In a first, Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi was conferred International Medal of Arts on Thursday by the US Department of State at its historic Benjamin Franklin Room in Washington, DC.
Imran Qureshi, who hails from Lahore, received the prestigious award over a career in arts that spans over two decades. Qureshi’s work is a subtle amalgamation of beauty and devastation in the same breath.
His paintings involve blood red colour, decorative motives depicting flora and fauna, and body parts. His work seems to be inspired by the incidents of violence trying to encapsulate the thriving, oft-ignored beauty of Pakistan.
Upon receiving the honour, Qureshi said that he was overwhelmed with joy over recognition of Pakistani arts. He dedicated the award to Pakistan, saying that the West only views Pakistan as the media portrays it, which is often one-sided.
The other artists to receive the award along with him were Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer, Wolf Kahn, Pat Steir, and Rachel Whiteread.
Qureshi is a teacher of miniature painting of National College of Arts in Lahore. In 2013, he was awarded the Deutsche Bank Award for "Artist of the Year".
The Medal of Arts award was initiated by Art in Embassies in 2013 in an effort to promote cultural diplomacy.