Anwar Jalal Shemza moved from Pakistan to London in 1956 to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Already an established artist and a published author, Shemza struggled to find a language that would reflect his new realities. He abandoned his figurative, illustrative approach for one that fused Islamic motifs with western abstraction. Shemza worked on a small number of themes, creating large series and often revisiting subjects as varied as the architecture of Lahore, the game of Chess, and the Arabic letter Meem. Jhaveri’s talk will examine Shemza’s struggles during his early years in London, the relative isolation in which his work developed, his unique contribution and the recent embrace of his work by British institutions in an attempt to tell a more inclusive history of British Art.
Amrita Jhaveri has been working in the field of Modern and Contemporary Indian art since 1993. She established Christie’s presence in India in the mid-1990s before moving to London in 2000. As an independent advisor, Jhaveri has created and managed private and corporate art collections; ambitious artist projects and large-scale commissions. In 2010, Jhaveri established Jhaveri Contemporary in Mumbai, where the gallery programme is both intergenerational and transnational. Jhaveri is the author of 101: A Guide to 101 Modern and Contemporary Indian Artists (India Book House, 2005).