Born 1969, Lahore, Pakistan
Lives and works in Lahore
Risham Syed draws on the refined tradition of South Asian miniature painting. Since the 1980s, this genre has seen a revival in Pakistan as a number of artists have reworked the medium into new forms. Departing from the attention to the figure as a central motif, Syed concentrates on empty, in-between spaces around Lahore. Lahore is an ancient city, tracing its origins in pre-historic myths, and it has seen many transformations under Turkish, Mughal and British rule. Yet the last 15 years have seen increasingly rapid development and growth in Syed's native city. In acknowledgement of this, Syed's paintings from her ongoing 'Lahore' series focus on the backs of buildings that appear blank, faceless, indeterminate and will soon disappear. She deliberately chooses these spaces as they are sites that will be transformed by impending development and are not intended to be seen. They are temporary spaces, and by capturing and freezing them in these delicate paintings, Syed frames the space of change.
Risham Syed / Pakistan b.1969 / Untitled 1 (from 'Lahore' series) 2015 / Synthetic polymer paint on canvas on aluminium / 10.2 x 15.2cm / Purchased 2015. QAGOMA Foundation / © Risham Syed