Born in 1969, Lahore, Pakistan. Lives and works between Pakistan and the United States.
The work of Ali Raza evolves with the interaction of diverse ideas taken from a variety of visual sources. It is a synthesis of varied subject matters driven by historical events, Indian miniature painting, social issues that shape modern day Pakistan and popular and mass culture. Yet, these extremely thought provoking pieces express a specific element of satire and humour.
Ali Raza combines images of both popular and elitist culture in art, with emphasis on the banal or kitschy elements inspired from ancient, South Asian and international post-capitalist cultures. At times, his art places emphasis on the academic roots as seen in his acrylic canvases, at others, he resorts to techniques that downplay the expressive hand of the artist as in Door and Blackboard. The latter, convey a sense of fragility and are bound by time.
Ali Raza seeks to liberate himself from the narrow confines of a particular art form refusing to be bound by a given stylistic approach.
“The artist today negotiates sharpening contradictions as he/she moves between locations. The rapidity and frequency with which these dislocations occur, introduces a new circumstance into the artist’s existence. The absence or proliferation of context creates the possibility of multilayering from memories of rootedness, still others from the swiftness of transition. Ali Raza’s works are open to both imperatives.”
“However these new deliberations on the fragility of the medium are a departure. Burnt fragments of paper float in limbo. This may well point towards the fractures witnessed in recent times. The destruction of the image is paralleled by its subsequent resurrection. This indicates his faith in the persistence of both life and memory.”
Salima Hashmi, art critic, 2008
• 2009 “Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan” Asia Society Museum New York, USA.
• 2008 17.12.08 - Creative Expressions, Art Sawa, Dubai.
• 2008 Art Paris Abu Dhabi art fair, Abu Dhabi.
• 2008 22.10.08 – Opening, Art Sawa, Dubai.
• 2007 “An intensity of Site and Substance”, National Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan.
• 2006 “Contemporary Printmakers from Pakistan”, Oriel Ceri Richards, Swansea, UK.
• 2005 “Contemporary Art from Pakistan”, National Gallery of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. “Contemporary Art from Pakistan”, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai , India.
• 2004 "Masala: Diversity and Democracy in South Asian Art", William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs, USA.
• 2003 “From Above & Below the Horizon”, Larson Gallery, University of Minnesota, USA.
• 2002 “Painting Over the Lines: Five Contemporary Artists from Pakistan”, Indo Center of Art and Culture, New York, USA.
• 2000 “Pakistan: Another Vision”, Brunei Gallery, London, UK.
• 1997 “Printmakers from Pakistan: 1947 - 1997”, Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, Bradford, UK