Heavenly Pictures

Naeem Rana



Anant Art Gallery, 2007 (February)

Catalogue essay: Latika Gupta 


Richly saturated, acidic colours swirl in glaring contrast. Figures in sepia, black and white and technicolor pose dramatically. A sudden flashback to the 1970’s is interrupted by the appearance of the lead players in the theatre of the world today. A bizarre iconography is created and overlaid with sweeping flourishes of Urdu calligraphy. 


Far from being simplistic renderings of ‘popular’ cultural motifs, Naeem’s works are extremely complex. They are emblematic of the migrations and mingling of cultures and peoples, who are today brought under the rubric of Global. Rana’s images are collaged from ‘scraps’ (literally, images from old textbooks, lyrics and lines from Punjabi and Urdu popular songs and poetry) and ‘fragments’ of culture which are collected from the east and the west. However, the meanings that are born are not based on demarcations, but instead reflect a complex intermingling- visual, political, economic and social.  


(excerpts from the catalogue essay ’Heavenly pictures’, by Latika Gupta )