Rashid Rana, Visual Artist, Lahore, Pakistan
is a Pakistani artist who is widely considered as one of the leading of his generation. Before getting an international coverage he got prominence in South Asian alongside artist such as Subodh Gupta. His works incorporate painting, photography, sculptures, collages, photo mosaics and collaboration with billboard painters. He holds the record of the highest price ever paid for artwork from Pakistan.Rashid Rana born in 1968, Lahore Pakistan. In 1992, he received Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National College of Arts in Lahore, continued his education and earned Master of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Currently, he is serving at Beaconhouse National University Lahore as Dean at the School of Visual Arts & Design.
During the early years of this century he appeared as an artist exploring audacious imagery and different ideas through manipulation, rearrangement, and repetition, he transfers his artwork of time and place from one to another.
Utilizing multiple mediums for the representation of his visualization, Rashid Rana artworks encompass with day to day issues themed under tradition, social-political issues and belief. Composite photomontage defines each main image crafted out of countless small images portraying the totally opposite topics. Minimalism and geometric abstraction in his works function as an immense inspiration from his mentor Zahor ul Akhlaq.
In 2004 New Delhi with Nature Morte, he had his first international solo, memorizing the time he stated; that was his launch pad and he did not consider him as a professional artist prior to that show. His appearances in term of Indian Art Scene stood first amongst those artists who are wholeheartedly embraced across the border such as Abdul Rehman Chugtai and Allah Bux, represents the whole region and holds the most distinguishable artwork among south Asian artists.
Rashid Got significant endorsement of his renowned work of “Veil-I”, “Veil-II”, and “Veil-III”, fragmented collage of hundreds of small stills, Rana splatters pornographic acts to create the portrait of an anonymous woman wearing Burqah. Presentation of gender is such a rigid way, he has thrown down both extremes presented in the series as differences between Eastern and Western cultures. Rana critiques blatantly the stereotype by his work and drove the viewers’ inception to look beyond them and question the so-called regime of truthfulness in which they are raised.
Similar to the earlier detailed photomontage series, Rashid Rana red carpet depicts a wider view of a beautiful Persian Rug but as a viewer have closer interaction he can inspect the waves are made up of images of animal slaughter. Dualities of tradition, time, culture, and space have pulled his interest and Rana’s artistic journey has tapped in the definitions and occurrence of all such dualities by displaying them through his artwork and the difference in the image’s meaning and appearance ensorceled viewer’s inception. One of the editions of Red Carpet is the highest ever price artwork for a Pakistani artist, auctioned at Sotheby New York for USD 623,000 on May 16, 2008.
Rana’s Red Carpet again stood as the highest paid artwork by Pakistani artist at Bonham’s Modern and South Asian Art auction, sold at a price of 200,000 Pounds (PKR. 34 Million) leads the queue with the Late Sadequain 75,000 Pounds and Abdur Rehman Chugtai 48,000 Pounds, second and third respectively.
Rashid Rana’s sculptural works depict astonishing pictorial elucidations for visual presentation and parody of cultural and social-political happenings. An incursion into video art with loud airspace audio has emerged in the installation of “Meeting Point” in which artist evokes expectancy from terrorism by portraying two jets facing and appearing to collide into each other.
He never prefers to be framed as a sculptor or photographer, Rana explains himself as a trained traditional painter with the freedom to use any kind of medium. In his artwork he smartly relates the history of art in Pakistan away from the conventional painting techniques that were usually taught at school, chose a different path to present the ideas and thoughts gathered as opposite in itself defines the internal conflict in his work, parting from the existing style, his flair originality with mediums individualize him loudly.
Someone who remains unknown in his own country, Rana exhibits his work on various places around the world mainly his show “Perpetual Paradox” at the Musee Guimet in Paris, France. Other international exhibitions and his works are held in the collections of Saatchi Gallery in the London United Kingdom, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Japan, Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany, Queensland Gallery of Art, Australia, Kemper Art Museum, St Louis United States and the National Gallery of Art in Islamabad. His achievements have been recently recognized by The Asian Art Society by conferring him with a coveted award.