While the news of the art market in Asia is often dominated by the East, regions like South Asia are also hitting their stride, with their markets coming into their own and maturing over the past few years. From Sri Lanka in the south to Pakistan in the north, Metis hones in on some of the artists on our radar.

1. Salman Toor

Salman Toor, Music Room, 2021, oil on canvas, 259.1 x 205.7 cm. Image courtesy Luhring Augustine.

Lahore-born Toor is everywhere these days. The artist has had his work exhibited in India, Pakistan and the United States, with his first museum solo show held last year at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. After a year now of lockdowns and isolation worldwide, the appeal of Toor’s work is clear. His figurative paintings are warm and intimate, the idea of human connection embedded deeply within.

2. Vibha Galhotra

Vibha Galhotra, Life on Mars (10), 2019, 182 x 72 cm. Image courtesy Nature Morte.

The Delhi-based artist’s large-scale sculptures interrogate globalisation and growth through the shifting topography of the earth. An Asian Cultural Council fellow in 2017 in the United States, Galhotra is the recipient of numerous awards, and a former awardee of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency. Her metal ghungroo tapestries reflect rapid environmental changes and urbanisation. The intricacy of her works represent the density of contemporary urban spaces, their shimmering surfaces set against metal pointing to a mix that describes India’s architectural histories against the gargantuan steel structures of the present-day.

3. Abdul Halik Azeez

Abdul Halik Azeez, day dreamer you are 28, 2021, enhanced archival matte paper, 91 x 142 cm. Image courtesy Saskia Fernando Gallery.

Sri Lankan artist Azeez’s photojournalistic work began when he started working as a researcher focused on hate speech and critical discourse analysis. His works are bold and confrontational as he documents the shifting contemporary face of Sri Lanka, capturing the lives of minorities and urban residents in the country’s slums. Azeez has participated in numerous exhibitions and residencies in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Europe, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

4. Rana Begum

Installation view of Mesh, 2021, at Kate Macgarry. Image courtesy Kate Macgarry.

Born in Bangladesh, Begum currently lives and works in London. Her work has been exhibited across Europe and Asia, and the latest amongst her host of awards and residencies was her participation in Guests: Artists and Craftspeople at Istanbul Modern. Her practice is informed by traditional Islamic architecture and art, resulting in the trademark geometric forms in her sculptures. Begum has also described light as being fundamental to her process, as she uses form and material to absorb and reflect the light within a space, resulting in a viewing experience that is ephemeral and highly sensorial.

5. Aditya Pande

Aditya Pande, Let’s Go West, 2021, 89 x 114 cm. Image courtesy Nature Morte.

Lucknow-born Pande’s solo exhibitions have been presented by numerous institutions in India, the United States and the United Kingdom. His works involve the manipulation of computer-aided media with more traditional forms. The result is irreverent and electric, with multiple layers adding to the dynamism of Pande’s pieces, exuding an energy that draws viewers in from across the room.

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