Lahore -: Internationally acclaimed award winning Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi has been honored with a Medal of Arts Award by the US State Department for 2017, making him the first Pakistani ever to receive this honor. The awardees for this year also include Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer, Wolf Kahn and Rachel Whiteread. Qureshi was honored in a ceremony hosted by Deputy US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington D.C at the State Department’s historic Benjamin Franklin Room. 

The Medal of Arts award was initiated by Art in Embassies in 2013 to formally acknowledge artists who have played an exemplary role in advancing the US State Department’s mission of promoting cultural diplomacy through the visual arts and international cultural exchange. Indeed each recipient’s artwork serves as a bridge with other nations, encourages discussion and expression and highlights the communal experiences of people from countries, cultures, and backgrounds worldwide. Previously honored artists include, Jeff Koons, Cai Gou Qiang, Mark Bradford and Maya Lin amongst others.

Speaking about receiving the Medal of Arts Award, Imran Qureshi said, “I am honoured and proud that my country and art have been awarded. it is recognition not just for me but  for Pakistan and especially the contemporary art scene in my country.

The reality is that the West is largely only exposed to Pakistan through what their media has showed to them about us, which is often times one sided and myopic. There is a whole other side of this beautiful country; Pakistani Contemporary art is the most exciting thing happening in Pakistan with the diversity of ideas, concepts and approaches and I appreciate greatly the recognition of this by the Medal of Arts Award.  Further, as an artist, I have always assumed a sense of responsibility to make a significant contribution to creating harmony between different cultures and countries and as a Pakistani am proud to accept this award in the spirit of making this world a better place through art for our future generations.”