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October 21, 2016

Meet Khadim Ali’s Forlorn Foes

Text by Huzan Tata

The Hazara artist brings to the canvas the epic tale of Rustam from the Shahnameh

Click on any image to view in larger gallery

Quetta-born artist Khadim Ali’s grandfather used to read stories from Shahnameh to him when he was a child. And today, tales from this Persian epic are the primary source of reference for Ali. In his latest solo show in India, Ali imagines Rostam, a character from the tale, as a horned demon, and each artwork tells stories of loss, cultural heritage, and human values. “The gently parleying, ruminating, languishing, gesticulating figures of Khadim’s oeuvre seem to represent a society of ethereal beings, that are rich in traditional and modern motifs of Eastern and Western art historical references,” says Latitude 28’s Bhavna Kakar on Ali’s creations. Reminiscent of Mughal miniatures, these paintings will have viewers travel through fantastical realms.

5 Questions with the artist, Khadim Ali

  1. Artistic Motivations “Perhaps, a melancholic fear that is gradually being realised in current times.”
  2. Inspirations “A host of mystical singers, writers, poets and visual artists, among them the 14th and 15th century illustrations of saints and demons associated with Muhammad Siyah Qalam, and the ghazals and rubāʿī of Abdul Qadir Bidel, noted for his fine Safavid-Mughal poetry.”
  3. On the wall at home “I would like to acquire for my surroundings the works of New York-based artist Ruby Chishti.”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your art “The systematic genocide of the minorities of the region I hail from (Hazara Valley, Afghanistan). Since we don’t have a popular voicing platform, these genocides largely remain unreported and unnoticed, and minorities like Hazaras are pushed to find an existence in the borderlands.”
  5. If not an artist, you would be… “I always wanted to be a vocalist or musician. However, in Afghanistan, singers were disparaged and viewed to be more infidel than visual artists. I suppose I chose the lesser of the two evils.”

Forlorn Foe is on display at Latitude 28, New Delhi (F 208, Lado Sarai) until October 29, 2016

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