More images

Waseem Ahmed, Untitled, 2011, pigment colors, silver leaf on archival wasli paper, 37.3 x 17.8 cm, Collection Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Interview — Exhibition: Old Traditions New Narratives, South Asia Institute, Chicago, USA. September 8, 2020 - February 28, 2021

Exhibition: Phase Transitions, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, 2018-2019
artgenève 2018
Art Brussels 2017
Waseem Ahmed, Kathmandu Triennale - 2017
Beirut Art Fair 2016
Exhibition: Angels and Demons, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, 2016
Exhibition: Pious Fear, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, 2013
Exhibition: Maria Waseem & Waseem Ahmed, Sanat Initiative, Karachi, Pakistan
Rewiews and Articles

Waseem Ahmed was born in Hyderabad, Pakistan, in 1976. He grew up in a Muhajir (immigrant) family who, because they were Muslim, had migrated from India after Partition in 1947 to settle in the newly independent state of Pakistan.

Ahmed is a key player in the contemporary miniature painting scene. Combining traditional miniature techniques, such as gouache and gold and silver leaf on wasli paper, with genuine experimental techniques, Ahmed creates finely rendered small and large scale works that address various social, political and cultural issues. Ahmed joins a number of South Asian artists that use tradition as a means towards innovation. The miniature is not treated solely as a historical heritage, but emphasized in its theoretical potential as a contemporary art form. Crossing cultural borders, Ahmed’s rich vocabulary borrows elements from Asian and European art history and mythology. His eclectic repertoire of images composed by animal shapes, bearded men, blood splattered surfaces, burkas, letters from the Arabic-Farsi-Urdu alphabet, often suggesting religious rhetoric, guns, rosaries, suicide-jackets or forms derived from prominent ancient sculptures, creates multiple layers of meaning. Ahmed’s thought-provoking works depict the turbulent time, characterized by conflict, violence and displacement faced today by both Eastern and Western societies.



Born in 1976, Hyderabad, Pakistan
Lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan


National College of Arts Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

Bachelors in Fine Arts (miniature paintings) December 2000
Graduated from National College of Arts With Honors (above 70%marks) in the Department of Miniature Painting

Solo Exhibitions
2024 - Cognitive Bias, Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2023 - Delusional Perceptions, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2021 - Ambivalence, Sanat Initiative, Karachi, Pakistan
2020 - Waseem Ahmed, Jason McCoy Gallery, New York, USA
2019 - Waseem Ahmed Solo Show, with Gowen Contemporary, Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, Turkey
2018 - Waseem Ahmed. Phase Transitions, Gowen Contemporary Geneva, Switzerland
2017 - Waseem Ahmed: Contemporary Miniatures, Jason McCoy Gallery, New York, USA
2017- Insinuation, Art Brussels Art Fair, with Gowen Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2016 - Beirut Art Fair, with Gowen Contemporary, Beyrouth, Lebanon
2015 - In the Name of Faith, Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2014/15 - Dahlem Karkhana: Waseem Ahmed, Asian Art Museum, Berlin, curated by Martina Stoye, Berlin, Germany
2014 - The Narrative, Drawing Now art fair, with Gowen Contemporary, Paris, France
2013 - Pious Fear, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2012 - Fragmentation, Canvas Gallery, Karachi, PAK
2011 - Folding Unfolding, Canvas Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2011 - Tactics of Invisibility, Khaas Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan
2010 - Silver Bullet, Laurent Delaye Gallery, London, England
2010 - Waseem Ahmed: Witness and Voyeur, Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi Pakistan
2009 - Miniature Exhibition, IVS Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2009 - A Virtuous Perversion, Chawkandi Art, Karachi, Pakistan
2009 - Virtuous Perversion Preview, Rohtas 2, Lahore, Pakistan
2008 - Burqa Series (scripting a new world), Anant Art Gallery, New Dehli, India
2008 - Miniature Exhibition, Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi, India
2008 - Miniature Exhibition, Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2007 - Miniatures, Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2006 - Burqa Series, Preview National College of Arts Gallery, Lahore Pakistan
2005 - Miniatures, Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2004 - Miniatures, Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2003 - Miniatures, Rohtas 2 Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2000 - Thesis Show, National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan

Group Exhibitions
2024 - Huntenkunst, Ulft, The Netherlands
2023 - Conversations, O Art Space, Lahore, Pakistan
2023 - Mapping India: Colonialism, Nationalism, and the Partition of South Asia, Whitman College's Maxey Museum, Washington, USA
2023 - Conjunction of THE Spheres, DCAW, Delhi Contemporary Art Week, Bikaner House, Delhi, with Latitude 28, Delhi, India
2023 - Treasure Along the Silk Road, Wonespace Gllery, Shenzhen, China
2023 - Lahore Colombo, O Art Space, Lahore, Pakistan
2023- Figure 23, Gallery6, Islamabad, Pakistan
2023 - Reexamine Retraces 2.0, O Art Space, Lahore, Pakistan
2023 - Art SG, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center Singapore, with Latitude 28, Singapor
2022 - The Other Side of Silence, duo show with Maria Waseem, Dar Al-Anda, Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Amman Jordan
2022 - Delhi Contemporary Art Week, Bikaner House, Delhi, Latitude 28, Delhi, India
2022 - Art Fest Karachi, Organize by Culture Department, Government of Sindh, Karachi, Pakistan
2022 - India Art Fair, with Latitude 28, Delhi, India
2022 - Art Dubai, with Latitude 28, Dubai UAE
2021 - Delhi Contemporary Art Week, Bikaner House, Delhi, Latitude 28, Delhi, India
2021 - Maria Waseem & Waseem Ahmed, Sanat Initiative, Karachi, Pakistan
2021 - Residues and Resonance, MAO Museum, Torino, IT
2021 - Peepal & Banyan, Thxagain.berlin, Haus des Statistik, Berlin, Germany
2021 - Delhi Contemporary Art Week, Bikaner House, Delhi, Latitude 28, Delhi, India
2021 - Every Second Counts, Tanzara Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan
2020 - Celebrating South Asian Diversity Through the Arts, South Asia Institute, Chicago, USA
2020 - November-05- Mera Safar, Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq Gallery, National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan
2020 - Black, Online Show, O Art Space, Lahore, Pakistan
2020 - That’s the way it is. Digressions on Geometric Abstraction, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2020 - Art Paris, Live, Online Show, with Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2020 - 1X1, Curated by Zara Sajid, Antidot Platform, Online Art Platform
2020 - 1X1, Online Show, Curated by Irfan Gul, O Art Space, Lahore, Pakistan
2020 - (Current) Travelling exhibition, Nowhere, an exhibition of artworks by South Asian artists, Latitude 28 Gallery, India, The exhibition will also travel to Siddhartha Art Gallery, Nepal; Koel Gallery, Pakistan; Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Bangladesh and Gowen Contemporary, Switzerland (2022)
2019 - Karachi Biennale, Karachi, Pakistan
2019 - Garden of Eden, the outdoor sculpture park organized by Anissa Touati, 2019, Contemporary Istanbul. Works produced during the Residency Program Artist and Institution curated by Anissa Touati in Istanbul, Turkey (August 15 - September 15, 2019) with the support of Gorbon Tiles, Istanbul
2019 - Mera Safar, Koel Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2018 - Homeland, works by Waseem Ahmed and Yifat Bezalel, artgenève 2018, with Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2017 - Dissensus, Punjab Kala Bhavan, Chandigarh, Latitude 28, India
2017 - Untitled, O Art Space, Lahore, Pakistan
2017 - MEMENTOS: Artists’ Souvenirs, Artefacts and other Curiosities, curated by Jens Hoffmann (Jewish Museum Deputy Director) and Piper Marshall (Curator of A.I.R. Gallery Biennial), flagship exhibition during Art Brussels Art Fair, Brussels, Belgium
2017 - The City, Kathmandu Triennale, curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Nepal
2016 - The India Story presented by Latitute 28 Gallery Delhi, Calcutta, India
2016 - Angels and Demons. A Selection of Works by Waseem Ahmed and Rashid Rana, Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2015 - Lay of the Land, presented by Bavna Kakar, curated by Anushka Rajendran, Latitude 28 Gallery, Delhi, India
2015 - A disagreement between us, Artgenève, with Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland
2013 - It Matters, India international Center, organized by Seher, Delhi, India
2011 - The Body in 6X3, Koel Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2011 - Visit Us at Contemporary Istanbul, Jankossen Gallery, Istambul, Turkey
2010 - Have I Ever Opposed You? New Art from India and Pakistan, Fleming & Partner (now Gowen Contemporary), Geneva, Switzerland
2009 - Opening show of Vogue Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2008 - Off The Beaten Path South Asian Exhibition, Bengal Gallery, Bengladesh
2007 - Group show of various artists of Pakistan, National Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan
2006 - Group Exhibition, Curated by Common Wealth Society, Australia
2006 - Between Two Worlds’ (miniature exhibition), Crow Eaters Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2005 - Miniature Exhibition BOMBAY, India
2005 - Miniature Exhibition (Diverse voices), Oman
2005 - Ritu, Mausam, Season, Anant art Gallery, New Dehli, India
2005 - Wassli ( miniature painting group show), Ejaz Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2005 - Group show of paintings by 25 senior artists, Clifton art gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2004 - Contemporary miniature paintings from Pakistan, Fukuoka Asian art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
2004 - Art from Pakistan, Exhibition at Parliament House, London, England
2004 - Pause for a cause, Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Dehli, India
2004 - Paintings of senior painters of Pakistan, Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2004 - SIDE b (new art from Lahore), NaiRang Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2004 - Miniature Exhibition, Gallery NCA, Lahore, Pakistan
2004 - Nomad, Art Gallery Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan
2003 - Miniatures Pakistanaises, Maison d’Art Comtemporain Chaillioux, Fresnes, France
2003 - Negotiating Borders (Contemporary Miniature from Pakistan), Siddhartha Art Gallery, Khatmadu, Nepal
2003 - Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2002 - Exotic bodies (Eastern representation of the West), Harris Museum and Art Gallery Preston, London, England
2002 - Miniatures, Canvas Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2002 - Miniatures, Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan
2001 - Miniatures, Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai, India
2001 - Miniatures, I.I.C Art Gallery Delhi, India
2001 - Miniatures, Athens and Worsa, Greece
2001 - Art Shart Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2001 - Miniatures, Sim Sim Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2001 - Miniatures, Ejaz, Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
2000 - Revival of Traditional Miniature Paintings, Gallery NCA, Lahore, Pakistan
1999 - Miniatures, Eijaz, Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan
1997 - Sindh Education Trust, Hyderabad, Pakistan
1993-1996 - Hyderabad Arts Council, Pakistan

Workshops & Residencies Attended
2019 - Artist and Institution in Residency Program, Nisantasi, Istanbul, TUR (August 15 - September 15, 2019)
2018-19 - Collaborative residency in Nepal. The project will result in a traveling exhibition in 5 countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Switzerland. Artists collaborating to the project: Tayeba Begum Lipi and Mahbub-ur-Rahman (Bangladesh); Seema Kohli and M Pravat (India); Prithvi Shrestha and Saur Ganga Darshandhari (Nepal); Waseem Ahmed and Maria Waseem (Pakistan)
2016 - VYT, Art Student League, NY, USA
2014 - Residency and Workshop for project “Dahlem Karkhana” at Asian Art Museum, Berlin, Germany
2007 - Green Island International Human Rights Artist’s Workshop, Taiwan
2007 - Britto Residency, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2007 - SAARC CAMP Jaisalmere, India
2006 - VASL International Artist Residency, Karachi, Pakistan
2005 - Celebration of 350 year birthday of Taj Mahal, group of artists from Pakistan and India invited to paint Taj Mahal and a group exhibition curated after that. Work Displayed at: Agra, Delhi, Bombay and Jaipur, India.

Curated Shows
2015 - The Hatchery, Avant-Garde & Kitsch, Lahore, Pakistan
2014 - Miniature Show, Clifton Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan

Anupam Poddar Collections, India
British Museum London, England
D.Daskalopoulos Collection, Switzerland
Sangita Jindal Collection, India
Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin, Germany
Stern Collection, New York, USA
Virginia Whiles Collections, UK
Backthtawar Bhutto Zardari, United Arab Emirates

Prizes and Nominations
Since 2017 - Appointed as Nominator for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize
2013-2014 - Nominated to the Sovereign Asian Art Prize
2012-2013 - Nominated to the Sovereign Asian Art Prize

Selected Articles and Reviews
Christine Bruckbauer, How come vajrapani meet Taliban warrior in the woods of north India?, Indo-Asiatische Zeitschrift, Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für indo-asiatische Kunst, 19 - 2015
Salima Hashmi, The Eye Still Seeks, Pakistani Contemporary Art, Penguin Books India, 27 Jan 2015
Katrin Bettina Müller, «Die Wiederkehr der heiligen Krieger», TAZ.DIE TAGESZEITUNG, 13. NOVEMBER 2014
Virginia Whiles, Art and Polemic in Pakistan: Cultural Politics and Tradition in Contemporary in Miniature Painting, International Library of Cultural studies, Tauris Academic Studies, 2010
Ali Salwat, Journeys of the Spirit: Pakistan Art in the New Millennium, Fomma (Foundation of Museum of Modern art) in association with Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Pakistan, 2008
Athar Tahir, Pakistan Colors, Oxford University Press, 2001
David Rukhsana, Contemporary Miniature Painting in Lahore 1980-2007, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore