The garden is a place of peace, tranquillity and safety. This summer, two parks in Bradford will host new artworks, painted directly on to the paving by the acclaimed Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi. But these gardens within gardens do not provide refuge from conflict, or a haven from the outside world. Instead, inspired by the history of the million-strong British Indian army that fought in the First World War, Qureshi transforms a public space into zones in which light and dark mix, horror and hope collide. Qureshi lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, a region that as part of the British Raj enlisted a huge number of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu soldiers to fight on the Western Front. Their experiences of being at war in a distant land and in a hostile climate inform the work that this leading international artist will present in the Mughal Water Gardens in Lister Park, next to Cartwright Hall Art Gallery and in City Park, Bradford city centre.
Qureshi – who uses a delicate style inspired by the history of Pakistani and Indian miniature painting to reflect upon contemporary conflicts and divisions – illuminates the complex interplay between Islamic and European history and culture. These vibrant works remind us that war creates division, but can also bring people together.
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Bradford
Museums and Galleries and Yorkshire Festival.