper and photography. The award was announced in Berlin where Qureshi’s work will later be exhibited in a solo presentation in the spring of 2013.
The award was announced following the recommendation of Deutsche Bank’s Global Art Advisory Council which consists of internationally-renowned and credible curators such as Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann and Victoria Noorthoorn.
“The award means a lot to me,” Qureshi said humbly. “It is good news from Pakistan for the Pakistani people and the art community which will project a positive image of the country to the outer world and that is the most important thing for me.”
Lahore-based miniature artist Qureshi, has been testing the boundaries of miniature work for his entire career. He takes a simple idea and through his work, creates a debate between ideas of life and death. The use of foliage has become his signature style but over time his work has developed on so many different levels that no repetition in his foliage patterns can ever be seen. Evolution of technique is what has become Qureshi’s forte and that is what has allowed him to achieve this award today.
At the launch of this art programme in 2010, Friedhelm Hütte, Global Head of Art, Deutsche Bank said: “We want to underline the philosophy of this art programme: to promote young contemporary artists from all over the world.” According to this philosophy, art questions and transcends borders; it encourages people to understand new perspectives and take unique approaches that benefit society.
Faisal Qureshi, a local comedian and the artist’s brother, is proud of him for winning this title. “It is a huge achievement for Pakistan — I am not only proud of him as a brother but also as a Pakistani,” said Faisal. “When Imran was exhibiting his work and won an award in Sharjah, everyone commented on the impact his work had made and the fact that he was able to tie loudness with subtlety, which allowed him to really stand out.”
Although this award is not of a monetary nature, the exposure and contacts Qureshi will receive through this programme are numerous and will ultimately give his career a healthy boost. After a successful collaboration with the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, the bank will start the new Deutsche Bank KunstHalle programme with the presentation of Qureshi as the artist of the year in 2013 — his first solo institutional show in Europe.
Before Qureshi, this title was given to the following artists in the respective years: Wangechi Mutu in 2010, Yto Barrada in 2011 and Roman Ondák in 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2012.