Blue Monkey Network: Anwar Jalal Shemza

Anwar Jalal Shemza, 'One to Nine and One to Seven', 1962. Courtesy Shemza Estate

Anwar Jalal Shemza, ‘One to Nine and One to Seven’, 1962. Courtesy Shemza Estate


Anwar Jalal Shemza: A talk with Aphra Shemza

Thursday 22 July 2021



Free for Blue Monkey Network Members

Non-Members are encouraged to donate to our online talks programme 


Join us later this month to hear multimedia artist Aphra Shemza discuss the work of Pakistani abstract painter Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928-1985). 

Beginning his career in Lahore, Pakistan as a painter and writer, Shemza moved to London in 1956 to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. He became known for his bold and unique style, fusing western ideas of abstraction with eastern influences such as Islamic architecture and calligraphy. Shemza’s work has been exhibited internationally and nationally, with a greater recognition of his work since his death in 1985. Selected public collections include Tate (UK), Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE), Metropolitan Museum (USA), Guggenheim (Abu Dhabi), British Museum (UK) and M+ Museum (Hong Kong).

In this talk, Aphra Shemza – Anwar’s granddaughter and Manager of the Shemza Estate – will focus on his life and work. Aphra will discuss his art practice, historical context and background and will end the talk with a presentation of the Estate’s latest project is a new participatory art project that invites the public to create their own digital paintings based on the style of Anwar’s work. Join us on Thursday 22 July to find out more.

Aphra Shemza: is a London-based multimedia artist and the granddaughter of Anwar Shemza. Her work explores Modernism, her Islamic cultural heritage, sustainable practice and creating art for all. As an artist and activist, she finds ambitious ways to fuse methodologies from the past with new innovations in technology to imagine what the role of art could be in the future.

Alongside her practice, Aphra is the Manager of the Estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza and an expert in his work. In 2016 Shemza contributed an article to Tate Etc. which coincided with a Spotlight display of his work at Tate Britain. She is currently cataloguing the Estate archive.

Aphra is also Director and Curator at Art in Flux, a community interest community committed to furthering the development of the media arts through talks, exhibitions, workshops and more.

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