Pakistani painter, Khadim Ali has been named among top 40 young inspirational people in the Asia Pacific art world by the Apollo magazine. Apollo magazine is one of the oldest international magazines focusing on visual arts. The themes of Ali work narrate the history of Hazara people.
Khadim Ali who now lives in Sydney has managed to attract world attention with his unique talent of miniature paintings. The Pakistani painter loved to draw and paint things since childhood. Whenever his mother used to send him to get rotis from the tandoor, he used to bring charcoals in his pockets and draw things on the walls.
Khadim Ali background has a great impact on his work, and his paintings depict a sense of loss. Ali ancestors fled from Afghanistan in 1892 to Quetta (before partition) during the Hazara massacre. His ancestors hoped that one day Afghanistan would be free, and they would get back their lands that were seized during the 1890 genocide. Ali was born in Quetta, Pakistan in 1978. During his childhood, he had a great interest in Afghan folktale. He studied calligraphy and mural painting in Tehran. He got a Bachelor’s degree fine arts in traditional miniature painting at the NCA (National College of Arts), Lahore.
Khadim’s grandfather was the singer of Shahnameh (Book of Kings), a long heroic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi. Talking to the Express tribune, he said that I used to hear him sing the poem and later on realized how the poem was associated with our condition.
The poem speaks about demons hiding in caves as they’re declared infidels and rat-eaters. The Hazara community was the same. We live in a society that doesn’t accept us
Khadim Ali admits that he was haunted by the Taliban’s destruction of 6th-century Buddha statues in Bamiyan in 2001. He visited Afghanistan for an art project in 2006. He said:
I realized, just like the demons in Shahnameh, Hazaras had been pushed into caves of Bamyan. Hazaras are usually peace-loving people. I felt they sought refuge in those caves, in the calmness of Buddha. That’s why you will see a lot of demons hiding behind Buddha in my work. I think I paint those demons as a collective portraiture of the Hazara’s and minorities in Pakistan.
He follows the work of internationally renowned Pakistani artists like Salima Hashmi, Anwar Saeed, and Imran Qureshi. Currently, Ali is working on a calligraphy and tapestry work, which will be displayed in New Delhi and Brisbane by the end of the year 2016.