Imran Qureshi provides an inter-faith perspective into his Aga Khan Museum Inspired creation at UK’s Truro Cathedral

Imran Qureshi Installation

Delivered through a unique partnership between Truro Cathedral, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, world renowned artist, Imran Qureshi, presents work across the three sites, including a site-specific installation for Truro Cathedral.

Inside page of the Truro Cathedral Summer 2016 Brochure

Imran Qureshi grew up in Hyderabad and lives in Lahore, Pakistan, where he teaches at the National College of Art. In his paintings and installations, he combines the techniques and motifs of Mughal miniature painting with a site-specific installation practice.

The work in Truro Cathedral will be constructed from 30,000 A2 crumpled, printed sheets carrying images devised by Qureshi.

During its brief siting in the Cathedral, the work will become a catalyst for dialogue, reflection and debate, echoing the Cathedral’s mission as a space where the issues of faith and the common good, through the medium of art, can inspire, provoke and challenge us all to see the world with new perspectives.

The Exhibition is free and runs from Monday 27 June to Friday 15 July – 10am to 5pm Mon-Sat, 12-4pm Sunday

Discover, Explore and Learn more via Truro Cathedral | Summer Events – 2016

Artist provokes at cathedral

By Cornish Guardian | Posted: July 06, 2016

ART is, and will always be, subjective – down to personal interpretation.

However, as the artist behind this piece, Imran Qureshi, has provided some insight into his perspective and motive behind its creation.

The artwork comprises 30,000 sheets of paper, each printed with photographs of a vast floor painting Imran created in front of the Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art in Toronto. The piece depicted green foliage in the form of motifs from Mughal miniature painting. In this work Imran has brought the garden previously created, into the cathedral space in another form – transforming one work into another.

Imran Qureshi splatters paint on a huge expanse of concrete brick outside the Aga Khan Museum (Image credit: Toronto Star)
Imran Qureshi splatters paint on a huge expanse of concrete brick outside the Aga Khan Museum (Image credit: Toronto Star)

In this work and in this context, imagery relating to the garden is very important. In many religious books, including the Bible and Quran, the idea of “garden” is used repeatedly, for example the Garden of Eden is referred to in both. Here Imran draws attention to the common links across faiths and cultures and particularly, in this work, between Islamic religious and cultural traditions and those associated with the Christian faith. Imran explained that when he visited the cathedral site for the first time, he felt a strong sense of peace and silence which suddenly cuts you off from the rest of the world and makes you feel and think about your inner-self and a connection with God. “I think that feeling inspired me to create this work not with the violent imagery of direct depiction of red bloodied crumpled paper but with green foliage images.”

When you stand back from the work, you can see that Imran has created a landscape of green mountains inside the building, engulfing the structures and reminding us of the outside world we live in, with all its troubles but nature’s beauty too, to help provoke our thoughts.

Imran also suggests that, from a distance, the installation can also bring to mind a pile of dirty sheets of paper or something which you have just destroyed. However, as you get closer to the piece, you see the individual pieces carrying the beautiful green colours and the imagery of nature, of life.

The installation is causing much debate on social media with one person claiming churches have to move with the times and engage with people in new ways, while another states: “If you want to see art in a church or cathedral, just look at the stained glass windows. That’s art, not piles of scrunched up paper.”

Sources: Cornish Guardian | Artist provokes at cathedral


Front page of the Truro Cathedral Summer 2016 Brochure

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali

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