man with four arms seated on a cushion surrounded by clowns in uniform carrying an upside-down goat
Saira Wasim was trained at the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan, the birthplace of the contemporary neo-miniature movement. Miniature painting, which flourished during the Mughal period (1526-1828) in South Asia, declined following the division of India and Pakistan in the late 1940s. This art form has been revived over the last twenty years by artists like Wasim, who are trained in the traditional techniques but who apply them to contemporary subject matter.
"Buzkashi" (which literally means "goat-grabbing") is an ancient game played in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan in which a group of players vie to gain control of a goat carcass and bring it to the scoring area. In Wasim's work, Buzkashi becomes a metaphor for Pakistani politics, which has been marked by a continuous struggle for dominance among a long line of military dictatorships. Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff is depicted enthroned with the four arms of the Hindu deity Shiva, surrounded by celebrating army generals dressed in clown make-up. Two of Musharaff 's political rivals, nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the president of the Muslim political party Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, are depicted conspiring beneath the scene. Additional writing on this object can be found at
Paper + People the Cunningham Center Blog.
men; costume; caricatures
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