Pakistan’s new National Art Gallery

Carol Grisanti of NBC News:

Screenhunter_08_sep_18_1557The austere, red-brick “fortress-like” exterior grabs one immediately. But the real attention-getter is just off to the side of the main entrance – a “sentry” of six 10-feet tall burqa clad women made out of black fiberglass.

The message from the sculptor, Jamil Baloch, seemed to be that though westerners may view the burqa as a form of incarceration for women, in eastern cultures – regardless of how they dress – women are strong and play a larger-than-life role in society.

And that role is certainly evident at the National Art Gallery. Sixty percent of the artists on exhibit are women.

“Pakistan’s art world is overwhelmingly female-dominated,” said Pasha.

“Parents didn’t send their sons to art school; they sent their daughters,” he told me. “Art school was considered a sissy thing to do.”

But the art inside is far from sissy. It is contemporary and edgy and defies Pakistan’s image as a deeply conservative country of religious extremists.

More here.  [Thanks to Maniza Naqvi.]