“Ride 2” by Hamra Abbas, based on the Prophet Muhammad’s horse; in the background is “My love plays in heavenly ways,” a painting by Faiza Butt. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Corvi Mora

“Hanging Fire,” which opens next Thursday, is the first major survey of contemporary art from Pakistan to be presented by an American museum. And for many artists and curators who have long worked in relative obscurity in Pakistan’s contemporary art world — one that has been thriving since the 1980s despite and perhaps in some ways because of the country’s instability — it is a highly anticipated event.

“I think it’s difficult for people outside Pakistan to understand what this kind of recognition on an international stage means within the country,” said Melissa Chiu, the museum’s director. “It’s a big moment.”

The exhibition features the work of 15 artists, almost all of whom live and work in Pakistan.


Randy Kennedy
New York Times