Organized Panel Session
This paper addresses the emotional and intellectual impact of traditional techniques and iconography in contemporary art from Asia. Focusing on the work of Khadim Ali, an artist born in Pakistan in 1978, it queries the ability of art to be culturally specific, while still speaking to global audiences. In particular, it attends to Ali’s use of iconographic disruptions as a way to generate emotional responses. Moved by the destruction of several large Buddha statues in Bamiyan in 2001, Ali began a series of works that examine the complex relationship between Buddhism and Islam in the region. Looking to explore the ways in which different cultures teach their children about cultural heritage, in 2006 Ali led the “The Bamiyan Drawing Project,” inviting a group of school children from Afghanistan to to share their culture through drawings with a group of kids in Australia. He then went on to share those drawings with school children in Fukuoka, Japan, asking them to draw their responses. Taking Ali’s work as its focus, this paper investigates how the combination of innovative approaches to technique and iconography in contemporary art from Asia has resulted in “fused forms,” making the art more immediate and inviting greater global engagement.