Uzma Sultan

Pakistan. Lives and works in London and Karachi, Pakistan.


From the receding interior spaces of the boudoir, shrine or sitting room in Uzma Sultan’s earlier paintings, the flattened and patterned surface has come surging forward in her recent works, painted both in Karachi and as part of a residency at Glogauair in Berlin. Including stacks of Tibet powder and cooking oil tins, a crowd of painted vehicles, and a multiplied bed of charpoys viewed from an impossibly high angle, these paintings are rendered with Sultan’s characteristically crooked figuration. In the last case, Sultan appropriates the stacked perspective of the early miniature tradition, flattening and tipping the horizontal plane upwards and towards us.

Alternately exaggerating and muting particular colours, the patterned surfaces that Sultan’s paintings represent are vibrant, and yet also rather barren. Most particularly, these paintings reflect the joy of the mark, of pushing colours against each other like unhappy lovers. They reflect the dance of paint on matter, in this case on impervious surfaces such as aluminum, vinyl or perspex.

These works flirt with ugliness, with the shaky gesture of the brushstroke, and with the imprecision of an unplanned composition. They demonstrate that painting, in the end, is not only about painting pictures, but about making paintings. About the painful pleasure of paint, colour, surface and form.


  • 97-99 The Slade School of Fine Art,MFA (Painting) University College London.
  • 94-97 Wimbledon School of Art, BA (Hons) Fine Arteab
  • 93-94 Chelsea College of Art & Design, Foundation
Solo Exhibition:
  • 2012 Mishmash, Rohtas 2, Model Town, Lahore
  • 2011 ‘Life’ Room,Koel Gallery, Karachi
  • 2001 Gallerie Sadequein, Karachi
  • 2000 Rohtas Gallery, Islamabad.
Group Exhibitions:
  • 1996 The Cut Gallery,Waterloo,London
  • 1997 ‘Show’ Woburn Square First Year Postgraduate Slade School of Fine Art
  • 1998 J.Walter Thomson, Berkeley Square,London
  • 1999 MFA Degree Show,Woburn Square,London
  • 2000 Rohtas Gallery,Islamabad,Pakistan
  • 2001 Gallerie Sadequein, Karachi, Pakistan
  • 2003 ‘Don’t start from the good old things but the bad new ones’ Whitechapel Project Space,E1
  • 2003 Deptford X Festival,Resolution Way,SE8
  • 2003 ‘Reduced’,Small works by 100 Artists,Century Gallery, E2
  • 2004 The Discerning Eye,The Mall Galleries,The Mall,SW1
  • 2005 Mostyn Open,Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, LL30
  • 2005 RBSA Prize Exhibition,RBSA Gallery,Birmingham,B3
  • 2006 The Inspired Art Fair,Christ Church,Commercial St.,E1
  • 2006 Lynn Painter- Stainers Prize, Painter’s Hall, 9 Trinity Lane, EC4V
  • 2007Art Auction for torture victims,The Building Centre,Store St,WC1
  • 2007 Arts Unwrapped,Cremer St, E2
  • 2008 Krystal Clear, Josetti Hofe, 22-24 Rungestrabe, 1079, Berlin
  • 2010 Hackney Arts Festival, Hackney Downs, London E8
  • 2011 ‚Mein’, Koel Gallery, Karachi
  • 2012 Faiz art prize Exhibition, Karachi
  • 2012 Unhinged Arts Festival, The Electric, Brixton, London
  • 2013 ‚Coligere’ Takt AIR Group Show, Weserstrasse 11, Berlin 10247
  • 2014 Liverpool Independents Biennial, UK
  • 2015 2 Person show with Qadir Jhatial, Koel Gallery, Karachi.
  • 2016 Luciano Beneton’s Imago Mundi Project, Venice Biennale.
  • Gissings,London
Awards and Residencies:
  • 1999 Mary Richsgitz Prize,Slade School of Fine Art
  • 2000 ACAVA First Base Studio Award
  • 2003 Nominated for artist Jerwood Platform
  • 2006 Fine Art Prize,Inspired Art Fair
  • 2006 Shortlisted for John Moores Painting Prize
  • 2013 Takt A.I.R,Weserstrasse 11-17,Berlin 10247.
  • 2014 GlogauAIR Berlin,Glogauerstrasse 16,Berlin 10999.

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