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Pakistan Art Review (PAR) is the first magazine on art in Pakistan online. We provide extensive information on art and artists in Pakistan.

We also address Pakistanis settled in foreign countries as well as the foreign audience who are interested in paintings and other forms of visual art from Pakistan.

Vol #1018 | Issue #0118 Thursday March 05, 2018



My practice of writing Takhti (wooden tablet) began in my mother’s lap. Perpetual practice together with exposure to vernacular literature, books and old manuscripts developed into a love and admiration of the art of beautiful writing.


From the very beginning, instead of readable text, I have been using the elements of calligraphy to explore the aesthetics and to capture its spirit. In doing so, I have tried to answer a question of fundamental importance. How does a contemporary calligraphic painting differ from traditional calligraphy? The question is not about which one is better or superior. The traditional Islamic calligraphy with innumerable styles, Khat, evolved since the rise of Islam and reached the epitome of grace and beauty during the Ottoman period. There are several factors which need to be kept in mind when we examine the traditional calligraphy and contemporary calligraphic paintings. Notwithstanding the innumerable innovations and variations in each style, a traditional calligrapher is restricted by the rigid discipline that has been handed down for centuries. In many scripts precise measurements are required when executing horizontal, vertical and diagonal strokes, or a curvilinear form. It would be correct to assert that a geometric grid, visible or invisible, is followed in many styles. This discipline is achieved through rigorous eye and hand training. On the other hand, a contemporary artist has unrestricted freedom to break the barriers of tradition and push the boundaries of creativity to the best of his capacity. His palette and his canvas, in literal and in metaphorical terms, are as vast as his imagination. This freedom also lends to a variety of expressions – from painterly to abstract and from impressionistic to expressionistic.

For me, the subject of Calligraphy is the expression of peace, serenity and spiritualism. The inherent mystic quality of the Arabic characters, together with chromatic, tactile and spatial dispensations, imbues a spiritual aura into a calligraphic painting and the act of painting itself becomes meditative.

Rashid Arshed belongs to that group of artists who are well-versed in both - the art of painting and writing - and have pursued them both equally seriously.

While the writer managed language in his books, the painter manipulated words for pictorial purposes. Thus his work, from an early stage, was about text-based surfaces, built with layers of letters, which in most cases were indecipherable or indistinguishable.

The art of Rashid Arshed affirms that the artist can liberate himself from restrictions of all sorts; his work may also serve to free a viewer’s perception about art, religion and politics, components of our culture that were inseparable in the past but not anymore.

The art of Rashid Arshed affirms that the artist can liberate himself from restrictions of all sorts; his work may also serve to free a viewer’s perception about art, religion and politics, components of our culture that were inseparable in the past but not anymore.


11027 Kimberly Ave Montclair CA 91763
Phone: 909 212 4350 rashidarshed@gmail.com
Website: www.rashid-arshed.com


Studied art at Mayo School of Art, Lahore, Rutgers, New Jersey and Parsons School of Design NY M. A. History, Karachi University.


2006-08: Head, Department of Fine Art, Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Karachi 2007/08: Juror Senior Thesis, National College of Arts, Lahore 1970-75 Principal, Central School of Arts and Crafts, Karach


2015: Chaffey Community Museum of Art, Ontario CA
2009: “White on White” Koel Gallery Karachi
2008: University of Bradford UK
2008: Tradition and Transition” Canvas Gallery, Karachi
2008: “Unseen Visions” East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
2005: “Beyond Borders” National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay
2001: Pakistan, Another Vision: Victoria Art Gallery, Bath UK
1999: “In Retrospect” University Museum, UTM, Tennessee
1993: Art Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ
1992: The Heckscher Museum, Huntington NY
1979: Jersey City Museum. Jersey City New Jersey
1977: “Contemporary Reflections” Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield CT.
1974: “Calligraphy in Modern Art” Goethe Institut, Karachi
1972: Traveling Exhibition of Pakistani Artists; Rome, Brussels, Hamburg, Madrid, Bonn, Koln


2015: Chaffey Community Museum of Art, California,
Purchase Award for Permanent Collection
1992: Best of Show Award, Art Center of New Jersey
1992: Best in Mixed Media, Arts 92, Union County Arts Council, New Jersey
1991: Award of Merit, long Island Artists Guild
1989: Best in Oil, Arts 89, Union County Arts Council, New Jersey

F-42/2, Block 4, Clifton Karachi, Pakistan
+92 213 583 1292