KARACHI: With the rich art culture originating in the Subcontinent since the aesthetic Mughal era, Pakistan is home to few of the finest painters and artists around the world. However, these artists are at a loss of a platform to showcase their talent globally. Art legends, such as Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Sadequain, Gulgee and Jamil Naqsh have proved their mettle locally, but are not offered a platform for their works to attain global recognition.
To address this gap, the Artciti brings the first-of-its-kind virtual art gallery and auction centre for Pakistani art. The official launch of the website was held with aesthetically pleasing ambience at Mohatta Palace on Sunday evening. Though the invited guests arrived at the venue on time the session started an hour-and-a-half behind the scheduled time.
“Every exhibition that we hold and every painting that we have in the art store will be available to the whole world without the physical constraints of visiting a gallery,” said Amir Shahzad, a founding member of Artciti.
That does not mean, however, that the art gallery does not exist physically. The online presence makes this initiative stand out from the others, added Shahzad. The virtual art gallery, www.artciti.com, at present offers over 240 works of around 44 artists, including Sadequain and Iqbal Hussain.
For Shahzad, the Pakistani maestros hold their own place in the world of canvas, and are acknowledged and appreciated across the globe. Meanwhile, the pool of Pakistani artists is constantly updated by fresh blood having a signature style. “This young talent has immense capability to contribute to the world of art, but only a few receive the opportunity to gain international exposure,” he added.
“This platform will draw attention to the high quality art produced by Pakistani artists, and will eventually help in the realisation of their high-class work.”
Drawing a comparison between the markets for the works of artists from the Subcontinent, Shahzad said that the paintings of the Pakistani artists are usually available at a fraction of prices compared to what their Indian counterparts receive for their works. “The art from India is much sought after by art lovers because of an established market for their works that provide them with the right exposure.”
He hoped that the initiative will provide a level playing field for Pakistani artists to compete with their international counterparts.
The platform will also help in creating a secondary market where art lovers and collectors can trade their portfolios. It can also be used to auction pieces, collections and antique paintings.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2014.