Munawar Ali Syed
(b. 1975) holds an MA in Art Education from Beaconhouse National University and a BFA in Sculpture from the National College of Arts, Lahore. As a multidisciplinary artist, Munawar’s work is a response to the proliferation of mass media, propaganda and our self-absorbed attitudes to life. His work also reflects the duality of our advancement and extremism; identity and individuality, fervour and uncertainty, education and knowledge and clarity and deception. He aims to provoke thought and engage his audiences visually and intellectually. Themes of identity, diaspora, pop culture, hierarchy, and social stigma are evident in Syed’s recent works. Urdu is the artist’s mother tongue and a national language in Pakistan. Munawar’s works addresses the issues surrounding the struggle of living in a big city in a third world country and the necessity of learning and acquiring an understanding of English for success. It represents knowledge that cannot be accessed because of what we have consciously denied ourselves. Devoid of an intellectual quest, knowledge is replaced by consumption of the material. Our quest of knowledge is now more in the service of acquiring materialistic satisfaction. Munawar’s work is highly recognised in Pakistan, winning the Sovereign Asian Popular Art Prize 2019, the ADA National Award 2019 in both the sight-specific and performance categories. He also showed at the Karachi Biennale 2017 & 2019 and The Rising Tide in 2011 at Mohatta Palace, Karachi. Furthermore, he was awarded the SATHA Innovation Award for Community Art in 2016.