In precise detail, Ali Kazim captures the stillness of a deserted landscape or a sudden transformation as a storm tears through parched terrain. His paintings are based on the Punjab region of Pakistan – once home to a large part of the Indus Valley Civilisation and now scattered with ancient ruins. Kazim regularly visits these ruins, studying the mounds that form the contours of the landscape, and searching the sites of long-abandoned cities, which are partly exposed or still buried.
He draws on a repertoire of techniques and materials to access the emotive surroundings and conjure the mysteries of forgotten cities. The large scale of his landscapes is informed by Siyah Qalam, a fleetingly popular form of Persian painting influenced by the ink painting traditions of East Asia, whereby multiple layers of ink were applied with a fine brush. Kazim also creates atmospheric compositions on polyester film rendered in pigment with cotton or soft brushes. Stencils and erasers are then used to detail bolts of lightning, and storm and dust clouds, elements that momentarily bring the landscapes to life.