Each of four separate frames: 6 × 9 inches (15.2 × 22.9 cm)
Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund
Ahsan Jamal trained in the contemporary miniature style of painting that has famously emerged from t(…)
Ahsan Jamal trained in the contemporary miniature style of painting that has famously emerged from the National College of Arts in Lahore. Kaho Na Pyar Hai takes its title from a popular Bollywood movie, a teasing line that loosely translates as, “Do say it’s love?” The work consists of four pairings of miniature portraits of military officers from opposite sides of the India-Pakistan border. Jamal has produced several series of comparative portraits that stand as visual taxonomies to subtly critique the superficiality of using appearance as a basis for discrimination. He paints in a realistic style rather than in the flatter form of the conventional Indo-Persian miniature. His miniaturized portraits are similar to identity photos in their detail, perhaps copied from official photographs. The artist devised the round format based on coinage and currency, a reference to the value of the individual. Presented in sets of two, the portraits are organized to suggest that this is a comparative study, a game of “spot the difference” to those familiar with cultural distinctions within, to distinguish the Sikh from the Muslim, the Indian from the Pakistani.