A beautiful despair
A Beautiful Despair is a collection of texts on Meher Afroz, one of the most significant
artists of Pakistan. Her art explores issues of decolonization by excavating the lost
cultural architecture of language, literature and iconography. Memories and experiences of Lucknow, where she was born and Karachi where she chose to make her home half a century ago, act as a compass to reconnect her to a history, transformed by what Gayatri Spivak has termed 'epistemic violence', brought about by colonial erasure, dispossession and displacement.
Meher's practice spans vital periods of Pakistan's art history. She entered the scene
in the early 1970s at the peak of Modernism. In the 1980s she became a part of the
wave of women artists who dominated the art scene. Meher's trajectory continued
to expand with experimental possibilities offered by postmodernism. Always open
to new genres, in recent years she has begun to engage with performance art.
Her work while relevant to the historical moment she occupies, also goes beyond it
and despite its cultural specificity, speaks to a global audience with a gripping power
that emanates from all art of substance.
This first comprehensive book on Meher Afroz has been conceptualized and edited
by Niilofur Farrukh, an eminent art critic and curator. She has invited art thinkers
across disciplines, to provoke new interpretations of Meher's art.
Aasim Akhtar, Aisha Gazdar, Amra Ali, Anoli Perera, Aquila Ismail, Atteqa Ali,
Fehmida Riaz, Laila Rehman, Niilofur Farrukh, Romilla Kareem, Salima Hashmi,
Salman Asif, Savita Apte, Shazia Zuberi, Waheeda Baloch and Zehra Hamdani Mirza.