Anwar Jalal Shemza

Birds, 2021
New Zealand wool tapestry
127 x 153.5 cm
50 x 60 3/8 in
Edition of 5
Produced in collaboration with Odabashian and Hales
£ 18,000.00 + VAT/tax

Birds (2021) is a limited-edition tapestry based on a now lost 1979 drawing by revered artist Anwar Jalal Shemza. Birds in Flight (1979) is characteristic of line drawing traditional to Pakistan, a style that Shemza had mastered at the Mayo School of Arts in Lahore but which led to him failing a drawing exam at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where his technique was misunderstood and rejected. In Shemza’s remarkable Birds in Flight his pigeon motif is executed in elegant, sophisticated line. Pigeons were important to Shemza – as a young boy he kept homing pigeons on the roof in Lahore, where he often slept because of the heat. Once he lived in London, as an immigrant – if visitors came from abroad it was customary to visit the tourist hotspots like Trafalgar Square to feed the pigeons and take photographs. The classical Gobelin-type tapestry re-honours the original, lost Birds in Flight in a timeless, traditional medium.