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11.3: Painting

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    Nasreen Mohamedi

    Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) was born in Karachi, India, now part of Pakistan. Her father was a wealthy businessman, and the family was considered part of a privileged family. Mohamedi studied art in London and Paris before she returned to India and joined the Bhulabhai Desai Institute for the Arts. By 1972, she was a successful artist and taught art at Maharaja Sayajirao University until her death. Mohamidi traveled to different parts of the world and was influenced by Zen concepts, the forms of Islamic architecture, and nature's environments. She was also exposed to many Western art movements; however, her work was mainly based on Buddhist ideals, and her work was based on the concepts of the use of positive and negative spaces. Patterns and intersecting lines are seen in much of Mohamedi's art. She created abstract art based on non-Western ideals. Her work was not well-known outside of India during her lifetime. Today, Mohamedi is considered one of India's most important modern artists. She expanded the descriptions of international modernism.

    Mohamedi's artistic preference was to use a pencil and paper for drawing her lines. Her style was minimalistic, characterized by organic shapes with hard-edged lines. She masterfully employed primary forms to create intricate images while retaining a simplistic look. Discipline of Line I (8.4.17) is a set of straight lines, each supporting the others. Some lines are thin and delicate, while others are deep and dark, with hard edges forcing the viewer to move from space to space. Each section moves from the more prominent dark figure to narrower yet smaller dark lines, finally supported by the fine lines. The New York Times wrote, "Her fine-drawn linear planes floating in space or shattering into cascades, feel both timeless and futuristic, calligraphic and architectural."[10]

    black lines on a white background
    Figure \(\PageIndex{17}\): Discipline of Line I (pencil, paper) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
    Interactive Element: Nasreen Mohamedi

    We present a video from Nasreen Mohamedi’s extraordinary exhibition at KNMA in 2013's archive from the museum. In the history of Indian Modernism, Nasreen Mohamedi is a distinct figure. This retrospective exhibition draws connections between Nasreen’s works from the early 1960s to the 80s, highlighting her singular vision that runs through her early paintings, collages, photographs, diaries, and drawings.


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    This page titled 11.3: Painting is shared under a All Rights Reserved (used with permission) license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Deborah Gustlin & Zoe Gustlin (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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