Lahore - COMO Museum of Art, Pakistan’s first private museum dedicated to preservation and promotion of contemporary and modern art, will open its doors to the public next month.

It has been founded by Seher Tareen, who holds a master’s degree from Central Saint Martins, London, with a special focus on art curation.

The inaugural exhibition titled ‘ONE’ includes artists Rashid Rana, Risham Syed, Ali Kazim, Naiza Khan, Salman Toor and Saba Khan. The exhibition is curated by Seher Tareen and is inspired by the paradoxical concept of ‘one’ - the beginning, the first, the only. A universal unit of singularity that can hold the concept of the divine, one is the paradox of the finite and the infinite. It is the start, the end and all that lies in between. The private viewing of the exhibition was held on Saturday, February 23, as the museum hosted the Lahore Literary Festival (LLF), a COMO partner, at its opening reception.

This will be followed by the LLF art talk ‘Art on the Edge - Influence of Zahoor ul Akhlaque’ with Zehra Jumabhoy and Conor Macklin that will be held at the museum on Sunday, February 24.

COMO hopes to engage the public through a series of exhibitions, talks and events. The museum will be partnering with organisations such as the Lahore Literary Festival and the Lahore Biennale Foundation as well as academic institutions to foster an environment of interactive learning for students and the community at large, through programmes that include field trips and workshops.  The goal is for COMO to become a cultural haven in the city of Lahore, celebrating the arts of Pakistan and making connections with the global art narrative. More details about the museum can be found here, or @comomuseum (Instagram).

COMO is honoured to present Rashid Rana as part of its inaugural show. Widely considered one of the most prominent artists working in South Asia today, Rashid Rana is representative of an entirely new kind of art from Pakistan. The show will enable the local audience to see some of his seminal works including the two iconic works ‘I Love Miniatures’ (2002) and ‘Red Carpet 1’ (2007).

Risham Syed’s powerful work is riddled with subtlety. ‘The Marble Hearth’ (2010) for example is an ornate, Victorian marble fireplace that represents the comfort of the traditional family unit and home. Through this, the viewer is invited to look at a painting of the Space Shuttle Discovery, taking off, which simultaneously represents the so-called advancement and destruction in modern times.

Saba Khan has produced an entire series for the show, titled, ‘Monuments and Other Failures.’ With this body of work, Khan continues her social commentary, this time targeting the bureaucratic structures and the structures constructed by it, literally.

Salman Toor, one of the finest oil painters of his generation, has created a site specific permanent ceiling mural. Titled ‘Upside Down Party’ (2019) is a collage of oil and acrylic and a thing of beauty. In the words of the show’s curator Seher Tareen, it is his masterpiece!

Naiza Khan, who will be the first artist to represent Pakistan at its first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year, is showing her iconic ‘Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi II’ (2017), made out of galvanised steel, feathers and leather. This work represents a historic female figure who fought against Colonial rule in the 1857 Mutiny. Ali Kazim is exhibiting works from his Cloud, Storm and Lightning series as well as his Ratti Tibbi, Kacha Pind and Fallen Objects series.