The young Pakistani artist Ghulam Mohammad (b.1979) was catapulted to international prominence in 2016 when he won the coveted Jameel Prize, awarded by The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the first Pakistani artist to do so. Grosvenor Gallery are exhibiting new work by the artist from the 11 – 29 May 2018, in association with Canvas Gallery, Karachi. This will be the artist’s first solo-show in London. GM, as he is known, trained in traditional miniature painting techniques in Pakistan and creates incredibly delicate collage works. His collages are assemblages of Urdu letters painstakingly cut from second hand books he buys in the markets of Lahore. By ‘freeing’ language from the page and attempting a playful reconstruction, he aims to enrich it with a new aesthetic meaning. “Carving out the words and recomposing them is a cathartic act… it is meditative.” He speaks five languages and is fascinated by the medium of communication.
“Languages create boundaries, separations as well as invitations. Language paradoxically conveys meaning, and limits communication. It is this range of language that is incredibly fascinating for me.” GM has struggled to get to where he is today. He grew up in the small village of Zardad in Baluchistan, without access to running water or electricity. His family would rely on rains for washing and drinking, and he had only basic access to education in Quetta. After graduating he won a scholarship to the Beaconhouse National University, which along with the National College of Art in Lahore, is a hotbed of artistic talent in Pakistan. In his basic studio he works on two or three collages at once, with works taking from two to three months to complete. For a 2014 residency he worked seven days a week for twenty hours a day to produce four works. In addition to the Jameel Prize touring show which visited Istanbul, Turkey; Gwangju, Korea and Almaty, Khazakhstan, he has exhibited in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Abu Dhabi.