The book under review is a commendable study of modern art in Pakistan and closely analyses the work of a few prominent artists as it deconstructs notions of modernism in their work. While the title of the work makes a reference to the art of ‘South Asia’, it would perhaps have been more appropriate to restrict its scope to ‘Pakistan’ as almost all the artists and the work discussed in the book have emerged out of Pakistan. Even Abdur Rahman Chughtai, whom Dadi describes as the ‘first significant modern Muslim artist from South Asia’, remained in Pakistan after Partition. Apart from this minor quibble about the title, it must be said that the artist and art historian Iftikhar Dadi has written a well researched work filling a useful gap in the Islamic studies scholarship and extending its scope beyond studies of political, religious, literary and social developments.
October 2013, volume 37, No 10