An image of Rustam series #1

Khadim Ali

(Pakistan, Australia 1978 – )

Rustam series #1

Location
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

Khadim Ali, an artist from the Hazara community from Central Afghanistan, is currently based in Sydney. He trained in contemporary miniature painting at the prestigious National College of Art, Lahore, Pakistan, and in mural painting and calligraphy at Tehran University, Iran. In his own words:’ My style of painting is very much inspired by two great schools, Indian Mughal painting and the 15th/16th century Persian artist Razai Abbasi Isfahani’.

This drawing contains an image of one of the two monumental 6th century Bamiyan buddhas destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The Buddhas were in Khadim Ali’s home province of Hazarajat. Apart from these emotive images, his work also incorporates images of a demon. In his words “The demon I paint is a fusion of my own created elements with characters from the 11th century secular book by Abul Qasim Firdausi, the 'Shahnama', written at Mahmoud Ghaznavi’s court in Ghazni, Afghanistan’. The hero of the 'Shahnama' is Rustram, known to generations ofAfghani children.

The gilded lettering on the work is meaningless, his commentary on how gilded words with perverted meanings have seduced more and more people in his region towards religious fundamentalism. As he says ‘The true value of works and ideas is lost to the demons’.

The lattice work surrounding the Buddhas alludes to the bamboo structure surrounding the buddhas as part of a UNESCO project to rebuild them. This work is a continuation of a series started in 2004.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, February 2011.

Place of origin
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cultural origin
Hazara community, Central Afghanistan
Year
2009-2010
Media
Painting, Watercolour, Drawing
Medium
pencil, gouache, watercolour, gold leaf on Vasli paper
Dimensions
55.0 x 32.0 cm
Credit
Asian Collection Benefactors' Fund 2011
Accession number
79.2011
Copyright
© Khadim Ali. Courtesy Milani Gallery.