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About the Book

Beyond the Book

360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 28 color and 78 b&w illus., notes, bibl., index

Not for Sale in South Asia

Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks

Cloth
ISBN  978-0-8078-3358-2
Published: May 2010

Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia

By Iftikhar Dadi


Awards & Distinctions

2010 American Institute of Pakistan Studies Junior Book Prize

This pioneering work traces the emergence of the modern and contemporary art of Muslim South Asia in relation to transnational modernism and in light of the region's intellectual, cultural, and political developments.

Art historian Iftikhar Dadi here explores the art and writings of major artists, men and women, ranging from the late colonial period to the era of independence and beyond. He looks at the stunningly diverse artistic production of key artists associated with Pakistan, including Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Zainul Abedin, Shakir Ali, Zubeida Agha, Sadequain, Rasheed Araeen, and Naiza Khan. Dadi shows how, beginning in the 1920s, these artists addressed the challenges of modernity by translating historical and contemporary intellectual conceptions into their work, reworking traditional approaches to the classical Islamic arts, and engaging the modernist approach towards subjective individuality in artistic expression. In the process, they dramatically reconfigured the visual arts of the region. By the 1930s, these artists had embarked on a sustained engagement with international modernism in a context of dizzying social and political change that included decolonization, the rise of mass media, and developments following the national independence of India and Pakistan in 1947.

Bringing new insights to such concepts as nationalism, modernism, cosmopolitanism, and tradition, Dadi underscores the powerful impact of transnationalism during this period and highlights the artists' growing embrace of modernist and contemporary artistic practice in order to address the challenges of the present era.

About the Author

Iftikhar Dadi is assistant professor in the Department of History of Art at Cornell University.


Reviews

"A pick for college-level holdings surveying South Asian culture and art and for Muslim history holdings alike. . . . Makes for an excellent in-depth, college-level analysis."
--Midwest Book Review

“Dadi’s analysis is complex, impressively documented, and richly illustrated . . . . [An] enlightening book that anyone interested in the many varieties of modern Muslim culture should read.”
--Journal of Asian Studies

“The canvas of the book is impressive; Dadi looks at the works of seasoned artists such as Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Rasheed Araeen, Shakir Ali, Sadequain and Naiza Khan. . . . A book that demands serious attention.”
--The Hindu

“An important contribution to a field of scholarship which is in need of urgent attention. . . . This sensitive, wide-reaching and well-informed account offers significant insights into the nature of modern or avant-garde praxis outside the West.”
--Modern Art Asia

“The first sustained critical effort to examine a key minority formation, giving an account . . . of the artistic trajectories of South Asian Muslims.”
--Art in America

“Dadi’s contribution is valuable to post-colonial scholarship in South Asia. . . . The work is accessible to both amateurs and experts on art.”
--South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

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